Dr. Fitzgerald Hill
Fitzgerald Hill was selected as 13th President of the 132-year-old historically black Arkansas Baptist College on February 1, 2006. After 10 years of leading the Historical Black College, Dr. Hill stepped down to assume leadership roles as Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist College Foundation and The Scott Ford Center for Leadership and Community Development. In July of 2016, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed the outgoing college president to a seven year term on the State Board of Education. Since 2011, Hill has served as a Board of Director for Bear State Bank.
Dr. Hill received degrees in Communications and Physical Education from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in 1987 where as a scholarship student-athlete he earned All-Conference and All-American honors in the sport of football. The former student-athlete received a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Services from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana where he served as a graduate assistant football coach during the 1988 football season. In 1989, he served as a graduate assistant football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks. His coaching duties were interrupted when he was summoned to military duties in 1990. The veteran received the Bronze Star and Commendation Medal for services in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He served on the Razorback football coaching staff for five different head coaches (a period of 12 years). While serving as Assistant Head Football Coach, Recruiting Coordinator and Receivers Coach, he was selected to be the head football coach of San Jose State University in December of 2000 and served as the first African American football coach for the Spartans until December 31, 2004. On February 1, 2005, Hill left the coaching profession and returned to OBU as Executive Director and Chief Fundraiser of the Opportunity Fund.
During his decade of Presidency, Arkansas Baptist College was twice reaccredited by North Central Higher Learning Commission; received the largest private gift ($2.5 Million) from an individual in the College’s history and launched a $50 Million Capital Improvement Campaign that included an urban community redevelopment component for the neighborhood. In 2010, ABC was the recipient of $21 Million dollars of Federal New Market Tax Credits for capital improvements due to the demands of the institution in which student enrollment had grown over 500%. In December of 2014, ABC refinanced 100% of its capital debt of $30 million for 30 years at 2.68% interest rate resulting in a substantial annual savings for the College. Fundraising efforts during President Hill’s tenure exceeded $20 million dollars.
With a restructured academic program focused on solving the problems of urban communities and an aggressive student recruiting campaign, enrollment has increased from less than 200 students to a record enrollment of 1,193. In May of 2015, the College graduated the largest class (161) in its 131 year history. During President Hill’s tenure, the College’s annual budget increased from $2 Million to as high as $21 Million.
Upon stepping down as President of Arkansas Baptist College, the Board of Trustees named the newest constructed residence hall in honor of the former College President, which Hill said was an honor that he will cherish forever.
Dr. Hill is married to Dr. Cynthia Hill. The couple has two daughters, Destiny and Faith and a son, Justice
Andrew has served in lead fundraising positions for a number of non-profit organizations with a focus on disaster response (All Hands Volunteers) and international development (Carolina for Kibera, Kenya). He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), he completed Boston University’s Certificate in Professional Fundraising as well as Duke University’s Nonprofit Management Certificate Program.
Andrew has been a member of the Rotary since 2004, serving in numerous roles including president of the RTP Rotary Club, NC (twice) and foundation chair. He finished his second term as president in the 2015-2016 year. It was under his leadership that the club rebuilt from 14 members to 46 members. The club also received numerous awards for the 2016-2017 year including “Best Local Service Project”, “Membership Growth Award” two years in a row, “Zone 33 Public Image Citation”, Governor’s 5 Star Award with Distinction”, “ The President Citation” and they were awarded the “Best Club Award” out of 46 clubs in central North Carolina.
He was also active in District 7710 (North Carolina), including serving on their Grants Committee and their New Generations Committee.
Of particular interest, he was featured in the October 2010 issue of The Rotarian, under the headline “Young Rotarian quits job, makes service his life.”
He has been voted Rotarian of the Year by the RTP Rotary club twice, is a Paul Harris Society member, is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, and is a member of the Bequest Society.
Andrew and his partner Elizabeth currently reside in New Orleans and he is a member of the New Orleans Rotary Club.
Karen has been a Rotarian since 1990 and is a member of the Rotary Club of Maryville, Tennessee with the classification of Higher Education Administration. She serves on the board of directors of Rotary International for 2015-17.
Karen’s service to Rotary includes district governor of District 6780 (Tennessee) in 2005-06, Rotary Coordinator for Zone 30, and Rotary International Assembly Training Leader. She was a founder of the the six-district Mid-South PETS (President-elect Training Seminar) in 2005, and served several years on its executive committee. She has served in numerous capacities for Rotary Zones 30-31 Institutes including general chair. She led a Group Study Exchange Team to England in 1999.
Karen and her Rotarian husband Ron Appuhn are passionate supporters of The Rotary Foundation and are members of the Arch Klumph Society. She received the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service in 2012. They have a special focus on the Rotary Peace Centers. She has traveled to both Nigeria and India to immunize children against polio.
Karen’s professional career was in higher education as a strategic planning and development professional, project manager, and part-time instructor of marketing. She holds masters degrees in both Library Science and Business Administration.
Karen and Ron now devote their time to Rotary service, family, and travel. They have six children between them (four hers, two his), five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.