When it comes to supporting the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, Albert Hilliard goes all out.
The projects execution manager for ExxonMobil Upstream IT Division, Hilliard manages 120 IT project managers and consultants who execute IT business projects associated with oil and gas exploration, development and production around the world. Yet the life member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association also finds time to donate a private gift annually (getting a triple match from ExxonMobil), network with other alumni, advise undergraduates on career opportunities, assist with job searches, and recruit family, friends and strangers.
A regular attendee at football games and black alumni reunions, Hilliard also supports Ole Miss' diversity program and racial reconciliation initiatives.
"My experience at Ole Miss helped me to appreciate the value of perseverance, resourcefulness and hard work," said the Hernando, Miss., native, who earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from the university 31 years ago.
A first-generation college graduate, Hilliard remembers spending many long nights at the computer finishing computer programs and class projects. Engineering professors Tobin Maginnis and Tyrus McCarty are two faculty members he credits with being most influential during his years at Ole Miss.
"Being from rural Mississippi, Dr. Maginnis helped me understand the unimaginable possibilities of computer technology by presenting real-world problems to solve," he said. "It was great seeing a young African-American engineering professor in the classroom at Ole Miss. Dr. McCarty motivated me to strive for excellence in the classroom as well with other student activities. He was very approachable and set high expectations."
Three of Hilliard's brothers and a nephew have also graduated from UM. He also has a great-niece and a great-nephew scheduled to attend this fall.
"I am very proud of becoming an executive at one of the largest corporations in the world," said Hilliard, who also has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Dayton and an EMBA from Baylor University. His wife, Harriet, earned a bachelor's degree from Ole Miss and a M.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The couple has two sons: Cedric, a Notre Dame graduate who played football in the NFL; and A.J., a sophomore linebacker at Texas A&M University.
"Albert Hilliard is an excellent example of everything an Ole Miss engineering school graduate should be," said Kevin Gardner, the school's development officer. "He's successful, generous, professional, yet personable and, most of all, dedicated to maintaining excellence in the educational programs at the institution that gave him his start."
For more information on providing support to the School of Engineering, contact Kevin Gardner at 662-915-7601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.