John Hilpert spent over three and a half decades in higher education, spending almost two decades as a university president.
He is president emeritus of Delta State University and the author of numerous articles and books, such as American Cyclone: Theodore Roosevelt and His 1900 Whistle Stop Campaign.
Early Life and Education
John Hilpert has spent over 35 years in higher education, including nearly two decades as a university president. He is the author of American Cyclone: Theodore Roosevelt and His 1900 Whistle Stop Campaign as well as coauthoring Campaigns and Hurricanes: A History of Presidential Visits to Mississippi both published by UniversityPress of Mississippi.
As Delta State’s president, he achieved enrollment and fund raising targets while meeting budget needs. His leadership was recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which presented him with its prestigious James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award in December 2015. Named for one of Delta State’s most illustrious alumni, this award recognizes current SACSCOC member presidents who exhibit qualities typical of a distinguished leader while advancing college education across Southern California.
After earning his doctorate in history from the University of Michigan, Hilpert spent nearly 40 years as an administrator within higher education. He was the longest-serving president of Delta State, Mississippi and has held executive vice president or acting president roles at multiple other institutions.
He served as a consultant to the United States Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Churchill, Canada, researching improvements for arctic transportation equipment. Furthermore, he visited Carnegie-Mellon University as a visiting professor where he generated industry-sponsored research projects so students could see their work applied in an actual world setting.
John’s greatest joy in life was his family – his wife Ann and two sons Tom and Riley. A kind and generous man who enjoyed sailing as well as entertaining friends with his original silly songs and Dr. Seuss quotes, John was truly a man of the seas.
Achievements and Honors
John Hilpert is a man of many accomplishments and accolades. He is the longest serving president of Delta State University and has received numerous prestigious awards in recognition of his services.
He is an accomplished researcher, specializing in data analytics and complex systems approaches to enhance learning and instruction. His most noteworthy achievements include developing a new concept in teaching that can increase student engagement, as well as designing an innovative curricular program dubbed “edgy physics nerd”.
He is a champion of the community and an outspoken supporter of social justice and inclusion within and outside the classroom. A member of SU College of Arts and Sciences Council, he is well known for his tireless advocacy on behalf of students and colleagues alike.
John Hilpert is a writer and researcher with expertise on student motivation, engagement, and interactive learning. Additionally, his research examines the complex, dynamic nature of educational systems.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Hilpert served as chairman of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He has also held positions as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota; executive vice president and acting president at the University of South Dakota; and vice president at Thiel College in Pennsylvania.
Hilpert is an avid reader and enjoys writing short stories and non-fiction. Together with his wife Margaret, he founded Cedar Cross Retreat Center in North Carolina where they lead numerous retreats for people of all ages.