Kermit Hall, President of SUNY-Albany, Dies in Swimming Accident

August 14, 2006

Kermit L. Hall, president of the State University of New York at Albany, died on Sunday in a swimming accident near his vacation home in Hilton Head, S.C. He was 61 years old.

Mr. Hall and his wife, Phyllis, were rescued about 100 yards from shore about 2:20 p.m., and he died shortly afterward at a hospital. Mrs. Hall’s conditions was not yet known, according to a report this morning in the Times Union, a newspaper in Albany.

Mr. Hall, who became SUNY-Albany’s president in February 2005, “was a distinguished scholar and mentor to students and faculty alike,” the university system’s chancellor, John R. Ryan, said in a written statement. “The state university has lost a colleague of vision, integrity and dynamism,” Mr. Ryan said.

Before his appointment at Albany, Mr. Hall was president and a history professor at Utah State University for four years, according to a biography on SUNY-Albany’s Web site. He had previously served as provost and vice chancellor of North Carolina State University for two years, and held academic and administrative posts at Ohio State University, the University of Tulsa, the University of Florida, Wayne State University, and Vanderbilt University.

An expert on judicial organization, Mr. Hall wrote extensively on the development of both American federal and state courts and judiciaries. His most recent book, with Kevin T. McGuire, The Judicial Branch, was published by Oxford University Press last year. He also wrote five other books, and edited more than 20 others.