George J. Hill, M.D., M.A., D.Litt.,
GEORGE J. HILL, M.D., M.A., D.Litt., is Professor of Surgery Emeritus at the New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University. A fifth-generation Iowan, he was born in Cedar Rapids and graduated from high school in Sac City, where he became an Eagle Scout and received the Bausch and Lomb Science Award, the National Thespian Award, and was a member of the Iowa State prize-winning percussion ensemble and two-mile relay team. He was placed on his high school’s Honor Roll of Graduates.
He attended Yale College, where he graduated with High Honors in history, and Harvard Medical School, on scholarships, while working part-time at many jobs: as a ranch hand, cub reporter, salesman, lab tech, and science teacher at a junior college. He then began a 40-year career as a surgeon, scientist, and medical school professor. He wrote prize-winning books and papers on subjects as diverse as leprosy, malaria, toxicology, public health, cancer, and surgery. He served as chairman of advisory panels for the U.S. government, many professional societies, the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and the Y.M.C.A. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, the American College of Surgeons, and the Explorers Club.
After retiring from surgery and oncology, he continued to work as a historian, author, genealogist, and popular lecturer. He has also traveled with his wife and family to more than 50 countries and they have trekked on all seven continents.
He has had a simultaneous career in U.S. military service, beginning in 1950, when he volunteered for the U.S. Marine Corps. He became a military parachutist, and he retired as a Navy Reserve Medical Corps captain in 1992, having been on active duty in four wars: the Korean War; the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Cold War; the Viet Nam War; and the First Gulf War. His Reserve service included duty in the Navy Command Center at the Pentagon, as Chief of the Contingency Planning Branch of U.S. Navy Medicine. His many awards and decorations include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Gorgas Medal, the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, the Outstanding Service Medal of the Uniformed Services University; and as a civilian, the St. George Medal of the American Cancer Society and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
In 2006, he was invited to give the keynote address for the annual Navy Birthday celebration at the National Reconnaissance Office. He spoke to the NRO about the fictional Doctor Stephen Maturin in Patrick O’Brian’s novels about Jack Aubrey and warfare at sea at the end of the eighteenth century. The title of his lecture was “Master and Commander, Surgeon and Spy.” His book, Proceed to Peshawar, won a Finalist’s Medal at the Indie Book Awards festival in 2015.