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Calvin Hill ’65 played football at Riverdale with legendary Coach Frank Bertino. Hill went on to a distinguished athletic career at Yale University and the NFL.

Calvin Hill ’65 spoke with Director of Athletics John Pizzi during a Zoom event on Oct. 17 as part of the school’s virtual homecoming and reunion celebrations.

Calling his years at Riverdale “one of the great times of my life,” Hill spoke about how his relationships with Coach Frank Bertino, Headmaster John Jones, and others shaped his future. He said he learned self-discipline, which helped him in college, on the football field, and in life.

Raised in Baltimore, Hill came to Riverdale on a scholarship. He noted that he was not enthusiastic about leaving home to come to Riverdale, but his father was convinced that it was an opportunity. That experience taught him about making choices, he said, by thinking about the consequences.

“In life, you are going to be faced with all kinds of choices,” he said. “The key is to try to understand what the consequences will be and not shy away from things that will be difficult.”

Asked about Colin Kaepernick and other professional athletes who have brought political activism into sports, Hill noted that that is constructive for athletes to use their platforms to “talk about a cause that is greater than themselves.”

He noted that his son, former NBA player Grant Hill, is a part-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, one of the first teams to make its arena available as an election site. “A lot of good comes out of this activism,” he said.

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