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A tribute to Roderick M. Hills, Founder and Chairman of the Hills Program on Governance

The death of Roderick “Rod” Hills on the 29th October 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland marked the end of a generous and supportive relationship he had initiated with Strathmore University some 10 years ago. Without the personal support and encouragement of Roderick Hills the Strathmore Governance Centre (SGC) would never have come into being. Though not able to visit Strathmore, he closely followed the beginnings and development of SGC, arranged for the centre to receive initial financial support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and sent his personal assistant, Gerald Hyman, to attend the official opening and launch of the Centre on his behalf in the year 2007.


A philanthropist, public servant, humanitarian and brilliant and incredible person, Rod had a deep passion for promoting good governance at international, regional, national and local levels. Recognizing Rod’s integrity and extraordinary capabilities, President Gerald Ford appointed him as Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. During his tenure as Chairman of SEC, he gathered information related to fraud on more than 250 corporations in the USA and successfully prosecuted them in collaboration with the office of the Attorney-General of the US.


After retiring from the Chairmanship of SEC, with his wife Carla, he founded the Hills Program of Governance based at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC and embarked on fulfilling his vision of creating a network of Governance Centres throughout the world. In 2004, having set up several affiliated Governance Centres in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe, he turned his sight towards Africa and commissioned his staff to carry out a reconnaissance mission to identify a suitable university in Africa, more specifically in Kenya, to house an affiliated Governance Centre.


Acting on the recommendation of his staff that Strathmore University would be a suitable host institution, he approached the university and offered to help set up what is now the Strathmore Governance Centre. He continued in close contact with the various persons who have served as Directors of SGC and supported them with his own personal financial contributions and advice.


It is with sorrow and deep gratitude that we recognize and bid farewell to our great benefactor Roderick Hills and offer our sincere condolences to his wife Carla and other members of his family.