Natural State-native Dr. Fitz Hill says he's never strayed too many years away from his beloved home state - always returning to Arkansas after career moves and military deployments in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
As the President of Arkansas Baptist College (ABC), Hill happily resides in Little Rock, but his attachment to Arkansas goes beyond his love of the capital city. He's spent a number of years experiencing the distinctiveness of Arkansas's other diverse regions - including a childhood and adolescence in the Ouachitas of Arkadelphia and 12 years among the Ozark Mountains as a University of Arkansas assistant football coach.
Although he eventually left the Ozarks for California's bay area and a head football coaching job at San Jose State University - he describes it as a "tour of duty" - it wasn't long before he returned. "When I was deciding where to relocate [after] California, I came to Arkansas in December 2004," Hill said. "I woke up in Little Rock, stepped outside and felt the peace and calmness that I had longed for while [in San Jose]. At that moment, I knew this was actually what I had been missing, and wanted to return to The Natural State and make Little Rock home."
That's exactly what he did. After a brief interlude back in Arkadelphia, Hill finally made it to Little Rock for his current job. And he said one thing has always been consistent about Arkansas no matter where he's lived in the state: "Arkansas is one big family." This Southern hospitality or "state unity" as he calls it, is something Hill wishes Little Rock would exploit more to its advantage. "I feel that Little Rock, as a capital city, has tremendous opportunity to become a model city." But Hill doesn't just preach this; he practices it working with local organizations to develop metropolitan Little Rock and the area around ABC.