Catharine Bond Hill

President, Vassar College

Catharine Bond Hill became the 10th president of Vassar College in July 2006. Hill is a noted economist whose work focuses on higher education affordability and access, as well as on economic development and reform in Africa. For the previous seven years Hill was the provost of Williams College.

Under Hill’s leadership, Vassar has reinstated need-blind admissions and replaced loans with grants in financial aid for low-income families. Other initiatives include greater community outreach and the development of tools and resources for institutional research and long-term planning. Hill also teaches an advanced-level seminar at Vassar on the economics of higher education.

Hill continues to study the access by low-income students to highly selective colleges and the net prices paid by these colleges’ students relative to their family incomes. This includes “Low-income students and highly selective private colleges: Geography, searching, and recruiting” (Economics of Education Review, 2010), her most recent publication with longtime co-author Gordon C. Winston. Hill has also authored opinion pieces for the Los Angeles TimesBusinessWeek, The Christian Science Monitor, and Inside Higher Ed, and been quoted by the Wall Street JournalBloomberg News Service, Money magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, among other outlets.

Hill has been selected for a number of scholarly awards, grants, and fellowships from organizations including the American Council of Learned Societies, Brookings Institution, National Science Foundation, and Social Science Research Council. Several years of research by Hill and her colleagues on the economics and affordability of higher education were primarily supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She is a member of the NCAA Division III Presidents Council and a trustee of The College Board.

Hill originally joined the economics faculty at Williams in 1985. In her earlier career she worked for the World Bank and the Fiscal Analysis Division of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office.

In what she has called one of the most transformative experiences of her life, Hill and her family lived from 1994 to 1997 in the Republic of Zambia, where she was the fiscal/trade adviser and then chief-of-party for the Harvard Institute for International Development’s Project on Macroeconomic Reform. She has written widely from her experiences in Africa, including co-editing the books Promoting and Sustaining Economic Reform in Zambia(2004) and the widely-reviewed Public Expenditure in Africa (1996).

Hill graduated summa cum laude from Williams College and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees at Brasenose College, Oxford University, with first class honours in politics, philosophy, and economics. She completed her Ph.D. in economics at Yale University.

Hill and her husband, Kent J. Kildahl, head of the Upper School at Riverdale Country School (Riverdale, New York), have three children.