Dr. William D. Hillis, who serves as The Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology at Baylor University, has been selected by this year's senior class as the 2010 Collins Outstanding Professor, an annual award provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation that recognizes and honors extraordinary teachers at Baylor.
The Collins Professor receives a cash award of $10,000, recognition in university publications, citation on a plaque and recognition at spring commencement.
Hillis graduated at the top of his Baylor class in 1953 and went on to earn his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1957. Over the years, he held a number of research positions with the U.S. Air Force in Denmark, the Republic of the Congo and at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where he focused on the investigation of human infectious disease epidemics throughout the world. He remained active as a colonel in the Air Force Reserve until 1985, serving in a variety of clinical and hospital positions.
In 1965 he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins as assistant professor of pathobiology. From 1968-70 he served as a virologist and resident coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Medical Research and Training in Calcutta, India. From 1972-78 he was an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, and was on staff at The Good Samaritan Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore until 1982. He served as director of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine outpatient clinical research center from 1973-82. In 1978 he was appointed associate professor of medicine, holding that rank until 1982.
Hillis joined the Baylor faculty from Johns Hopkins in 1981 to serve as chair of the biology department. He also served the university as executive vice president from 1985-89 and vice president for student life from 1998. He currently teaches several classes, including vertebrate histology and immunology, among others.
Hillis received Baylor's Outstanding Professor Award in 1985 and is a three-time recipient of Baylor Mortarboard's Distinguished Professor Award. Baylor Student Congress awarded him the organization's Outstanding University Administrator Award in 1994. In 1998, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Baylor Alumni Association. He also is a recipient of the Air Force Legion of Merit. In 2009, he was the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year.
Previous recipients of the Collins Outstanding Professor Award are Dr. Joe Cox (1994), Dr. Rosalie Beck (1995), Dr. Randall O'Brien (1996), Dr. F. Ray Wilson (1997), Dr. D. Thomas Hanks (1998), Rachel Moore (1999), Dr. Chris Kearney (2000), Dr. Robert G. Packard (2001), Robert Jones (2002), Dr. Blaine McCormick (2003), Dr. Susan Wallace (2004), Maxey P. Parrish (2005), Dr. Michael F. Korpi (2006), Dr. Martha Colvin Agee (2007), Dr. Mona M. Choucair (2008) and Dr. David W. Eldridge (2009).