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Former dean Hofman dies at 94

| Sunday, July 12, 2015

Emil T. Hofman, a professor emeritus of chemistry and former dean of the First Year of Studies who was described as “legendary,” died Saturday, according to a University press release. He was 94.

“Emil Hofman, a legendary professor who influenced the lives of generations of students at Notre Dame, was a demanding but caring professor, a dedicated administrator and a man of faith. In many ways, he embodied the spirit of Notre Dame,” University president Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “My prayers are with his family as we both mourn his passing and celebrate his life and legacy.”

Hofman taught freshman level chemistry for 40 years, from 1950 to 1990, totaling more than 32,000 students. Hofman became the dean of what was then the Freshman Year of Studies, and helped oversee the transition to coeducation and the implementation of a comprehensive first-year curriculum that allowed students to explore their interests before choosing a major.

He was born in 1921 in Paterson, New Jersey, and served in the Air Force in World War II before using the GI Bill to finance his education at Catholic University and the University of Miami (Fla.), according to the release.

Hofman earned a master’s degree from Notre Dame in 1953 and a doctoral degree in 1963, along with an honorary degree in 1990. For nearly 20 years following his retirement in 1990, he would hold “office hours” on a bench outside the Main Building before and after daily mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, according to the release.

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