Reflections by Xavier's administration and board of trustees

Reflections by Xavier's administrators and board of trustees | July 23, 2004

Michael J. Graham, S.J.
Xavier University

“Jim Hoff is so loved and admired in the Xavier community that the depth of our sadness is beyond words. On a personal level, he was my mentor, unselfishly sharing his wisdom and preparing me for my role to succeed him as president. Jim raised the bar at Xavier and set a tone that pushed the University, and all of us associated with it, to dream big and strive to be better. He set the example, academically, spiritually, athletically, in every way, of how to do things right and we will continue to follow his example."

Michael J. Conaton ’55, ’95
Chairman of the Board
Vice Chairman
The Midland Co.

“He exemplified the Ignatian principles. He truly was a person for others, a dear, caring man. I hired him when I was chair in 1991. We had a tremendous chemistry. He was like a brother. He’ll be remembered as one of the most caring people I’ve every known. He was very special. This University was always very strong, and when he arrived it picked up 100 degrees. I think it was his own personality. He cared for students so much. He mentored Mike Graham, who’s taking this thing to a whole new level. He woke us all up and brought new life to the community of Cincinnati. Jim was a wake-up call. He said, 'Let’s get our act together and be who we were meant to be.' He had an influence on students, he energized the faculty and brought us closer in to the community. That was just the tip of the iceberg.”

Robert J. Kohlhepp ’71
Vice Chairman
Cintas Corp.

“The word that comes to mind, when I think about it, is profound. I think the impact he had on Xavier was truly profound. He led a renaissance at Xavier that transformed the University, and the tremendous progress he made at Xavier and the foundation he laid for the future will benefit Xavier for many decades to come. The physical improvements are the things you see, but in addition he created an environment that is much needed in so many universities. He summed up that he considered the students the customer, and so many universities don’t understand that. I think he had a vision for what he wanted Xavier to be, he repeated it over and over. And he made a significant impact on making that vision a reality and one that Father Graham is carrying on. Personally he was the kind of person that if you spent a couple of hours with him and never met him before, you’d feel like you knew him all your life. He had a magnetic personality, he cared about people and the students at Xavier and was the kind of person who, well, he was one of my closest friends and yet I only knew him 14 years. I told him Monday there’s a lot of people at Xavier who loved the man. I think he died knowing that."

Joseph A. Pichler
The Kroger Co.

“He was first and foremost a wonderful representative of God on earth and a wonderful counselor to human hearts and souls. It so happened he was also a great administrator and had a vision of Xavier. He also had the great ability to draw others to that vision and to work it through and engage us in bringing that vision to reality so it didn’t remain just a dream unfulfilled. One of his great capabilities was he listened and would draw the best from you and adjust his own thinking and ideas. He was somebody who had a vision and made Xavier a more visible part of the community, improving its physical facilities by magnitudes and bringing it more into the center of the city’s understanding. He had a terrific impact on people throughout the community in decision-making positions and who counted on him for advice. And finally he was a great personal friend and counselor, and he could express himself. His love was genuine, he really did love people and engage them and value them and so had thousands of best friends. It’s a great loss, but he also showed us how to die. I was with him 10 days ago to comfort him, and he comforted me by his spiritual strength and faith.”

John P. Schlegel, S.J.
Creighton University

"Jim Hoff was a mentor and a friend. He served Creighton and Xavier
University with distinction. He was a splendid Jesuit and priest.” To pay tribute to his friend and fellow Jesuit, Fr. Schlegel has established the Rev. James E. Hoff Magis Scholarship.

Roger Fortin
Xavier University

"I'm about to complete the history of the University, and in terms of leadership he and Paul O'Connor are the two presidents who have done the most during the past 75 years in transforming Xavier into the highly respected academic institution that it is. In my judgment, Jim Hoff's vision and passionate commitment to the University's mission and the foundation that he has provided for us may ultimately prove to be the most influential in the history of the University."

James W. Duff ’62
Retired president and CEO
CoreSource Inc.

“I am personally devastated to lose a friend. He was a very down-to-earth character who loved the people around him and was as good a leader as I’ve met in my entire life. I’ve never met anyone who could create such a genuine loyalty to him or to what he stood for. It was difficult, once you sat down with him, to say no to him. He found a way to get people involved and make them feel and understand it was an incredibly worthwhile undertaking to work with him on behalf of Xavier. I found that quality in him extremely unique. And he did it very quietly and genuinely. He had a significant vision for Xavier, and that vision was formed by listening to the people around him and then adding his own charismatic approach. He put us in the position so that Father Graham and others can lead us into the future.”