By Kimmie Collins
May 6, 2022
Editor’s note: As referenced in the article that follows, Sycamore graduate Christian Hill was selected to represent the Class of 2022 as Commencement speaker on May 7. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Christian was not able to attend Saturday’s Commencement exercises. During the event, Indiana State President Dr. Deborah Curtis, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Christopher Olsen, acknowledged Christian’s successes and thanked him for his many contributions to Indiana State’s campus community. Dr. Olsen also read selected passages from Christian’s prepared remarks. Christian’s parents attended Commencement and were also recognized at the event.
Indiana State University senior Christian Hill is not easily intimidated by the sight of a microphone or the thought of speaking in front of a crowd. He lives by the motto, “No moment too big,” a quote from WNBA player Candace Parker that keeps Christian grounded and confident in his abilities.
The mantra has helped Christian seize every available opportunity to grow during his college years. He repeated it to himself when, as a sophomore, he presented an idea to a group of older student leaders. Christian kept it at the forefront of his mind as he opened several events celebrating Black History Month. He will do so again May 7 when he takes the Hulman Center stage as the 2022 Undergraduate Commencement Speaker.
“Being selected as the Commencement Speaker means that all the hours in pursuit of achieving both my academic and professional accolades have paid off,” Christian said. “It also means that I get to tell my mom that her son has one last mic drop before he finishes an amazing undergrad career.”
While at Indiana State, Christian has had numerous opportunities to share his story and his voice. As a respected leader within the Charles E. Brown African-American Cultural Center (AACC), he was invited to introduce CNN analyst and former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers at the Indiana State University Speaker Series event in February.
“I tell myself that no moment is too big, but I felt like that was a moment where all my hard work was really paying off,” Christian said.
It was a fitting capstone to his involvement with the AACC, which shaped the trajectory of his college career.
“I always say I have three homes – the Cultural Center, WZIS [campus radio station], and the Scott College of Business,” Christian said.
He’s been involved in nearly every program and organization offered by his first “home,” beginning his freshman year with Brotherhood of Successful Scholars and the ISUcceed program, where he was paired with an older student mentor.
“I grew to love not only being in the space, but the people who were in the space because I learned a lot from them, personally, culturally, and spiritually,” Christian said.
He also joined the MAPS program, which allowed him to work alongside his mentor, Dr. Aaron Slocum. He remembers a MAPS meeting as a sophomore when he proposed an idea so powerful that the room full of older students fell silent. Now, his experiences at the AACC have come full circle – he is an ISUcceed mentor and leader to whom younger students look with admiration.
“The AACC means the world. Miss Val, Dr. Reed, Ms. Bruce – they’re people that truly support you,” Christian said. “You have that support system, that family, and it truly brings about a level of comfort that you don’t find other places.”
The support from the AACC helped Christian flourish in one of his other campus “homes” – WZIS, the student-run campus radio station. He is the station’s news and sports director, another role that helps him feel comfortable behind a microphone. Christian loves the radio station’s culture of teaching.
“We have a group of highly skilled individuals, but we also have a group of learners,” he said. “We emphasize learning so others can fill our shoes one day and maybe even be better than us.”
Christian’s third and final home on campus is his academic hub, the Scott College of Business. Growing up, Christian was inspired to go into business by his father, an investment hobbyist who introduced young Christian to business podcasts. Christian hopes to one day open his own business.
Christian’s experiences throughout his three campus homes culminate in the next steps in his journey. Christian will pursue a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he will be a graduate assistant in the Kimmel Student Involvement Center and will work with their Leadership Programs office.
From speaking at his commencement, to introducing a prominent politician and media personality, to embarking on his career journey, no moment will be too big for Christian Hill to handle. He is on his way to big goals, and the world is eager for Christian Hill to take the microphone and share his voice.