Giving has a slightly different meaning for James Gill, a Vietnam War veteran. When reflecting on his lifetime of giving, he undoubtedly remembers the largest check he wrote.
“I have told people that the biggest check I ever wrote in my life was agreeing to serve two years in the Marine Corps, knowing I was going to Vietnam,” Gill said. “I wrote a check and left the amount blank, but it included my life. I have always been proud of the fact that I was able to do that, enjoyed doing that and was honored to serve.”
It is that giving attitude and military service that inspired Gill to create the James H. Gill Scholarship Endowment. His endowment is designed to provide a scholarship to a Texas Tech Law student who is a veteran or actively serves in the military. Gill takes particular interest in helping those who served the United States because he understands the magnitude of that sacrifice.
“The guys and gals that serve in the military are special people, in my opinion,” Gill stated. “I just think they are special people. Anyone willing to sign up and serve their country is special.”
The honor Gill took in serving his country is the same honor he takes in helping Texas Tech Law students who make the same sacrifice.
“I have a great love for military people, and if this endowment will help some of these guys and gals who need it, then I am all for it,” Gill said. “I am tickled to be in a position where I can do a little something for them.”
Following his military service, Gill returned to Lubbock to complete his undergraduate education. He then went on to graduate from Texas Tech Law in two-and-a-half years. Although he moved quickly through law school, the friendship with his peers and professors was not lost.
In fact, one memory Gill fondly remembers is the life-long friendships he developed with Professor Eugene Smith, Professor Richard Hemingway, and Professor John Krahmer. He remembers the faculty’s willingness to sit down and have honest discussions with him, which is something he still appreciates today.
As time passes, Gill always recalls the foundation his military service and Texas Tech Law provided, and now he graciously assists current students to build the same foundation.
“As I have gotten older, I tell people that whatever success I’ve had in life is owed to two things,” Gill recalled. “The first is the United States Marine Corps and the other is Texas Tech Law.”