By: Hannah Spencer – Iowa History Center Scholar
February 17, 2020
Built in 1920, the building was originally known as Central Building and served the purpose of having classrooms and administrative offices. In 1961, Central Building was renamed Hillman Hall in honor of Simpson’s longest serving president, John L. Hillman who was president of the college from 1919-1936. During his time, Dr. Hillman was responsible for a $1,000,000 endowment fund and expanded Simpson College onto the surrounding land that much of our campus is on today. This was achieved by Dr. Hillman working tirelessly with the Indianola community as well as the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920’s to raise money and buy land. This was an incredible achievement for Simpson College. During Dr. Hillman’s presidency, there were several other remarkable achievements including the purchase of Lorraine Hall, an apartment building transformed into a girl’s dormitory, a reduction in room and board costs, and a remodeling of the Chapel.
Nearly 100 years later, the building now holds administrative offices as well as the Continuing and Graduate Program. The Business and Registrar’s offices are located on the first floor. The second floor houses the offices of the President, Academic Dean, Human Resources, College Advancement and Alumni Relations. The third-floor houses the Office of Marketing and Public Relations. Hillman is connected to McNeill Hall by a convenient commuter lounge. The Hillman Hall parking lot is often used for tailgating before home football games.
The Continuing and Graduate office in Hillman Hall serves a major purpose for both traditional and non-traditional students at Simpson College. The Continuing and Graduate program provides opportunities for adult students to complete the same curriculum and requirements as an on-campus student. Further, the Continuing and Graduate Program provides three graduate: Master’s in Criminal Justice, Master’s in Choral Conducting, and a Master’s in Teaching. For students earning a bachelor’s degree, both traditional and non-traditional students can utilize the Continuing and Graduate program. They offer about 10 majors and 75 classes including online courses. On the other end of Hillman Hall, there are the Business and Registrar’s offices where a student can pay their account, add/drop classes, get transcripts, and get help registering for classes.
The Office of Conferences and Events is where every room is scheduled and reserved for students and faculty across all three campuses. This is also where facilities can be reserved for weddings, dinners, and special events. Hillman Hall serves as the administrative center of campus.