In memoriam: Norman L. Hilliard (B.S. ’53)
MCV School of Pharmacy alumnus and Richmond native Norman L. Hilliard, 88, died Nov. 19, 2016.
Survivors include daughter Catherine Miles and son-in-law Caleb Miles; daughter Norma Anderson; grandsons Caleb H. Miles, Taylor Miles and Andy Anderson; and sister Frances Hilliard Pritchard. He was predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Lola West Hilliard, who died in 2013.
Norman and Lola Hilliard were familiar figures on the MCV Campus; in fact, that’s where they originally met.
Daughter Norma Anderson says her mom, a nurse, was affiliated with MCV Hospitals in the late 1940s when Norman Hilliard “saw her walking around and thought she was kind of cute!” The two soon wed, and Lola Hilliard is the one who suggested that her husband attend pharmacy school.
“She put him through school, spurred him on,” says Anderson. Hilliard, active in both Kappa Psi and Rho Chi fraternities as a student, graduated in 1953. His career included retail pharmacy practice and serving as a pharmacy officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he attained the rank of captain. Later, he returned to his alma mater to teach and also directed its continuing education program.
Anderson has fond memories of visiting her father’s office at the School of Pharmacy, sitting in on one of his lectures, dining at the Skull and Bones and playing with other alums’ kids at VPhA conventions in Virginia Beach. She also recalls her dad working behind the counter at Lafayette Pharmacy in Richmond’s Beverly Hills Shopping Center.
In the late 1960s, Hilliard went back to school, earning his M.Ed. at VCU in ‘70. That degree led to a career in continuing studies on the university level. In the 1980s, both daughters completed degrees at VCU, as well: Catherine in occupational therapy and Norma in communication arts and design.
Retirement didn’t lessen Hilliard’s involvement with the university or the school. “Both Norman and his wife were very supportive of me when I became the dean in 1996,” recalls Victor Yanchick, who retired in 2014. “It was obvious to me that he had a love for the School of Pharmacy and its long history of excellence.”
In 2008, Hilliard attended the School of Pharmacy’s 50th Anniversary Graduate Alumni Reunion along with fellow emeriti faculty Marvin Boots, John Ruggiero, Bill Soine, Harold Smith and Jim Stubbins. Asked at the time if she or her husband had any current news to share, Lola Hilliard laughed. “No, we’re just growing old!” she said. But it was clear the two weren’t slowing down.
Hilliard enjoyed playing golf regularly, his membership in the Lions Club and dinners with a rogue spin-off group, the ROLEOs (Retired Old Lions Eating Out). And together, the Hilliards attended many of his School of Pharmacy reunions as well as Galen Society Dinners for leadership donors.
As Yanchick noted, Hilliard was nothing if not a proud alumnus. In an article he wrote for the Scarab alumni magazine in 1972, Hilliard discussed the importance of interprofessionalism and expanding the School of Pharmacy’s clinical component to bring pharmacists into line with the rest of the health-care team.
“Considerable study and effort on the part of the faculty and administration has resulted in the current program,” he wrote, “which we believe to be one of the finest in the country.”
A celebration of Norman Lynwood Hilliard’s life will begin at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave. in Richmond. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the VCU School of Pharmacy, 410 N. 12th St., P.O. Box 980591, Richmond, VA 23219; Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond, VA 23229; or Hospice Community Care, 10128 W. Broad St., Suite J, Glen Allen, VA 23060.