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Why We Give: Mark '91, '93 and Darcie (Pittman) Hill '95

Mark and Darcie HillBy Darcie Hill

Mark and I both LOVE Hardin-Simmons. It's the place we met and fell in love. In high school, I had plans to attend another university, and then I visited the HSU campus and immediately felt that was where the Lord wanted me to be. Years before either of us set foot on the Hardin-Simmons campus, we prayed for our future spouses—and so did our parents. God certainly answered those prayers.

We met when Mark was a graduate student, and I was a freshman. Mark was a graduate assistant for Dr. Loyd Hawthorne, then choral director, and I was in the choir. We began dating the following spring. During my junior year, Mark enlisted the help of Dr. Hall, the University president, in pulling off a surprise marriage proposal. I can't imagine something like that happening anywhere but HSU!

While we were at HSU, it was common for students to live on campus all four years—and in dorms, not apartments, because there weren't any campus apartments. We loved our experiences living on campus. Our professors invested in us, both academically and spiritually. We even had one professor who opened her home to the entire class for a meal. There are some professors who still stay in touch.

Hardin-Simmons provided us with many leadership opportunities. I learned so much through my involvement and leadership positions in Student Congress, Student Foundation, Greek life, BSM mission trips, and many other organizations. Mark was so incredibly prepared to begin his music ministry through the training he received in his undergraduate degree, that he stayed to complete his graduate degree. He had the opportunity to lead the music for chapel for several years and was mentored by wonderful professors who personally invested in him.

We were also both blessed to receive generous scholarships. By giving back, we can play a small role in helping others have the kind of HSU experiences we had.

We made our first gift to HSU in 1995. We both joined the Board of Young Associates in 1998, and we started making small, automatic monthly gifts in 1999. That's the same year our oldest child was born, and she's 18 now. It's hard to believe we've been giving that long. While we wish we could give much more than we do, we know the longevity of our giving has made a difference. It is encouraging to know that others have been giving regularly even longer than we have. When lots of small gifts are put together, they really do add up.

We cherish the memories of our days as students, and treasure the lifelong friendships we made. Hardin-Simmons continues to be an integral part of our lives. We can't imagine not giving back.

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