Ignite FIU creates scholarship to remember associate professor

Janiah Adams/Contributing Writer

A celebration of life event was held Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Rafael Diaz-Balart Hall to remember Kevin Hill, an associate professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations, who passed away at 51 on Monday, May 29, 2017.

Hill was a professor who worked at FIU for 24 years and was known for his unique sense of humor, according to his colleagues, and “will be missed.”

Dario Moreno, an associate professor of political science, knew Hill since he began teaching at FIU in 1993 and described him as “witty and funny.”

“One of the best sense of humors that I knew of,” Moreno said. “He was extremely smart, a real pleasure to be around.”

According to Moreno, Hill was also very devoted to his students.

“He spent a lot of time on his classes and he was a very good teacher,” Moreno said.

Hill, along with Moreno and Susan MacManus, a political commentator, worked on a book in 2004 titled “Florida’s Politics: Ten Media Markets, One Powerful State,” which looked at how politics differed depending on the region of Florida. Through all of his work with Hill, Moreno said what he will miss most about him is his specialty for looking at political situations and reducing it to something humorous.

“He always knew exactly how to get at the most humorous aspect of what serious people would do,” Moreno said. “He was relentless on Trump, Obama– it didn’t matter the partisanship. If someone did something foolish, Kevin would make fun of it and show how ridiculous it was.”

According to the Miami Herald, Hill was used as a source for media outlets such as the Miami Herald, Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Fox News, ABC and NBC for his analysis on voting trends. He was also WSVN’s political analyst for the 2016 presidential race and assisted local and national news media when they wanted to know how Cubans voted in the 2000 Bush-Gore presidential election that was decided by Florida. Hill was also called upon when expert witnesses were needed for the Miami voter fraud trial in 1998.

Kathryn DePalo, a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations, knew Hill since 2006 while receiving her PhD in political science. She is a senior instructor in the department and Hill’s former teaching assistant.

“Kevin Hill was my professor when I was a graduate student and he was also my dissertation chair,” DePalo said. “His genius was in the way he could explain stats, historical circumstances, and the current state of political affairs in one breath. He will be sorely missed.”

A scholarship fund is also being set up in his name, according to Juan Carlos G Del Valle, executive director of development at the Steven J. School of Public Affairs.

“Basically, the scholarship is to benefit graduate students in the Department of Political Science and International Relations who enrolled in a course of study that focuses on American politics,” said Del Valle.

The scholarship was set up under Ignite, an FIU program where employees are encouraged to donate to an FIU fund to further develop the school, he said, and is currently accepting donations.

“You can send a check made payable to FIU Foundation. In the memo, you write Kevin Hill Scholarship Endowments,” Del Valle said.

People can also donate online via credit card. For more information on the scholarship, visit



Image retrieved from Flickr.

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