Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

November 5, 2019

OMA&D Mourns Passing of Billy Hilliard

Billy (Bill) Hilliard, who helped build the foundation for the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity as one of its first leaders, passed away on Oct. 2, 2019, at the age of 78.

A graduate of Seattle’s Garfield High School and a University of Washington alumnus, Hilliard played a key role in launching what is known today as OMA&D when he served as assistant vice president from 1968-1975.

Even before OMA&D founding vice president Samuel E. Kelly was in his role, Hilliard was hired to coordinate the recruitment of minority and economically disadvantaged students to attend the university.

Following his tenure at the UW, Hilliard served as a director of the Washington State Human Rights Commission and the Seattle Human Rights Department, and was a lobbyist for Seattle City Light. He also was president of the Breakfast Group, a role through which he mentored young African American males.

Hilliard’s leadership in the community and commitment to service was honored when he was awarded the UW’s Charles E. Odegaard Award in 1998. The Odegaard Award is the university’s highest achievement for diversity and is presented each year at OMA&D’s annual Celebration event. Hilliard was also honored in 2002 with the UW Multicultural Alumni Partnership’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Memorial contributions may be made to benefit EOP Scholarships.

Hilliard’s full obituary is available on the Seattle Times web site.