As managing director, Catharine (“Cappy”) Bond Hill leads Ithaka S+R’s research and consulting initiatives to broaden access to higher education, reduce costs, and improve student outcomes.
A noted economist whose work focuses on higher education affordability and access, as well as on economic development and reform in Africa, Cappy joined Ithaka S+R in September, 2016. She oversees Ithaka S+R’s program areas, working to help the higher education, library, scholarly communication, and museum communities adapt to the technological and economic context of the 21st century.
From 2006 to 2016, Cappy served as the tenth president of Vassar College. Under her leadership, Vassar reinstated need-blind admissions and replaced loans with grants in financial aid for low-income families. In 2015 the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, awarded Vassar the inaugural million-dollar prize for Equity in Educational Excellence for its efforts to expand access and support to students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. While at Vassar, Cappy also established a first-of-its-kind veterans admission partnership with the Posse Foundation, with Vassar enrolling its first eleven veterans as freshmen in 2013.
After graduating summa cum laude from Williams College, Cappy earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brasenose College, University of Oxford, with first-class honors in politics, philosophy, and economics. She completed her Ph.D. in economics at Yale in 1985. At the start of her career she worked for the World Bank and the Fiscal Analysis Division of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Prior to her Vassar presidency, she served as provost of Williams College, where she had chief academic and financial officer responsibilities. She originally joined the economics faculty at Williams in 1985. Cappy lived in the Republic of Zambia, where she was the fiscal/trade advisor and then head of the Harvard Institute for International Development’s Project on Macroeconomic Reform, working in the Ministry of Finance and with the Bank of Zambia. Cappy has received scholarly awards, grants, and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Brookings Institution, National Science Foundation, and Social Science Research Council, among other organizations. In 2011 she joined the board of Yale–NUS College, Singapore’s first liberal arts college. After previously serving on Yale Corporation’s board as an alumni fellow, she was named a successor trustee and senior trustee in 2018.