In the civic, political, and personal aspects of her life, Elsie Hilliard Hillman exemplified Dwight D. Eisenhower’s motto, Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re (Gently in manner, strongly in deed). Mrs. Hillman’s accomplishments, borne of a strength of mind and the courage to stand for what she believed in and paired with a generosity of heart, are rich in the lessons they can impart to students and policymakers alike, whether at the regional, state, or national levels.
Elsie set a standard for service, encouraging a sustained commitment to leadership and civic participation, and inspiring a new generation of leaders to make service a central part of their lives. Illustrated throughout her life and work was Elsie’s belief that despite one’s political, social, or economic means, individuals of all stripes can be productive agents for positive change.
True to the case study published on her life “The Political Life of Elise Hillman”, she was never a spectator. Instead, Elsie became entrenched and involved at all levels of the causes to which she dedicated herself, treating all people with respect and dignity, and valuing each person’s opinion. Elsie’s handiwork and accomplishments in all areas are innumerable, as she had worked tirelessly advocating for women’s rights, bringing diversity to the Republican Party, and emphasizing exclusivity in times of rampant political polarization.
Throughout her life, Elsie worked to create a more fair and equitable world for all people, especially the most vulnerable among us. Her inspired entrepreneurship, her gift to empathically relate to others, her dedication to social justice, and her unique ability to will into being the unimaginable make her story an important study in leadership and civic engagement in any context.
More About Elsie:
Elsie Hilman Archive
The University of Pittsburgh acquired Elsie’s personal papers in 2013 and they are currently housed at the Archives Service Center of the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System.
Elsie Hillman Tribute
Because of Elsie’s numerous connections to the Institute of Politics, and because of the legacy she is leaving for our region, the Institute created a tribute to share how their relationship with Elsie developed and what she has meant and continues to mean to them personally and in terms of our work going forward.
Never a Spectator
The Institute of Politics at the University of Pittsburgh has a long and rich history of creating opportunities to help regional leaders and the general public to see and understand our shared responsibility for improving the quality of the lives of those in our home region. Visit here to view the book.