category: Campus News

Carson-Newman presents 2023 Founders’ Medallion

Rev. Bill Hild speaks to Carson-Newman’s campus community during the University’s annual Founders’ Day. Hild is recipient of this years Founders’ Day Medallion.

Carson-Newman University honored Rev. William “Bill” Hild with the 2023 Founders’ Medallion on Oct. 26. Presented during its annual Founders’ Day Ceremony, the award is one of the most prestigious accolades given by the University.

In his address to members of the C-N community, Hild reminded them that each matter and have a purpose. “For those of you who are here today, I look with great anticipation to your future. For those who are alumni here, you know the difference this school made in you.

“I thank you for the privilege of receiving this award,” said Hild. “Most of all, I thank God for creating a place like Carson-Newman that teaches that He matters. That people matter. That you matter.”

“What an honor it is to recognize Rev. Bill Hild with Carson-Newman’s 2023 Founders’ Medallion,” said University President Charles A. Fowler. “Rev. Hild embodies the ideals of our great University: truth, beauty and goodness. Whether proclaiming the gospel from the pulpit, leading efforts to help those in need, or teaching students about the world around them, our honoree possesses the timeless qualities our founders held dear.”

A 1978 Carson-Newman graduate, Hild earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. He answered the call to ministry, spending 45 years serving at just three churches before retiring in 2020. Twenty-four of those years were spent serving as senior pastor for First Baptist Church of Sarasota, Florida. He is now pastor emeritus of the church and is married to Beverly.

Not content with merely residing in Sarasota, Hild is an active member within his community. He co-founded the Sarasota Ministerial Association in 2001 and was the leader and emcee at the Fifteenth Anniversary of 911 at Sarasota National Cemetery. Hild also hosted five of the annual Thanksgiving Wednesday luncheons for those experiencing homelessness. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Hild led his church in recovery and support efforts, with his congregation donating more than $140,000 to help storm victims while delivering food and personal hygiene kits to those in the gulf coast regions. Not limited to boundaries, Hild’s compassion for others led him to ministry opportunities in more than 60 countries.

Because of his heart for service, Sarasota Ministerial Foundation presented him with the 2019 “Good and Faithful Servant Award.

Despite his career taking him around the world, geography was never a barrier with Hild staying connected to alma mater. He served as a member of Carson-Newman’s Board of Trustees. In 2021 he was awarded the Carson-Newman Triumph Award in Religion by the University.

His passion for archeology has taken him on multiple archeological digs. It is through these experiences of helping uncover secrets of the past that allows Hild to share his passion with others. This was evidenced in 2016 when he established The William Hild Collection of Biblical Antiquities as part of the Lynn and Lyndsey Denton Gallery at Carson-Newman.

Now serving as adjunct professor in the School of Biblical and Theological Studies, Hild is helping launch the University’s new archeology minor. In doing so, this past summer he led a group of five Carson-Newman students on an initial groundbreaking excavation in the Judean Desert of Herod the Great’s desert fortress. The experience, which made international headlines, was the result of an effort by Carson-Newman University, in support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archeology and in collaboration with the American Veterans Archeological Recovery (AVAR).

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