Xavier Magazine

Another Reflection on Father Hoff

“Fr. Hoff was such an amazing man, and certainly he is and will remain one of my heroes. We were all so lucky to have been blessed with the generosity of spirit he showed to the Xavier community in general, but those of us who benefited from his gracious and personable manner on an individual level are doubly blessed. Fr. Hoff met with me my senior year when I very much needed to get into a certain class. I am sure most university presidents would not bother to meet with individual students, but Fr. Hoff was different. When we met he not only promised to personally see to it that I be admitted to the class, but he spent the better part of an hour talking with me, asking me about my experiences at XU, what I planned to do after graduation, and how I would apply what I’d learned to make my mark on the world. I was stunned that someone as busy as he would take so much time with one student and would show a genuine interest in my life. I am still enormously touched to think about it. While I mourn his loss, I am sure the wonderful example he set in his life (and of course his invaluable contributions to Xavier) will continue to make a positive impact on many people for years to come.” —Gillian Mace


“I am not an XU alumnus but Bob Horner, a close friend of mine who serves on the advisory board here at St. Charles Prep in Columbus, is. Bob, like most loyal and supportive XU alumni, are saddened by the loss of Father Hoff but rejoices that this remarkable man came to serve Xavier and made a significant difference doing so. What Fr. Hoff did for my friend’s alma mater can now be described as nothing short of transformational.” —Doug Stein


“Father Hoff was a truly unique person. I have never met someone who was able to brighten any day the way he could. He was an exceptional leader, who brought so much to Xavier and inspired everyone involved with the institution to take the university to so many new heights. But his personal interaction with every single person he met is what has left the biggest impact on so many who knew him. As a member of the women’s basketball team for four years, I had the pleasure of hearing from him in the locker room after so many games. His smile always lit up the room, and win or lose, the pride he exuded for us made us feel so very special. The wins and losses were, to him, secondary. To him, the people came first. That was the case for everyone in the Xavier community. He was a class act, and his kindness to all people is something I’ll never forget.” —Amy Waugh

“When I saw him in passing or sat down for a conversation with him during my years at Xavier, Father Hoff had a way of making me feel like I was the most important person in the world.  I will never forget the Spirit Celebration of my sophomore year—my friends and I were chatting with Father Hoff after the Mass, and we wound up sharing a picnic dinner together afterward. It felt like a family, all of us sitting there, sharing stories, talking and laughing. His presence put us all at ease—so humble and genuine. Over the years we experienced his kindness again and again, showing us what it meant to be men and women for others.” —Annie Sobotka

“Not many students can say they personally knew the president of the university they attended. Even fewer can say that the president of their university knew them by name. But for many that have passed through the halls at Xavier, they can actually tell their friends that they did know the president/chancellor. And we will all be able to find comfort in that because of the personalism that Fr. Hoff brought to this University. I think the most exciting memory I have of him was when he said hello to me quite often (by name) when we encountered each other in the Cintas Center because I was a student athletic trainer. It was exciting to know that the president/chancellor knew my name (my nickname at that). Student athletic trainers were the lowest end of the totem pole but he always made us feel important. That’s something you never forget…when someone of high status makes you feel important. It was a priviledge to have known him and to have him know us. Thank you, Fr. Hoff!” —Michaelyn Sebold

“Father Hoff made my journey as a non-traditonal student at Xavier easier. His friendly smile and warm conversations put me at ease. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to know him.” —Pamela Bailey

“Father Hoff was a very nice person who always was never to busy to say hello and ask about what you were doing. We all will miss him. Godbye Father Jim.”—Robert Kolbus

“I’ll never forget the first time I met Father Hoff. It was the end of August 2000. I was an incoming freshman at Xavier, and I had just started my new job at OSC. I was working at the front desk one evening, when an older gentleman walked in. He was waiting patiently for me to buzz open the door. I stared at him blankly in confusion. ‘Excuse me sir, can I please see your membership card?’ He just looked at me. He didn’t speak a word. To my luck, one of my managers buzzed open the door and flagged him to go in. She later explained to me, the man I quite obviously didn’t recognize was Father Hoff. In later years, I got to know Father Hoff a little better. After his knee surgery, he would frequent OSC often. The doctors told him water aerobics was the ideal exercise to strengthen his knees. I’m known for my tendency to be quite talkative, so it’s no surprise I would strike up a conversation with Father, whenever he dropped by the pool. I can honestly say that I’ve never met a person with such a pure, sincere heart. He was such a positive person: full of life, love, and true character. His spirit will live in the Xavier community for years to come.”—Sarah Cook

“I first met Father Hoff during the scholarship interviews as a high school senior. During my freshman year I passed him on the academic mall, and he greeted me with ‘Hello James.’ It amazed me that he knew me by name. This was emblematic of his tenure at Xavier. While his leadership was visionary and thoughtful, more importantly, it was personal, community-oriented, and life-giving.”—James Uhler

“Father Hoff was a man of tremendous faith, kindness, and generosity. His vision to strengthen and invigorate Xavier University has enriched the hearts and minds of thousands of young men and women. Although his presence will be missed, his legacy will endure and continue to shape our community ‘intellectually, spiritually, and morally’ for years to come. God bless Father Hoff. Our prayers are with his family, his friends and the countless others touched by his inspiring life.” —Steve Chabot

“I had known this man since my father passed away in 1977. He was a true leader. I will miss our talks and my family and I will miss him dearly.” —Dave Ellerbeck

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