On 17 March 2022, AAU guest lecturer James “Jimmy” Hill, M. Ed., was killed in Chernihiv, Ukraine. Jimmy visited AAU several times over the years, giving fascinating lectures on forensic psychology and crime scene investigations, including an intensive 3-day workshop for AAU students on Crime Scene Investigations, Evidence Gathering & Interrogation. In addition to his practical experience as a child welfare investigator for Child Protective Services from 1987-to 2004, Jimmy had since been teaching throughout Europe and in Ukraine for over 20 years. He last visited AAU in March 2020, days before the beginning of the pandemic, giving his last classroom lecture for nearly two years. He had just returned to teaching in Europe a few months before his death and was planning another visit to AAU.  At AAU, we remember his vibrant personality, contagious smile, gripping stories, and vivid enthusiasm for teaching. 

Jimmy, a US citizen from Washington state, was killed in Ukraine while caring for his longtime partner, Irina “Ira” Teslenko, who was in intensive care with multiple sclerosis, to whom he was deeply committed. He spoke affectionately and frequently about his partner, Ira, and his love for both her and Ukraine. Ira was unable to leave the hospital due to her condition, which would require an ambulance for transport. Jimmy refused to leave her when the invasion began in February. According to news reports, Jimmy died “when he ventured outside the hospital to find food for patients, nurses, and neighbors, as well as to find a way to communicate with loved ones abroad, the family said. While initial reports indicated he was killed while waiting in a bread line, the U.S. state department informed the family that he died from a Russian bomb near the hospital.” 

At AAU, we remember his vibrant personality, contagious smile, gripping stories, and vivid enthusiasm for teaching.

AAU honors the life and memory of Jimmy Hill, who will be remembered for his passionate commitment to building bridges across cultures and sharing his moving experiences and colorful knowledge to students from around the world, touching lives everywhere he went. 

Obituary words contributed by Carollann Braum, LL.M., J.D. Chair of Laws Programs, John H. Carey II School of Law