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On September 14 and 15, the 2017 Hillman Entrepreneurs made the annual visit to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. The Portrait Gallery, which shares space with the American Art Museum, is one of our nation’s treasured Smithsonian Institution spaces where the public can enjoy a view of history from an almost infinite number of lenses, but all through the personal images of people who have shaped American history and culture.
This year, the Hillman students were lucky to have Briana Zavadil White, Student and Teacher Programs Manager at the museum, lead them in a whirlwind tour of entrepreneurs and thought leaders throughout history–including well-known icons such as LL Cool J (featured above) as well as Bill and Melinda Gates, Helena Rubinstein, JD Rockefeller,  Charles Schwab, Albert Einstein, Katharine Hepburn, and Andrew Carnegie.
However, students also expanded their understanding of what it means to have lived a meaningful life by learning more about lesser known but no less important people in history such as Lillian Muller Galbraith, who championed women’s rights, civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune, Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz,  and the naturalist Linus Pauling (featured to the right with Aixa Hernandez.”
Nazea Khan wrote in her reflection, speaking for all of the students, “On a beautiful Friday afternoon, I found my favorite portrait at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. I felt drawn to the portrait and after reading the description, I also felt connected. There was a certain type of energy coming from the portrait that I could personally vibe and relate too. His smile and the way he held himself for the picture to be taken reminded me of myself.” This was the frame of mind the students found themselves in as they identified with those Americans who made the country what it is today.
The Hillman Program looks forward to this meaningful and mind-expanding trip every year. This year is no different. Minds were blown, horizons expanded, and students connected with new role models and inspiring movers and shakers.

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