When Christine “Christi” (Olson) Hill visited Indiana State University as a high school senior, she had already decided where she was going to college. It wasn’t Indiana State. Traveling to Terre Haute was just a “courtesy call” — until Hill met some members of the Sycamore family.
Arriving during a February ice storm, Hill admits the campus was not at its most beautiful, but the faculty and other folks greeted her warmly and made her feel at home.
“I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important that was to me,” she said. “To me, the equity of a university over time is the people who represent it. The people I met are why I chose to go to Indiana State University.”
Even today, Hill can quickly name some of those people — Bobbi Baker, Leah Sluder, Todd Coleman and Coach John Gartland. Attending college on an athletic scholarship, Hill was a member of the Indiana State cross-country and track and field teams. She graduated magna cum laude from Indiana State in 1993, where she was named the ISU NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year.
And the people will be part of what she plans to highlight in her remarks as a 2015 commencement speaker in May. “I think it’s important to realize not just what the university can mean to you, but what you can mean to it,” she said.
A graduate of the Scott College of Business, Hill joined Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly in 1994 and now serves as the customer experience strategy leader. She is a founding member of the Google Health Partner Council, Digital Health Coalition and serves on several boards. She is also a member of the ISU Foundation.
Although she is not one to look back at a path not taken, Hill says she probably wouldn’t have the life she enjoys today if she hadn’t attended Indiana State. Hill met her future husband, Jason, on campus when she was a freshman. The couple married in 1999 and has two children — daughter Eliana, 8, and son Josiah, 5. The family lives in Carmel, and they are active members of Grace Church.
“I believe there is a lot of divine intervention in what we do,” Hill said. “Our lives are decided by what choices we make, but sometimes we just know when a choice is right. That’s the way it felt about attending ISU. I have been blessed with the family and life I have today, and that wouldn’t be true if I hadn’t chosen ISU.”