CUH Professor Commutes From Maui to be Home with His Family


Photo courtesy of Dr. Richard Hill

Dr. Richard Hill is a dedicated professor, writer, husband and father.

By Ashley Onzuka, Staff Writer

On Monday morning, Dr. Richard Hill wakes up at 5 a.m. in his home on Maui to hop on an early flight to Oahu. From the airport to Chaminade via two bus rides, he arrives to campus around 9:30 a.m. After his last class, which finishes at 3:20 p.m., he takes two bus rides back to the airport and hops on a plane back to Maui, arriving just in time to tuck his two young sons to bed at 7 p.m. On Wednesday morning, he repeats the same routine. Hill endures this inter-island commute twice a week, for an entire semester and the entire academic year.

“Every day I go back … I got young kids and they need their dad around,” Hill said.

Although living on Maui and teaching on Oahu seems a bit strange, this is the weekly commute Hill takes every Monday and Wednesday. Between teaching classes at Chaminade University and in the process of publishing his third book, a little air travel never stops him from doing what he needs to do, being home for his family every night. 

“Dr. Hill is an excellent professor, a wonderful teacher and a noted scholar,” said Dr. Cheryl Edelson, a professor of English at Chaminade University. “We are fortunate to have him in the English program at Chaminade University.”

Born in Nottingham, England, and raised in Derbyshire, a county in the midlands of England, Hill has made quite the journey to Hawaii. When asked what made him take the big leap to move to the other side of the world, Hill replied with, “I met a Maui girl in Scotland.” He explained the cliche of their love story as she was in Scotland as an exchange student while he was a student host. Fast-forward five years of dating, four of those years being long-distance, and they were married. This, led him to pack his bags and move to Hawaii.

Before becoming an English professor at Chaminade University in 2014, Hill, living in Maui at the time, taught at the University of Maui College for four years. However, his wife, who graduated from law school, landed a job in Oahu.

She was doing the commute. And then after a while, we thought that was silly,” said Hill.

To avoid the “silly” commute, Hill and his family moved to Oahu.

“I actually left the Maui college with nothing to go to … fortunately a job opened up at Chaminade, and I was lucky enough to get it. I’ve been here ever since. But then we moved back to Maui,” said Hill.

His wife landed a job in Maui, but Hill decided to stay at Chaminade and commute to Oahu every week for work. As a father of two young boys, ages 3 and 5, one of Hill’s main priority is to get home every night.

Hill has been diagnosed with a genetic mutation causing him to be highly susceptible to melanoma skin cancer and obliged to be cautious for the rest of his life. Since the diagnosis, Hill has had a total of seven primary melanomas diagnosed and removed. He pointed out that it’s important to him to make sure his classes continue to progress throughout the semester especially when he has to take leave for surgical procedures.

“I have caught everything early … I’ve learned to live life well when times are good, which is often. … Chaminade has been very supportive of me and understanding of my situation, which has helped me to deal with the difficult challenges,” said Hill.

Between commuting from Maui to work twice a week, teaching, writing, maintaining his health, and raising two boys, Hill never questions his priorities of being a father and a husband first.

“Try and understand that you need to work really hard, and that life is going to throw sometimes horrible things at you. But to recognize when things are good. To recognize when you’re happy. Because I actually don’t think we’re good at that, as a culture and probably a species. And if you are having a good day or it is a good period of life despite some bad things, you should embrace the good side rather than the bad.”