Remembering the Life of Father George Hill

Compiled by ANTHONY CAPOTEEditor, MELISSA GALLARDO, Staff Writer & KYLEIGH PANETTA, Asst. Editor

Reverend George Hill, Manhattan College’s chaplain for almost decade, passed away last week, after a long battle with cancer. Hill died in hospice care of kidney failure due to his treatment, he was 73. Before coming to MC, Hill had a long and fruitful service as a priest.  He worked at St. Bernard’s parish in Greenwich Village and the Bailey House in Harlem, offering counseling to those suffering from HIV and AIDS. He also lived and served from some time in Piffard, New York, at the Abbey of the Genesee where, for almost 10 years, he observed a strict vow of silence. In his experiences there, Hill learned the value of meditation, a facet of Christian faith he tried to pass on to students the College during his weekly meditations in Horan Hall.

Hill was widely loved at Manhattan College and, in keeping with his own policy of living with and among those he served, The Quadrangle has published a series of comments and quotes students had to say about him and his passing.

Manhattan College/Courtesy

“Father Hill was a terrific man who loved everyone at Manhattan, not just the student athlete’s. He was the spiritual leader of the Golf team and the players loved him. It’s difficult to find a person who truly loved what he did, dealing with the Manhattan College community and helping everyone that he could. I have only known Father Hill for the year that I have been at Manhattan, but I feel like I knew him my whole life. We’ll miss him.”

– Frank Darby, Golf Team Head Coach

“George reminded me everyday the importance of approaching every person and interaction with a full heart of kindness. Through a long illness, George never stopped meeting every student, colleague, and alum with a heart of love and kindness.”

– Conor Reidy, Campus Minister

“Father Hill was one of the first people I met on this campus and he’s really had a huge impact on my life and the guidance he gave to people was also my motivation of helping others as well. He was a big role-model for me.”

– Dorian Persuad, Student Body President

“Father Hill was an amazing man who always made me feel like I matter, which is so uplifting. It creates a domino effect. When you feel like you matter, you want to make others feel like they matter, and Father Hill really created that kind of environment on campus.”

– Katie Smolko, MC ‘16

“Father George taught me so very much about compassion, pursuing your dreams, and being a beacon of light for those in darkness. He cared very deeply about the needs of our students and advocated for them tirelessly. There are so many students, some of which I never knew about until this week, that he connected with on a deeply genuine level. For some he changed their lives, for others he was simply a warm smile as they passed by.  I will miss his quick wit and humor and our long lunch chats about life. He was a treasure that this campus community was so lucky to have found 9 years ago.”

– Jenn Edwards Robinson, Assistant Director for Campus Ministry and Social Action

“I will never forget the night that Father Hill told me he was ill. About a year ago, after he sweetly dedicated the first mass to my father, we were standing on the altar together and he said to me, “I have cancer too, you know.” I was heartbroken to find this out and as my sadness came across my face he simply chuckled at me. He was so calm about it. He told me that everything was going to be OK, instead of me telling him. He was a man who accepted every single thing that came his way, and with such grace. In the two years of working with him and having the gift of knowing him, I don’t think I ever saw him frown. Father Hill always announced his phone number at the first mass of each year. He made us take out our phones or write it down, in case we ever needed anything or just wanted to talk. I never took advantage of that. He did, however, convince me to become a Sacristan. The first time we spoke outside of work, he was the one to text me. He went out of his way to find my phone number and make sure that I was OK after a difficult period in my life. It takes a special kind of person to do that. He was gentle and compassionate, but so much more than that. He looked after me as if I was a dear friend or a family member.  I just hope he knew of the impact he had on every single life he touched, including mine.”

– Melanie O’Connor, Sacristan

Manhattan College/Courtesy



“From the moment he stepped foot on campus he just fit in perfectly. He was always very open to every student and was a member of the community. His spirit is going to continue to guide us.”

– Brother Robert Berger

“A few years back, before he got sick, Fr. George and I would regularly have coffee in the morning in the old Dante’s Den and we’d talk about everything – work, faith, life – and we’d talk to people on their way to and from breakfast.  A couple of years ago, we continued those great talks on the car rides to and from doctor visits and chemotherapy sessions. I loved to discuss scripture with him.  He always had a way of genuinely, faithfully unfolding deeper and deeper meaning.  We could talk about things that really matter, about meaning and purpose.  George was my friend and I’ll miss him.”

– Lois Harr, Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Director for Campus Ministry & Social Action

“Last night after we heard the news, we sat on the subway and talked about Father Hill. We talked about everything that he has done to make us cry, laugh, think, feel and believe. We talked about his stories, his jokes, and his meditations. We talked about him, standing outside the church doors, smiling, his arms outstretched for a hug shouting “My friends! You’re here!”

– Annie Doerr, James Daly and Rory Murtagh, Sacristans

“I asked him why he didn’t retire when things were getting worse and he basically told me it was because he loved what he was doing and he didn’t want to stop.  That kind of speaks to who he was anyhow he cared about this campus more than his own self.”

– Pat Hill, nephew and student at MC

“During my first mass at Manhattan College as a freshman, I instantly noticed Father Hill’s connection to the student body when he told everyone to take out their cell phones to put in his phone number during the homily.  It is now two years later, and I have been a sacristan in Campus Ministry, which has been the most meaningful experience during my time at Manhattan College.  All thanks to you, Father Hill.  This compassionate man has not only helped me put my faith back on track, but has impacted my own mindset about life in such strong way.  Father Hill’s ability to keep a smile on his face no matter what the struggle or challenge he was facing still amazes me to this day.  During the worst of times, there he was, going about his routine, in full belief that God had it all under control. In May, I helped organize Relay for Life, a cancer awareness fundraiser, and I chose Father Hill to be an honorary member.  He was more than happy to share his story and his battle with cancer.  At that moment, I realized Father Hill was one of the strongest people I knew. Although we may not see Father saying homilies at mass or greeting the students in Lockes, we need to keep his positive mindset and sense of peace alive at Manhattan College.  Every Sunday spent with him was an absolute blessing.  I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for Manhattan College.  Every time I set foot into the chapel, I will always think of Father Hill and hope he is smiling down on us in heaven.”

– Jaclyn Marchetta, Sacristan

Rev. George H. Hill