Kermit Hall: Historian and University President Dies in Swimming Accident

Historians in the News

ALBANY -- Kermit L. Hall, the University at Albany's genial and scholarly 17th president, died in a swimming accident Sunday while on vacation in Hilton Head, S.C. He was 61.

The Associated Press reported that beachgoers rescued Hall and his wife, Phyllis, around 2:20 p.m. Sunday about 100 yards from shore. Hall died at Hilton Head Regional Medical Center around 3 p.m.

Friends said late Sunday night that Phyllis Hall was uninjured but they were unsure of details.

A hospital official declined to comment or provide further information, citing federal privacy laws.

Authorities in Beaufort County, S.C., did not return repeated telephone calls seeking information on the incident.
Hall was appointed UAlbany's president in late 2004, having previously served as president of Utah State University. Many said Sunday that in his short tenure he provided the university with a sense of collegiality and momentum. He was a university president just as likely to be seen meeting with a concerned student as with the governor, they said.

"He was the real deal. This is going to be difficult to deal with," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, who counted Hall among his friends.

"He cared about what was good for the university and what was good for this city," Jennings said.

He recalled that when Hall first came to Albany last year, the two men and Mark Sullivan, president of The College of Saint Rose, took a walking tour of the city.

"We went straight to the student areas. He wanted to see life from the perspective of his students," Jennings said.
University Provost Susan Herbst echoed those remarks, and said Hall will be remembered for his focus on improving undergraduate education and for linking the university to its city....

Relateed Links

  • SUNY Announcement: University at Albany President Kermit L. Hall Remembered.
  • Read entire article at Albany Times Union

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