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Invisible String to Gaylord: Dr. Desiree Hill

Gaylord Extra: February Edition

Invisible String to Gaylord: Dr. Desiree Hill

By Carolyn Lien, Gaylord College Class of 2025

As we begin a new year at Gaylord College, Dr. Desiree Hill begins her first full semester as assistant dean of student affairs. As a Gaylord alumna, Dr. Hill is no stranger to the college and looks at her new position as another connection between her own family and the college.

Dean Hill received her bachelor’s degree in radio-TV-film with a minor in political science during the time when Gaylord was referred to as the “J School” and was located in Copeland Hall. While at the J School, Hill was part of the Oklahoma Daily and the group of students who produced the first live newscast for OU. This program would later evolve into OU Nightly.

“We didn’t have an advisor for a newscast, we really didn’t have a set, and we didn’t have a name,” Hill said.

Hill’s passion for the newsroom started from an early age and continued to grow during her time at OU. Ever since, she has been involved in newsrooms in various ways, whether that be as a broadcast journalist or as a Vice President of News where she traveled to newsrooms across the country.

Upon graduating, Hill went on to work for numerous television stations and uncovered a new interest. Close to home, and at the intersection of journalism and trauma, she found herself in the middle of covering a national tragedy, the Oklahoma City bombing. After the bombing, she continued her work in newsrooms, where she honed her ability to convey and bring news to the traumatic topics facing our community.

While Hill was enjoying her newsroom experience, she decided to take her career in a new direction, starting with working toward her master’s degree at the University of North Texas and transitioning to teaching. Taking her experience and using it to help future journalists, Hill moved back to Oklahoma to teach at the University of Central Oklahoma after her husband received a job in Oklahoma City. Hill taught at UCO for 12 years and for a few of those years, she pursued her doctorate through Gaylord College.

Upon hearing about the assistant dean position opening at Gaylord College in spring 2023, Dr. Hill was immediately drawn to the idea of returning to her alma mater. She fondly remembered the camaraderie with the faculty, staff and students during her doctoral studies. These memories played a major role in her decision to return to Norman.

“When you have an opportunity to work at the largest university in the state, you have to listen to that. So, isn’t that kind of an interesting step in your life to do something bigger?” Hill said.

Dr. Hill describes her job as broken into four essential elements: leadership, working with student services, recruiting, and fittingly, overseeing broadcast student media.

She admits, “It’s a job description that’s all over the place.” Despite that, she emphasizes that her top priority is helping students, whether that means listening to any ideas they have or helping them with a financial issue.

Recently, Dr. Hill’s son graduated from Gaylord College with a degree in creative media production, prompting Hill to reminisce on her own time as a student.

“I think about our days in Copeland Hall when we were smaller compared to where we are now, all the growth, and coming full circle to be a part of everything we do for our students.,” Hill said.

So, the next time you see Dean Hill around Gaylord or walk by her office in student services, don’t be afraid to say hello. She loves listening to students, plus it’s safe to say she knows her way around the place.

Dr. Desiree Hill.

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