Distinguished Alumni Award
Fred Hill, of La Grande, is a World War II veteran, noted photographer, historian and devoted EOU supporter. In 2010 he donated his entire collection of WWII images to Pierce Library, enabling more than 1,000 historical negatives to be digitized and accessible to the public via a searchable online archive.
Hill’s photographs have appeared in 14 different books including his self-published title “Darkroom Soldier.” He grew up in Elgin, studied photography under Minor White and also attended EOU. In 1940 he left college to serve as a sergeant and photo lab chief with the 17th Tactical Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, Fifth Air Force. From 1943-45, he documented life behind the scenes in the South Pacific Theater.
After the war, Hill enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco where he studied with renowned landscape photographer, Ansel Adams. At the conclusion of a successful 39-year career as a commercial photographer, he returned to Union County and continues to do freelance work. This year Hill and several other original members of the Oregon Air National Guard were honored at the organization’s 70th anniversary celebration.