Dr. H. Hamner Hill, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Faculty Merit Award from Southeast Missouri State University. The Faculty Merit Award is presented to Southeast faculty for excellence in teaching.


Hill is currently a professor of philosophy in the Department of Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion. He has enjoyed a variety of positions during his 36-year career with the University. He served as interim dean of two colleges and as chairperson of four departments, ranging from art to criminal justice as well as the director of the University Studies program.  

“If I ever decide what I want to do when I grow up, assuming that I grow up, I promise to tell you all,” said Hill.  

Hill is a philosopher by training and graduated from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy where he also received his Juris Doctorate. He also earned a master’s degree in philosophy as well as a doctorate in philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.  

“I specialized in the philosophy of the law with a sub specialization in normative conflict and legal lacunae, a situation where there is no applicable law,” said Hill.  

Hill has been published in journals such as Law and Philosophy, the Archiv für Rechts und Socialphilosophie, The Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, and the William and Mary Environmental Law Review. These publications also afforded him the opportunity to travel the globe.  

“I have presented scholarly papers on five continents and 10 countries outside of the U.S,” said Hill.  

Hill was invited in 2019 to become part of a team of faculty for the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, a project that received support from the Dalai Lama.  

“The project was to try and bring Tibetan Buddhism into the 21st century by educating monks in Western physics, biology and neuroscience,” said Hill, “But first we wanted to introduce logic, critical thinking and the philosophy of science.”  

Hill says the experience was one for a lifetime and credits spending a week in a monostatic setting for bringing him back to the reason he chose to be an educator.  

“The trip reminded me why I became a teacher,” said Hill. “The life of the mind is alive and well there.”  

Outside of academia, Hill presents both the Great Books and the Great Decisions programs. He has also served for many years on the medical ethics committee and the institutional review board at SoutheastHEALTH and is the president of the Cape Girardeau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. However, it’s his commitment to the Southeast Women’s Soccer team that he is most proud of.  

“I’m the top faculty supporter,” said Hill, “and I rarely miss a home game.” 

Hill was honored at the University’s annual Copper Dome Society and Merit Award Dinner on October 28 during Homecoming weekend. The Copper Dome Society recognizes donors to the University of $250 or more annually. It is their continued support that enables students to receive scholarships, the best in classroom technology and the experiences outside the classroom that are so important in today's society.