The Annual Emil T. Hofman Lecture

Author: George West


Emil T. Hofman

When Notre Dame students, Faculty, staff and visitors walk towards the Dome, they are often met by a special man. No matter the day of the week, this man sits on the same bench on a diagonal path on “God Quad”, just under the Dome. Some may think his daily presence makes him a fixture at Notre Dame. However, those who know this man personally recognize he is part of the fabric of Notre Dame. Emil T. Hoffman is one of Notre Dame’s most famed professors. He began teaching Chemistry at Notre Dame in 1950. Throughout his tenure, Hoffman was recognized with the Thomas P. Madden Award for excellence in teaching freshmen, the Presidential Service Citation, the Father Shilts Award for teaching science, and the Professor of the Year award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Additionally, this renowned professor has a scholarship fund, lecture series, teaching award and endowed chair named after him. Hoffman is one of 20 people who were selected to appear on the Wall of Honor in Main Building, which recognizes individuals who have made lasting, pervasive and profound contributions to Notre Dame. He is joined on the wall of honorees by University founder Father Edward Sorin, Coach Knute Rockne, and Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Hofman’s teaching style and prowess are one part of why he is in this select group. In 40 years of teaching, he missed only one class for personal reasons (food poisoning in the early 1960s). But Hofman’s legacy only starts with his teaching. His story is one of wrestling with the issues that have defined the University’s history in the second half of the 20th century: creating a more diverse student body, finding the proper balance between teaching and research, expanding into a national university with a high rate of retention, devoted alumni, huge endowment, and international reach. Ultimately, the mystery of Hofman’s popularity, despite being strict and demanding, is unlocked by his role as a surrogate.

Emil T. Hofman Lecture

Many Domers celebrate their admiration for Emil T. Hofman — legendary chemistry professor, mentor to many, and dean emeritus of the First Year of Studies — by visiting with him in person on campus and/or attending the annual Emil T. Hofman Lecture held in his honor on a Game Day. This year Mark Walsh will be presenting:

“Dr. Hofman’s Chemistry Student to His Wing Man: Clinician, Teacher, Researcher: Taking the Unbeaten Path”

Time: 11:00 am

Location: Raclin – Carmichael Auditorium, IU School of Medicine
1234 Notre Dame Avenue

Be sure to check this weekend’s schedule of events for more details.

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