Richard Q. Hite '54
Richard Quentin Hite grew up in the Roanoke Valley where he attended Andrew Lewis High School before entering Roanoke College in September of 1950. At Roanoke, Hite participated in soccer and choir, and he was a member of the debate team and the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He served as vice president of his sophomore class and president of the student body. Hite received his B.A. in 1954, majoring in political science; and that year he was awarded the International Relations Prize and was selected for Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges.
After graduation, Hite served in the Navy for two years and was based in Virginia Beach. He then returned to Roanoke and was appointed to work as the area's representative of the Savings Bond Division of the U.S. Treasury. After serving five years with the Treasury Department, he obtained his broker's license and went to work in real estate. He opened Hite-Thompson Realtors and actively worked in real estate until 1991. During this time, Hite met Antonio Lopez, a Mexican immigrant who had moved to Roanoke with the dream of opening his own restaurant. Hite helped Lopez open the first El Rodeo restaurant in Roanoke, and in the process, sparked a lasting friendship.
Lopez opened the door for Hite's association with the Mexican culture, and both the people and their culture have become a real passion for him. In 1992, Hite moved back to Virginia Beach where he opened his first two Mexican restaurants, Mi Casita in Norfolk, and Casa Grande in Richmond. Today, Jaimito, a nickname bestowed on him by his beloved Mexican friends, owns eight Mexican restaurants located in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Suffolk, Chesapeake and Fredericksburg.
Not only does Richard Hite share his business success with the Mexican people, but his kindness and generosity are carried over in the many charities that he supports and through his generous support of education. At Roanoke College, Hite has established three scholarships; one in memory of his parents, Richard and Ellen Hite; one in honor of his friend and mentor Clarence P. Caldwell, Jr.; and one in his own name which provides scholarships for fulltime students at Roanoke with first preference given to Hispanic students. Mr. Hite is also a generous supporter of the annual fund and is a member of the Roanoke College Associates and the Society of 1842. In addition, he hosts Roanoke College sports teams and alumni events annually at his Norfolk and Richmond restaurants.
Mr. Hite resided in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Guadalajara, Mexico. On April 16, 2004, Richard Q. Hite was awarded the Roanoke College Medal for his commitment to education and continuing loyalty to the mission of the College, and for his generous donation of time and resources for the benefit of Roanoke College and its students.