Roger S. Hillas OPC '45

A Minute of Appreciation

May 2016

Penn Charter graduate Roger Hillas OPC 45 smiling at the camera

Overseers wish to record their gratitude to Roger S. Hillas for his 55 years of service to William Penn Charter School as an Overseer and Senior Overseer.  Sixteen years after graduating from the School, Roger joined Overseers in 1961, occupying the chair first held by James Logan in 1711.

Roger has made substantial and lasting contributions to Penn Charter in every way that one can; listing them all would turn this Minute into an hour, which would not be in keeping with either Quaker practice or Roger’s well-known preference for brevity.  Roger served as the School’s treasurer for 34 years, and thereafter as Clerk of Overseers from 1995 to 1999.  He also entrusted to us the education of his children Roger, OPC 1971, Heather, OPC 2006, and Sean, OPC 2009.  Roger’s wife Dee served as an active member of the Parent Community leadership.  The entire Hillas family has been very much a part of the Penn Charter family.

Roger was an integral part of each capital campaign in the last half century.  He provided crucial leadership and guidance with respect to our investment and spending policies, acquisition of additional real estate, and the building and financing of our facilities.  In short, without Roger’s commitment and vision we would not have the quality of the campus we see today, or experienced the superior growth of our endowment while maintaining prudent investment policies.

Roger has never sought, and frequently declined, recognition, publicity, or awards for his professional, civic and philanthropic endeavors.  Quoting from the book “…better than riches,” documenting the school’s history more than 25 years ago:

Roger Hillas is one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and influential citizens and helps our city in more ways than most people will ever know.  Civic leaders seek his opinion on a wide variety of topics…  No matter how much publicity he receives, he continues to serve his community in the same efficient, quiet manner.  Penn Charter is fortunate to have someone of his magnitude who is willing to give of his time and talents to put back into the school some of the riches he once derived from it.

That description of Roger’s commitment to this School has remained true to this day.

One of the notable quotes attributed to Roger in his 1945 Penn Charter yearbook was: “Take it easy” – advice he clearly did not heed as a student at Dartmouth or in his subsequent decades as one of the nation’s leaders in the banking industry and his vast contributions to his alma maters and other communities.  As he now chooses to step aside from his position as a Senior Overseer, among other activities, we take advantage of this opportunity to offer our immense thanks and heartfelt: “Roger, take it easy.”