George Roche III

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George Charles Roche III (May 16, 1935 – May 5, 2006) was the 11th president of Hillsdale College, serving from 1971 to 1999. He was led to resign following a scandal surrounding an alleged sexual affair between Roche and his daughter-in-law, Lissa Jackson Roche, and her subsequent suicide.

Roche received his bachelor's degree from Regis College (now Regis University) in 1956. He later received a masters and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.

Prior to becoming president of Hillsdale College Roche was a professor at the Colorado School of Mines. He also worked with the Foundation for Economic Education.

The Center for Constructive Alternatives seminar program and the college's widely circulated speech digest, Imprimis, were started during Roche's years as college president. Under his leadership, many new buildings were constructed, including a sports complex that bears his name. Roche authored many books, such as Legacy of Freedom, The Bewildered Society, and The Book of Heroes, although it is believed that Lissa Roche, his daughter-in-law who worked at the college, was the ghost writer for his later books.[citation needed] In the case of The Book of Heroes, Lissa is sometimes listed as a co-author and was acknowledged as a major contributor in the book's introduction.

Roche was appointed chairman of the National Council on Educational Research by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The scandal broke out in 1999 when the wife of his son George Roche IV, Lissa Jackson Roche, claimed to have had an affair spanning 19 years with her husband's father. Lissa had threatened suicide, and her husband found her in the college arboretum with a handgun, and with her blood still warm, but unable to prevent her self-inflicted death.[1] Roche resigned in November 1999 and left public life. The widely publicized scandal brought national attention to Roche and Hillsdale. A 2000 book, Hillsdale: Greek Tragedy in America's Heartland, explored the controversial events and questioned whether Lissa Roche's death was actually a suicide.[2] Roche denied the allegations made by Lissa.

After the scandal Roche moved to a remote cabin in Colorado. He visited Michigan briefly in 2005 to celebrate his seventieth birthday.[3] He died on May 5, 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky.[4][5][6]


  • "American Federalism" (1967, Foundation for Economic Education)
  • Legacy of Freedom (1969)
  • Education in America (1969)
  • Frederic Bastiat: A Man Alone. Architects of Freedom Series. New Rochelle: Arlington House. 1971. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  • The Bewildered Society (1972)
  • The Balancing Act: Quota Hiring in Higher Education (1974)
  • Federal Assault on Independent Education (1979)
  • America by the Throat: The Stranglehold of Federal Bureaucracy (1983)
  • Going Home (1986)
  • A World Without Heroes: The Modern Tragedy (1987)
  • A Reason for Living (1989)
  • The Fall of the Ivory Tower: Government Funding, Corruption, and the Bankrupting of American Higher Education (1994)
  • The Book of Heroes: Great Men and Women in American History (1998)


External links[edit]

George Roche III at Find a Grave