Asa Hilliard, III, PhD, was born in Galveston, Texas, on Aug. 22, 1933. He attended the University of Denver, earning his Bachelors of art degree in 1955. Soon after he began teaching in a Denver public school until 1960, followed by him teaching as a fellow at the University of Denver. He would remain there to complete his Master’s degree in counseling in 1961 and his EdD degree in educational psychology in 1963. After graduation with his doctorate degree, he accepted a faculty position at San Francisco State. In his eighteen years at San Francisco State, Dr. Hilliard served at department chair and dean of education. Outside of the university, he served as a consultant to the PEACE Corps and superintendent of schools in Monrovia, Liberia. Hilliard has also served on the National level at the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Education Psychology and Special Education.
As an education psychologist, Hilliard also had a passion for African history and culture. He was a founding member and served as vice president of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and a founding member of the National Black Child Development Institute. He wrote countless articles on ancient African history, teaching strategies and public policy. In addition to his numerous publications he has also received hundreds of honors and awards. Hilliard was the recipient of the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Association of Black Psychologists; the Morehouse College "Candle in the Dark Award in Education;" American Evaluation Association, President's Award; Republic of Liberia Award as Knight Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption; and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, "Distinguished Educator Award." Hilliard was an American Psychological Association fellow and a recipient of honorary degrees from several institutions.
Hilliard’s career was dedicated to exploring ways to better educate children and to teach the truth about the history of Africa and the African diaspora. He developed African centered curriculums and lead study groups to Egypt and Ghana frequently throughout his career. As a board certified forensic examiner, Hilliard would lend his expertise as an expert witness in federal landmark cases on test validity and biasness. In 2001, Hilliard was given the name Nana Baffour Amankwatia, II, which means generous one. His contribution to the field is evident in the generous amount of his works published to guide future educational psychologist, teachers and historians.