Click here to bypass page layout and jump directly to story.=

UC Berkeley >

University of California

News - Media Relations






  Press Releases

  Image Downloads



W. James Hill, former assistant dean under several administrations at UC Berkeley's law school, dies at 82
16 Aug 2000

By Janet Gilmore, Media Relations

W. James HillBerkeley - W. James Hill, one of the first assistant deans at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt Hall), died on Monday (Aug. 14) following complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 82.

Hill, of Oakland, was only the second person to serve as assistant dean at Boalt Hall and did so from 1964 to 1988, under four law school deans. During those years, there were no associate deans, just the dean of the law school and one assistant dean.

"He was responsible for admissions, alumni relations, fundraising and placement. He did it all," said law professor Jesse Choper, a dean of the law school while Hill was at Boalt Hall. "He was a great favorite of the students. Everyone loved him."

Hill, a native of Minneapolis, was born March 22, 1918, and named William James Hill, though friends and colleagues knew him as Jim Hill. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his law degree from Boalt Hall in 1961.

During World War II, Hill served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy.

In the early 1950s, he worked as a journalist, serving as a copy editor at the Minneapolis Tribune and, later, as editor and publisher of the La Mesa Scout in La Mesa, California.

In the early 1960s, he served as chief counsel at the California State Banking Department in San Francisco and as assistant general counsel at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

He returned to Boalt Hall in 1964.

"Jim was the sweetest of men, and he contributed a sense of warmth and community to this large place that we sorely missed when he retired," said emeritus law professor Sanford H. Kadish, a former dean at Boalt Hall. "In short, Jim made the music around here, and I don't mean just the piano."

Hill, known for his wit and humor, wrote many of the parody songs performed at faculty shows. I. Michael Heyman, a former UC Berkeley chancellor and emeritus law professor, said Hill played the piano very well and inspired his brother, Hollywood director George Roy Hill, to use the Scott Joplin piece "The Entertainer" for his movie, "The Sting."

Hill is survived by his wife, Aurora, of Oakland; five children - Christopher Hill, of Oakland; Kate Hill, of Palo Alto; Timothy Hill, of Los Angeles; Jonathan Hill, of San Francisco; and Mary Hill-Melero, of Oakland - and four grandchildren.

Services will be private. A memorial will be scheduled at UC Berkeley sometime in the fall.

Relatives ask that donations in his memory be sent to the Boalt Hall Fund. Checks should be made out to "UC Regents" with a note "in memory of Dean Hill" on the check or on an accompanying note. Mail checks to: University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Boalt Hall Fund, 308 Boalt Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7200.



UC Berkeley | News | Archives | Extras | Media Relations

Comments? E-mail

Copyright 2000 UC Regents. All rights reserved.