There is a unique tie between Concordia College and the tragic assassination of President Kennedy. Clint Hill, Concordia College alumnus, served as a Secret Service agent for Jackie Kennedy throughout President John F. Kennedy's term. Hill is the man who famously launched himself upon the presidential vehicle to shield the Kennedys from more gunshots. Mrs. Kennedy had crawled her way out of the backseat and Hill forced her back in the car. Many credit him for saving Mrs. Kennedy's life. Hill was honored by Treasury Secretary, Douglas Dillon, for "exceptional bravery" and "his extraordinary courage and heroic effort in the face of maximum danger." Hill, however, did not feel like a hero. He was burdened with guilt and felt that if only he had responded faster, he could have sacrificed his life for the president. These heavy feelings of remorse and responsibility propelled Hill into a period of depression and alcoholism. He did not outwardly speak or interview about the details of the assassination for decades. Hill protected Mrs. Kennedy for one more year and was a part of the Secret Service for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. He retired in 1975 after 17 years of service. In 1990, Hill went back to the scene of the assassination and went up to the Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald had been. Hill found some peace and concluded that he had done all that he could have done. Hill healed more after sharing his story with Lisa McCubbin, who co-authored "The Kennedy Detail" in 2010 and collaborated with Hill on the book "Mrs. Kennedy and Me" in 2012.
Before the Kennedy assassination, Clint Hill attended Concordia College. He lettered in football and baseball, and even sang in a quartet. He majored in history and physical education. When Hill graduated in 1954, he planned on becoming a teacher and a coach. However, he had one more hurdle to jump -- his draft deferment. He headed to basic training for the Army and after a series of fortunate events, was selected to protect President Eisenhower in 1959. Hill said "I was elated. But at the same time, I was scared to death because I didn't know if I would measure up, and this was an awesome responsibility." After President Kennedy took office, Hill was assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy. He said "she only called me Mr. Hill, and I only called her Mrs. Kennedy, but I knew a lot of her secrets, and she knew a lot of mine." Hill returned to Concordia's campus during the 2011 Homecoming season and was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award.
A most well deserved title.