Charles J. Hoff
Charles J. Hoff spent much of his career as an entrepreneurial venture capitalist, transforming struggling businesses into successful enterprises. Hoff and his family are now in the business of transforming lives by helping hundreds of students earn a college degree through the Hoff Family Foundation.
The Hoff family has longstanding ties to Maine as summer residents of York Beach for the past 40 years. After two years of helping individual students succeed in getting their education at USM, Charles Hoff has now decided to invest in the establishment of the Charles J. Hoff Scholarship Program at the University of Southern Maine.
The Hoff Foundation’s donation of $180,000, including an endowment as well as annual award dollars, with matching funds from USM, the Hoff Scholarship Program will be able to award as many as 44, $3,000 renewable scholarships over the course of four years, beginning in 2011. Additional scholarships will be awarded as the endowed portion of the gift grows in value. Each scholarship will be renewable for at least two years as long as recipients maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. and continue to demonstrate financial need.
The scholarships are targeted to transfer students from the Maine Community College System as well as high school students entering college for the first time. Recipients must be Maine residents enrolled, or planning to enroll, full-time in a degree program. Preference will be given to graduates of York High School, Lewiston High School and transfers from York County Community College. Consideration also will be given to immigrants and refugees, students from single-parent homes and students with developmental or other learning disabilities.
“Over the years, my family and I have gotten more pleasure out of offering these scholarships than you can imagine,” said Hoff. “We’re thrilled to now be in a position to help Maine people get an education at USM.”
The family-run foundation has awarded renewable scholarships to more than 1,000 students in the University of Massachusetts System and to more than 300 at Northeastern University. Hoff is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and earned a master’s degree at Northeastern University. USM President Selma Botman, a former senior administrator at the UMass System, welcomed this opportunity to bring the Hoff Scholarship Program to USM.
“Based on my own personal experience I believe passionately that education is the key to both upward mobility and a better quality of life,” said Hoff. “I know from talking with students, the university president and others that USM is the kind of school that serves students from a diverse range of backgrounds and gives them a chance to transform their lives with an education. That’s the kind of institution and students I want to support. There are many talented, hard-working people in York County, Cumberland County and Androscoggin County who deserve to be able to get a quality education at USM.”
“This is a gift of startling generosity,” said Botman, “one that will benefit literally generations of Maine people. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Charlie and members of his family. We are proud that they have entrusted USM to deliver a transformative education to Hoff Scholars here in Maine.”
A native of Medford, Mass., Hoff began his career as an industrial engineer at Gillette. He also served as president, chief executive officer, and owner of ARL Analytical Instruments Company, and chairman, chief executive officer and owner of Universal/Univis, Inc., a group of designer eye wear companies. Hoff held senior management positions with Bausch & Lomb, Wang Laboratories and Polaroid. He is a former, longtime trustee of the University of Massachusetts, and for five years served as an overseer and trustee at Northeastern University.