Fiona Hill, Trump’s New Russia Expert, Went to Harvard

Hill met her future husband at Cabot House.

Amidst growing tension between Russia and the United States, President Donald Trump has reportedly tapped preeminent Kremlinologist and Harvard alum Fiona Hill as his chief Russian adviser on the National Security Council.

Hill, a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen and director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe, is a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2012, Hill co-authored Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, an influential psychoanalysis of Putin. She has also served as the National Intelligence Council’s Russia expert.

The daughter of a nurse and a coal miner, Hill attended University of St. Andrews on a scholarship and interned at NBC’s Today Show. She was fixing coffee for Maria Shriver when she struck up a conversation with an American professor, who helped land her a scholarship at Harvard. There, Hill earned both her master’s degree in Soviet studies 1991 and her PhD in 1998—and met her future husband at Cabot House.

“Absolutely everything I’ve done—my research, my training, my book—was made possible due to Harvard opening doors and providing me with connections,” Hill said in 2014.

Hill is the latest addition to the Trump administration with Cantabrigian roots. Homeland Security chief Mike Pompeo, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, transportation secretary Elaine Chao, labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta, and senior advisers Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner all attended Harvard University. Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, attended Harvard Law.