Rochester Community and Technical College President Emeritus, Charles E. Hill, Passes Away
Rochester, Minn., June 30, 2014 – Charles E. Hill, President Emeritus of Rochester Community and Technical College died today. In 1953 Charles Hill became the fifth leader of what was then known as Rochester Junior College (RJC). Expansion was the hallmark of Hill’s time as president. The college grew substantially at its downtown location and eventually changed locations under his leadership, moving to Rochester’s east side. When Hill came to RJC, the college had 236 students and occupied portions of the Coffman Building. When Hill retired in 1982 after 29 years as the college’s leader, the college had become a 160 acre campus with 3,217 students.
The Hill years were marked by innovation and growth and Rochester Community College establishing itself as one of the state’s and the nation’s premiere community colleges. Hill bolstered college programs with strong faculty who could foster innovative ideas and put them into action.
“I wanted to see it grow and we were able to find such talented faculty that we moved ahead on their quality,” Hill said.
Many times an idea would come from a professional meeting Hill had attended or it might come from a campus visit he made elsewhere to evaluate an institution for accreditation.
“I always told people, that no matter what school you visited as an evaluator, they always did something very successfully and you could pick up good ideas, if you were looking,” Hill said. “I’d come home with an idea and approach someone on the faculty about it, let the idea settle with them and see if it could take off from their initiative. It often did.”
Hill credits many people for the success of the college. He points to its continued growth in enrollment and expansion of programs to meet the needs of students as evidence by the spirit of the institution that continues today.
In 1987 Rochester Community and Technical College’s Charles E. Hill Theater was named in Hill’s honor for his many years of service and his patronage of the arts.
Interim President Gail O’Kane said, “President Emeritus Charles Hill will always be remembered as a gentle man who built a family of faculty, staff and administrators committed to excellence and student success.