By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
In 1961, Cason Hill '53 figured he would teach a year or so at Morehouse and then maybe go back to his postal job or teach in the public school system.
It didn't turn out that way.
"I didn't have any idea that I'd be here a second year," Hill said. "I came here as a replacement. After the first year, I went back to my civil service postal job that summer, but then I came back in September and did another year. I started taking courses at Atlanta University towards my Ph.D. After I got that, there was no turning back."
Hill has become an institution at Morehouse, where he has taught English – and done a number of other jobs at the same time – for 50 years. Of the current Morehouse faculty, only Tobe Johnson, interim dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, has been at the College longer: 53 years.
Hill was one of 53 faculty members who were honored this year for at least 20 years of distinguished teaching service to Morehouse. He, along with former English professor Jocelyn Jackson, received a Special Recognition/Service Award. Jackson retired in May 2011 after 24 years at Morehouse.
Hill, a native of LaGrange, Ga., never envisioned a half-century career at Morehouse.
"I taught in the Atlanta school system, but then we had the war in Korea and I got drafted in December that year," he said. "After I got out of the Army and went to get my old job back, well, I didn't get it back. That's why I went into the civil service and worked as a postal clerk here in Atlanta."
While working at the post office, Hill earned his master's degree at Atlanta University and planned on becoming a public school principal. But an AU dean talked him into applying for a teaching opening at Morehouse.
The president then, Benjamin E. Mays, hired Hill at a Morehouse that was much smaller than it is today.
"Everything south of Robert Hall was not here," Hill said with a laugh.
Mays also asked Hill to be the one-man Communications Office for the College, where he edited and wrote stories about Morehouse and pitched them to local and national media.
By 1979, Hugh Gloster, Mays' successor, urged Hill to become editor of the CLA Journal, a position that Hill continues in today.
"Editing is just something I have a knack for," he said. "It's just something I've always done."
And Hill also continues what he has always loved: teaching.
"The best thing for me is the reason why I came here in the first place – to teach young men and associate with my colleagues. I guess you can say it's in my blood."