"Mr. Roche, in his letter to the trustees, wrote: "Together, we have built a wonderful dream. We have proven that integrity, values and courage can still triumph in a corrupt world. Hillsdale College is a monument to those beliefs."
>>> Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> 11/11/99 09:50AM >>>
Chronicle of Higher Education - web daily - November 11, 1999
President of Hillsdale College Resigns Amid Allegations of Affair By MARTIN VAN DER WERF
Hillsdale, Mich. The president of conservative Hillsdale College, George C. Roche III, resigned under fire Wednesday, emphasizing "integrity, values and courage," even as rumors continued to swirl that an affair with his daughter-in-law had led to his undoing.
Mr. Roche's retirement was announced after the Board of Trustees met to consider his future at the college, which he has led for 28 years. He spoke to the trustees, then quickly left the campus without answering questions. His retirement letter was dated Tuesday, and was effective immediately.
The trustees, in a statement, said, "The combined pressures of his personal health and private family life make this step necessary." Mr. Roche, 64, suffers from diabetes, and was hospitalized as recently as last month. His private life has been tumultuous. In April, he divorced his wife of 44 years, June. She has cancer. In September, he remarried. His daughter-in-law, Lissa Roche, died October 17 on the college's campus here of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hillsdale police officers have interviewed Mr. Roche in connection with the shooting. The Detroit News reported Wednesday that Mr. Roche said Lissa Roche had confessed to him two days before her death that she planned to kill herself. Since her death, rumors of an affair between her and Mr. Roche have swept across this small, wooded campus in rural southern Michigan.