Home Entrepreneur James Hill Jr., Revered CPA and National Black MBA Founding Member, Dies...

James Hill Jr., Revered CPA and National Black MBA Founding Member, Dies at 80

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at Rainbow PUSH.


Chicago Southsider celebrates the life of a long-time CPA and one of the founding members of the National Black MBA, James Hill Jr. He transitioned on Thursday, December 23rd, 2021.

Mr. Hill’s memorial service will take place on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at 3:00 PM. The memorial will be held at Rainbow PUSH located at 930 E. 50th Street on Chicago’s South Side. All guests are required to wear a mask while indoors. If you want to join the live stream, you can visit Rainbow Push Facebook page or YouTube.

Born in 1941, Mr. Hill was an influential leader and trailblazer who paved the way for more African-Americans in business. In 1970, he founded the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) along with other MBA students at the University of Chicago.

“With NBMBAA, we created opportunity for blacks to go to business schools. As graduates, we went into corporate America or started black-owned businesses, creating new opportunities for blacks, Hispanics, & whites,” Hill recalled during an interview with The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

James Hill Jr., class of 1967, was on a mission to help more Black students gain exposure to professional opportunities. Before attending the University of Chicago, Hill landed a position as an accountant at the Union Carbide in New York. He quickly realized that his advancement opportunities were limited. Therefore, he applied to business school to gain access to more opportunities, especially since public accounting firms did not hire Black people. Hill and his colleagues recognized the need to create a space for other Black people to network, connect, and succeed in business.

“It was a shock to me that there were only 11 black MBA students at Chicago Booth. We had to do something. We had to organize to get more black people into MBA programs. We were very qualified, and there was a lot of pride. At the same time, there was a lot of turmoil. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated the year before. Individual opportunity wasn’t enough: our goal was to get black MBAs into a network, to shine a light on what black people could do.”

After graduating from Booth, Mr. Hill signed the dotted line to work as a Chicago staff auditor for Alexander Grant & Company. Then, he took on a position as deputy director of the Chicago Economic Development Corporation. In 1972, he started his own accounting practice. Three years later, he teamed up with a partner and formed Hill, Taylor, Certified Public Accountants, where he served as chairman and CEO. He was also a licensed CPA in five states: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Mr. Hill was a member of several industry associations, including American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS), National Black Association of Accountants (NABA), and National Black MBA Association. He was also a board member of several business and philanthropic organizations, including:

  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Better Government Association
  • Citizen Information Service
  • Chicago Commons Association
  • Economic Club of Chicago
  • Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
  • Chicago Economic Advisory Committee

Mr. Hill also served as a council member to the graduate business programs at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

During a time in our country’s history when racial tensions were high, Mr. Hill still pushed for economic opportunities and exposure for Black people. He became a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated (Delta Zeta Chapter) and earned his accounting degree in 1964 from Central State University. This was the same year when the Civil Rights Act was passed. Signed by Lyndon Johnson, this act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race and other factors.

Mr. Hill’s work has touched the South Side of Chicago in many ways. His work lives on through the National Black MBA and the people he has touched on his journey.

If you would like to support Mr. Hill’s work, the family requests that you make a donation to The Central State University General Scholarship Fund.



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