UMass Law receives first major private scholarship gift

UMass Lowell Alumnus Charles Hoff ('66) pledges $210,000 for UMass graduates who want to attend UMass School of Law Dartmouth. Gift adds to Hoff Scholar Program which supports more than 150 students across the five UMass campuses.

The new University of Massachusetts School of Law at the Dartmouth campus received its first major private scholarship gift on July 1, the same day that the school officially accepted a $23 million donation of  facility, land, and cash assets from the former Southern New England School of Law. 

UMass Lowell alumnus  and former UMass Trustee Charles J. Hoff ('66) made the gift of $210,000 to support UMass graduates who want to attend law school and pursue public interest-related law. The gift brings the Hoff Family's lifetime commitment to the University to more than $6 million and, with matching funds included, builds on the $10 million Charles J. Hoff Scholarship program that benefits more than 150 students on all five UMass campuses each year. The Hoff Scholarship Program is the largest privately initiated scholarship program in the University's history. 

"Once again, the Hoff Family is making a tangible and transformative investment in UMass students," said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "This donation will make it possible for 10 students per year to pursue their law school aspirations and then use their UMass Law degrees to serve their communities." 

"This gift is the latest example of the Hoff family's exemplary dedication to creating opportunity and reducing financial barriers to higher education,'' said UMass President Jack M. Wilson. "The Hoffs take a personal interest in ensuring that students who might be overlooked receive a chance to excel." 

The Hoff Scholarship Program has provided support to more than 1,000 students since 1991 and will have supported more than 2,500 students by the year 2017. 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. 

"Charles Hoff has been an extraordinarily loyal alumnus of UMass Lowell and, once again, has demonstrated that he is a visionary philanthropist with a deep commitment to helping students at all of the UMass campuses achieve their educational goals," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. "Mr. Hoff understands the value that a public law school offers to the Commonwealth and we are grateful to the entire Hoff family for their continued and unparalleled support for student scholarships." 

Hoff said this latest gift is indicative of "the value that I place on my own UMass education and my belief that UMass Law offers a wonderful opportunity for highly motivated, disadvantaged students from all walks of life to pursue their educational and professional goals.  I firmly believe that education is the key to upward mobility and quality of life, especially for individuals who hail from a modest upbringing. The establishment of UMass Law this year is another major milestone in the evolution of the Commonwealth's world class university." 

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 2008, President Wilson presented Hoff with the University's highest honor - the University of Massachusetts President's Medal. At the University of Massachusetts Lowell Commencement Ceremony in June of 2004, Hoff received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. 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. 

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