UM Alumnus establishes fund

By Derrick Perkins

University of Massachusetts students from across all five campuses may soon become the receipts of the largest privately-financed scholarship in University history.

Charles J. Hoff, an alumnus of UMass Lowell, announced his most recent donation of $3 million towards the scholarship program in his name during yesterday’s Board of Trustees meeting in Lowell.

“The Hoff family is dedicated to providing opportunity and reducing financial barriers to education,” said UMass President Jack Wilson. “The Hoffs take a personal interest in ensuring that students who might be overlooked receive a chance to excel.”

Sixty of the scholarships are to be given to the Lowell campus, with another 30 going to Boston and Dartmouth. The Amherst campus will receive 15 of the scholarships and the UMass medical school in Worcester only 10. Though the largest number of scholarship receipts will come from the Lowell campus, students at Amherst and the other three campuses can expect to receive some benefits as well, according to Hoff.

“We want this program to benefit students across all five campuses because the promise of the University of Massachusetts is a promise that transcends individual campuses and particular regions of the state,” Hoff said. “As UMass goes, so too goes the future of the Commonwealth and the future of the nation.”

Hoff undertook funding his scholarship program in 1991 with an initial contribution of $2.5 million which supported 1,000 students over the last 16 years, according to the Lowell Sun. With the additional $3 million, starting this year the scholarship will fund 145 UMass students annually across the five campuses. With matching funds from the individual campuses and the University Presidents office, a total of 2,500 students will have been financially supported by 2017.

“Charles and Josephine Hoff are making a dramatic statement about their commitment to and confidence in the University of Massachusetts,” Wilson said. “The Hoff scholarship program and endowment will stand in perpetuity and will fuel the aspirations of students and their families throughout the generations.”

Only Massachusetts residents are eligible for the scholarship. Students are also required to demonstrate financial needs, as outlined by federal guidelines, to receive the benefits. Scholarship recipients are expected to maintain a grade-point-average of 3.0 or better in order to expect continued support from the program.

Hoff graduated from the UMass Lowell College of Management in 1966 with a degree in industrial management. Throughout his career Hoff has held senior positions with national corporations like Polaroid and Gillette. He served as a member of the UMass Board of Trustees until 2002.

“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.”

Derrick Perkins is a Collegian editor. He can be reached at [email protected]