Donor withholds $4.5 million from Chicago school until former terrorist prof. is fired

Kilgore is a former domestic terrorist and convicted murderer.

Hill resigned as fundraising board member, but says he will gladly give the school his money if Kilgore is fired.

Chicago businessman Richard Hill is rescinding $4.5 million in donations to the University of Illinois at Chicago after the Urbana-Champaign campus renewed James Kilgore’s contract.

A Chicago businessman is withholding $4.5 million in donations from the University of Illinois (UI) Urbana-Champaign until the school agrees to get rid of former domestic terrorist and convicted murderer James Kilgore.

Richard Hill, the retired CEO of Novellus Systems, wrote a letter to Ul at Chicago administrators notifying them of his intent to rescind his pledge to donate $6.5 million to the school’s bioengineering department, according to The Chicago Tribune. Hill has already donated $2 million dollars of that money, but is refusing to cash in the other $4.5 million until the school agrees to fire Kilgore.

"I no longer wish to be associated with University of Illinois," Hill wrote to in a letter to UI, following the board’s decision. "The Academy at the University of Illinois has clearly lost its moral compass."

As Campus Reform previously reported, the university announced they would be renewing Kilgore’s contract in November after initially dropping him from his adjunct faculty position, due to controversy over his employment.

A group calling itself “Friends of Kilgore” circulated a petition demanding his reinstatement, which gathered a total of 1,000 signatures from fellow UI faculty and others, leading UI’s Board of Trustees to renegotiate his contract.

"I will not contribute neither time nor money to such a morally debased enterprise," said Hill. "If they stand up and police their own organization to assure they are of the highest standards, I will stand with them till my dying days."

The school’s Richard and Loan Hill Department of Bioengineering is named after Hill. In total, the retired CEO has given or promised an estimated $8.8 million dollars to the department, according to The Chicago Tribune. Following the board’s decision to reinstate Kilgore, Hill resigned from his board position as fundraising coordinator.

Kilgore was a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left-wing revolutionary group responsible for the kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst and the 1975 bank robbery that resulted in the death of Myrna Opsahl, a mother of four.

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