Dill, Sir Samuel (1844–1924), classical scholar, historian, and educationalist, was born 26 March 1844 at Hillsborough, Co. Down, eldest son of the Rev. Marcus Dill, DD, presbyterian minister of Hillsborough, and Anna Dill (née Moreland). He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution before attending QCB. Graduating BA (1864), he travelled to England and read classics at Lincoln College, Oxford (1864–9). He graduated with a first-class degree (1869) and was elected a fellow and tutor of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1869–84), later becoming dean of the college. In 1877 he was appointed as high master of Manchester Grammar School (1877–89) and soon established a reputation as an innovative and liberal educationalist. He organised various school societies, encouraging the students to pursue studies in their own area of interest, while also forging links with local working-boys' clubs. Resigning from this post in 1889, he spent the next year preparing his first book for publication, before taking up an appointment as professor of Greek at QCB (1890–1924).
Dill was to remain at Queen's for the rest of his career, gaining international recognition as a classical scholar, and was elected to an honorary fellowship of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1903). He published a series of works on aspects of classical history, including Roman society in the last century of the western empire (1898) and Roman society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius (1904) (a final volume, Roman society in Gaul in the Merovingian age (1926), edited by his son-in-law, the Rev. C. B. Armstrong, was published after his death). To facilitate study he created an impressive reference library in his home, often allowing his students to consult books from his personal collection. He was a member of the Belfast university commission, established under the Irish universities act of 1908, which oversaw the transformation of QCB into QUB in 1909. Convinced that such a change was necessary, he had played a large part in the guiding counsels of the college both before and after this event. Appointed as chairman of the committee of intermediate education in Ireland (1909), he was knighted in the same year for his services to education. He later served as chairman of the viceregal commission on primary education in Ireland (1913–14). His numerous honours included honorary doctorates from Edinburgh University and TCD, and the pro-chancellorship of Queen's. Retiring from academic life in early 1924, he died 26 May 1924 at his Belfast home ‘Montpelier’ on the Malone Rd.
He married (1884) Fanny Elizabeth Morgan of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England; they had three daughters. A portrait of Dill by Frank McKelvey (qv), RHA, was presented to QUB in 1944.