Educator, Administrator, Lawyer
Roger Hull has devoted most of his professional life to education. A graduate of Dartmouth College with a law degree from Yale University and a Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Virginia, he began his career as an attorney in New York City. In 1970, Hull was appointed to the Board of William & Mary, which triggered his interest in educational leadership, and, in 1971, he was appointed special counsel to the Governor of Virginia where he was in charge of the Governor’s legislative program.
Service in Washington called, and from 1974 to 1976 Hull became the Special Assistant to the Chairman and Deputy Staff Director of the National Security Council Interagency Task Force on Law of the Sea.
In 1976, Hull was appointed vice president for development and planning at Syracuse University and five years later was selected President of Beloit College. There he found a college that was in some trouble financially embedded in a town, Beloit, Wisconsin, that seemed to have had its best days behind it. Its population was declining and its unemployment rate rising. Hull designed some creative ways of addressing the financial issues that parents were facing. Hull proposed “moral obligation” scholarships, providing students the assistance to attend college, with the stated hope that they would honor their obligation to repay those scholarships. He also reached out to the community, understanding that the futures of the college and the town were inextricably intertwined.
Hull’s successes at Beloit led Union College in Schenectady, New York to approach him as a potential leader in early 1990. There he found a college in better shape financially than Beloit, but one, like Beloit, located in a town that was tired economically. Hull was co-founder of Schenectady 2000, a city revitalization project, and he invested millions of College dollars in a rundown neighborhood west of the campus. In addition, during Hull’s presidency at Union College, students were encouraged to travel and take courses abroad, to engage in serious research projects, and to design majors that combined work in at least two different academic departments.
Hull left Union in 2005 to form the Help Yourself Foundation, whose mission is to create after-school academies on college campuses for at-risk, grade school children.