Graham John Hills

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Graham John Hills
Sir Graham Hills and Lady Mary Hills taken in their Inverness home in March 2000
Sir Graham Hills and Lady Mary Hills taken in their Inverness home in March 2000
Born(1926-04-09)9 April 1926
Southend-on-Sea, Essex , U.K.
Died9 February 2014(2014-02-09) (aged 87)
Pen nameSir Graham Hills
OccupationUniversity Principal, Physical chemist, Educationalist
  • Brenda Stubbington (d. 1974)
  • Mary Jane McNaughton (1933 - 2013; Married 1980, Southampton)

Sir Graham Hills FRSE (9 April 1926 – 9 February 2014) was a physical chemist, principal of the University of Strathclyde, and a governor of the BBC. He was born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex and educated at Westcliff High School for Boys and Birkbeck College, London (BSc 1946, PhD 1950). He was knighted in 1988 for his services to education.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Hills served as a professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Southampton for 18 years, until 1980, when he became principal at Strathclyde University, succeeding Samuel Curran who had held the post since 1959. There, his early foci were accommodating cuts to government funding by the University Grants Committee (UK), and dealing with the school's other financial difficulties. He found alternative sources of income, restructured the university (in 1982) to reduce its nine schools to four, and introduced early retirement for faculty members. Hills also changed the academic year to the two-term semester structure.

With the financial challenges stabilized, Hills turned to expanding the university. Purchases were made in 1981 and 1987, respectively, of the Barony Church (restored in 1984 and converted into a graduation hall) and Marland House (a former British Telecom office block, which was renamed after Hills on his retirement). The "student village" on the eastern third of the campus was further expanded from the mid 1980s onwards.[2]

After Sir Graham's retirement, he was the driving force behind the establishment of the University of the Highlands and Islands. He moved to Inverness to be a full-time advisor to the nascent university. In 2004 he coauthored, with Robin Lingard, the book UHI: The Making of a University, a comprehensive account of the university's creation.

Professional posts[edit]

Professional committee work[edit]

Professional fellowships[edit]

Professional honours[edit]


  • Hills, G. J. Reference Electrodes, 1961
  • Hills, G. J., Inheritance of Michael Faraday, (University of Southampton), 1964
  • Hills, G. J., Polarography, (Macmillan), 1964
  • Hills, G. J. (ed.) Electrochemistry: A Review of Chemical Literature: vols 1-3 (Specialist Periodical Reports), (Royal Society of Chemistry), 1970, 71, 73
  • Hills, G. J., Transactions of the Faraday Society Articles (Royal Society of Chemistry) (numerous contributions on electrochemistry
  • Hills, Graham & Lingard, Robin, UHI: The Making of a University, (Dunedin Academic Press), 2004



A list of obituaries available online and accessed 3/8/2015:


  1. ^ "Hills, Sir Graham (John)". Who's Who. A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Cf. The Glasgow Story website: Accessed 2012-08-05. The information on this site was reproduced with the permission of Strathclyde University Archives.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by Principal and Vice-chancellor
University of Strathclyde

Succeeded by