Hile family receives Legacy Award

Indiana State will honor the family with its Legacy Award, to be presented at Indiana State’s Family Day at halftime of the Sycamore-Youngstown State football game on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Back in the 1950s when Jerry Hile was pondering whether or not to be the first in his family to attend college, he wasn’t so sure a higher education was a good idea.

What he was sure about is his love for football. So when his high school football coach suggested to Hile that Indiana State needed a student manager for its football team, he enrolled.

“That’s all it took,” said Hile, who was a student manager for the football team in high school. “That’s how it all got started.”

Hile graduated from Indiana State in 1958 (GR ’63), and the next year married the former Nancy Hayward, who graduated in 1959 (GR ’63) and was also the first in her family to graduate from college.

Together their influence started three generations of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews who have attended — or are attending — Indiana State. In total, 24 degrees have been earned by 16 members of the Hile family.

Indiana State will honor the family with its Legacy Award, to be presented at Indiana State’s Family Day at halftime of the Sycamore-Youngstown State football game on Saturday, Nov. 4.

In addition to Jerry and Nancy Hile, members of the legacy include Bart Hile, ’92, Michelle Barnes Hile, ’92, Allison Hile Spillman, ’89, Andrew Hile, ’18, Judy Hile Grubb, ’66, Jim Grubb, ’65 and GR ’66, Mike Hile, ’70, GR ’74, Ed.S. ’00, Dave Hile, ’82, Fran Hile, ’79, Carol Crow Hayward, ’55, Stephen Hayward, ’88, Glen Hile, ’77, GR ’84, Jan Bilyeu Swingley, ’77, GR ’85, GR ’86, Jesse Hile, ’05.

The biggest reason Jerry and Nancy Hile have left such a lasting legacy of Sycamores is because both were career educators and made sure their children were also excited about education. In fact, their daughter Allison Hile Spillman is a literacy coach providing reading and intervention support for students and training teachers in the best instructional practices in literacy for schools in Zionsville, Ind.

Son Bart Hile, who majored in finance and a minored in insurance and risk management, said there was no question about what his next step was after high school. “I was always going to college.”

Jerry and Nancy Hile’s careers did not come without roadblocks. For instance, some school districts did not hire married couples.

“In order for us to get married and work in the same area, the school corporations (in the Terre Haute) did not hire married couples in 1958,” said Nancy Hile. “But, Paoli did.”

So in 1958 Jerry Hile moved to Paoli in southern Indiana on the edge of Hoosier National Forest, and Nancy joined him a year later when she graduated from State.

“I started the Paoli football program,” said Jerry Hile.

After five years in 1963, the couple returned to Terre Haute. Jerry Hile got a teaching science and physical education job at Honey Creek High School, while his wife received a teaching fellowship at Indiana State, where she also earned a master’s degree in education, and then she got a job teaching biology at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School.

But then the two faced another problem, again one common for the times, but unheard of in today’s world.

“I got pregnant,” said Nancy Hile. “Back then, if you got pregnant you couldn’t teach past four and a half months because they didn’t want students to see your belly.”

Meanwhile, Jerry Hile was assistant football coach at Honey Creek in addition to his teaching job. But in 1967, another Sycamore opportunity presented itself, and he was hired in Indiana State’s Admissions Office as the assistant director.

Over the next four years, he also worked briefly in the university’s financial aid office. Meanwhile, after their first and second children were born, Nancy Hile got a job teaching biology part-time at a junior high school “to make a little extra money.”

Then in 1971, Jerry Hile took a leave of absence and moved the family to Indiana University to pursue a Doctorate in School Administration.

“I’d made my wife a promise that this trip to Indiana University would take 12 months,” Jerry Hile said. “I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but it worked out quite well for us.”

But the year wasn’t without its challenges. “We moved to Bloomington with a 3-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old,” said Nancy Hile. “You call that scrapping.”

The family returned to Terre Haute, and Jerry Hile continued with his job in admissions. In 1973, he started an office within admissions for high school relations.

“It was basically a recruiting office that was part of the admissions office,” he said.

In 1974, tragedy struck the Office of Admissions when Director Jim Nelson suddenly died. Jerry Hile became director of admissions until he left the post in 1979 to become principal of West Vigo High School. He stayed there for five years, and then he moved to Terre Haute South where he was principal for eight years until he retired in 1993.

Meanwhile, Nancy Hile received a full-time teaching job at Honey Creek Junior High School, and she stayed there until they moved the ninth grade to Terre Haute South in 1993. She retired from teaching there in 1998 after teaching biology for 32 years.

Bart Hile owns a State Farm Insurance Agency in Indianapolis. When he was a senior in high school, he wasn’t sure where he was going to college. A trip with his dad solved that problem.

“What really sealed me going to Indiana State was a campus visit that dad and I made to Indiana University,” Bart Hile said. “We were walking around the campus and I stuck my head into a classroom. There were 300-400 kids in that class watching a video. That was it — I was going to Indiana State.

“So IU sold me on Indiana State.”

He said Indiana State offers more of a family atmosphere.

“The fact that I was around Indiana State a lot gave me a certain level of comfort,” Bart Hile said. “I think if you’re around ISU, you’re going to like it. Your family’s going to like it. It’s good people. I started taking my son to basketball games when he was 4 — I and he and my dad and mom. When he was ready to go to college, he really didn’t want to go to college anywhere else.”

His son, Andrew Hile, is a current Indiana State student studying athletic administration. He’s projected to graduate in 2018 to become the youngest member of the Hile legacy to graduate as a Sycamore.

Jesse Hile, the son of Jan E. Swingley and Glenn R. Hile Jr., great nephew of Jerry and Nancy Hile, graduated from Indiana State in 2005 with a bachelor’s in recreation and sports management and marketing. Jesse’s parents, both attended Indiana State University 1974-78 — in the prime Larry Bird days.

Soon after Jesse Hile graduated, he was hired by Indiana State athletics and then by the Indiana State University Alumni Association as the assistant director of Alumni Association.

Jesse Hile says he always wondered why John Newton, former director of the Alumni Association, took a chance on someone of his age. He later found out that Newton hired his mother, Jan, as a student worker and had known as with many of Hile family who attended Indiana State, he would be a great fit for the role. In this role, Jesse Hile discovered how extensive his family’s legacy was at Indiana State.

“The more alumni events I attended, the more I learned about my family at Indiana State, and the more I understood why he hired me. John Newton was a blessing for me and a great mentor,” he said.

Jesse Hile currently works for ClusterTruck in Indianapolis, helping them scale operations. Additionally, because of the influence of education on his life from his parents, he has started a technology company focusing on school safety. Jesse Hile’s mother, Jan, and her husband, David, and his dad and his wife Lori, have been in the K-12 education world for more than 38 years.

“We’re very excited and honored that Indiana State University has selected our family for this award,” said Jesse Hile. “It’s very special. ISU has been a blessing for me in many ways. I’m proud to be a Sycamore.”


  1. Congratulations ! It is GREAT TO SEE AN aopI sISTER HONORED. enjoyed READING ABOUT YOU & YOUR family.

    • Good memor fro year gone by. The University did a beautiful job . It was a great day! Hope you aRe doing well. Nancy

  2. What an honor, nancy and Jerry! Congratulations to a wonderful long time friend and aopi sister and to jerry her long time friend and husband. you both deserve the honor you have received. we are very proud of your achievements and your family of legacies. god bless you all.

  3. This is absolutely great. Jerry was my “big brother” all through isu and nancy a wonderful and dear sorority sister. i can’t say enough for both of them. congratulations “kids!” marilyn miller, hilton head, south carolina.

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