Hoff family creates largest-ever UMass scholarship program
LOWELL, September 19, 2007 - The University of Massachusetts today announced the creation of the largest privately financed scholarship program in its history with the receipt of a new $3 million gift from UMass Lowell alumnus and former UMass Trustee Charles J. Hoff and his wife Josephine Hoff.
[Charlie Hoff] The new gift brings the Hoffs' lifetime giving to the University to $5.5 million and, with matching funds included, creates a $10 million Charles J. Hoff Scholarship program that benefits students on all five UMass campuses.
"Charles and Josephine Hoff are making a dramatic statement about their commitment to and confidence in the University of Massachusetts. The Hoff scholarship program and endowment will stand in perpetuity and will fuel the aspirations of students and their families throughout the generations," President Jack M. Wilson said.
"The Hoff family is dedicated to providing opportunity and reducing financial barriers to education. The Hoffs take a personal interest in ensuring that students who might be overlooked receive a chance to excel," President Wilson added.
With their new $3 million gift, the Hoffs are expanding on a scholarship program that, as a result of their previous generous giving, has provided support to more than 1,000 students since 1991. Starting this academic year, these scholarships will assist 145 University of Massachusetts students each year across its five campuses. With matching funds from the campuses and the University President's office, this scholarship will have supported more than 2,500 students by the year 2017 with more than $10 million in scholarship aid, making it the largest privately initiated scholarship program in the University's history.
The new Hoff scholarship gift was announced as the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees met in Lowell.
"Charlie Hoff is a loyal alumnus, a distinguished business leader and a visionary philanthropist," said Martin T. Meehan, chancellor of UMass Lowell. "I am so proud that a UMass Lowell alumnus has made such an extremely generous gift - a gift that will have an enduring impact on this University and its students."
"I have come to know Charlie Hoff very well and am fortunate to benefit from his counsel and experience. I am impressed by his sincere interest in the life goals of each of his scholarship recipients. His commitment to Lowell and to the UMass system demonstrates a philanthropic spirit that I hope others will take to heart and emulate. We are honored to receive this gift," Chancellor Meehan added.
Charles J. Hoff scholarships are available to students who are Massachusetts residents and who demonstrate financial need as defined by federal guidelines. Recipients are required to maintain a University grade-point-average of 3.0 or better.
The largest number of scholarships is available to students of UMass Lowell, Hoff's alma mater, but the program also benefits students at the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Worcester campuses. Hoff said his family's gift was indicative of "the deep and abiding belief we have in the University of Massachusetts and in the leadership of President Jack M. Wilson and the campus Chancellors. President Wilson has put together a remarkable team."
"I am especially pleased that Marty Meehan was chosen to lead my alma mater. He is an energetic, visionary leader who will elevate UMass Lowell to new heights both academically and as an innovative economic leader in the Merrimack Valley. His passion for the well-being of the University, the city of Lowell, and the entire region is inspiring. I'm pleased that our scholarship recipients will benefit from his leadership and example," said Hoff.
"UMass Lowell shaped my life and shaped my career. The success that I have been able to enjoy is directly attributable to the education I received there. As was the case for so many students who preceded me and for those who have followed, UMass was the ticket to something better. My education gave me the tools and placed me on a path, and I am forever grateful," Hoff said. "This scholarship program will continue to benefit highly motivated students from all walks of life -- recent immigrants, minorities, students from low-income or one-parent families, physically and learning challenged students."
"We want this program to benefit students on all five campuses because the promise of the University of Massachusetts is a promise that transcends individual campuses and particular regions of the state. The University of Massachusetts is an institution where the whole truly exceeds the sum of its parts. As UMass goes, so too goes the future of the Commonwealth and the future of the nation," Hoff added.
Hoff, a 1966 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, College of Management, is a highly successful entrepreneur. He received his bachelor's degree in industrial management and later earned a master's degree from Northeastern University.
Hoff has been a senior vice president of operations for Bausch & Lomb and held senior management positions with Wang Laboratories, Polaroid, and Gillette. From 1983-86, Hoff was the president, CEO, and owner of ARL Analytical Instruments Company, which generated more than $100 million in worldwide sales. He then became the owner, chairman, and CEO of Universal/Univis, Inc., a group of designer eye-wear companies.
Hoff has been an entrepreneurial venture capitalist responsible for transforming several businesses on the verge of financial ruin into successful, profitable enterprises providing livelihoods for thousands of employees.
In 1992, Hoff received the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Distinguished Alumni Award, given annually to honor graduates for significant contributions to a field of knowledge or exemplary public service. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts from 1993 to 2002 and also served on the University of Massachusetts Foundation Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc. At the University of Massachusetts Lowell Commencement Ceremony in June of 2004, Hoff received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Robert P. Connolly