Making a difference in the lives of students
John Hoffman joined the Haslam College of Business as an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Management in 2004. His role and dedication to the college has evolved greatly in the ensuing years.
Hoffman is now a senior lecturer teaching innovation and international business strategy. He has served as assistant department head, led study abroad trips to China and advised several Physician Executive MBA program students. He estimates that nearly 3,000 students have passed through his classroom. This academic year he returned to teaching fulltime, and he hopes to touch the lives of even more students.
“I’ve laughed with them and cried with them,” Hoffman says of past students. “I’ve cheered at their sporting competitions. I’ve attended many graduations; my voice is loud and proud to cheer them as they cross that stage.”
Hoffman remains in touch with his students sometimes years after graduation. He has welcomed them back to the classroom, advised them on career decisions and written countless letters of recommendation. He says he is proudest to see students emerge in leadership roles for companies and communities across Tennessee and the nation.
For Hoffman, the Haslam community is like an extended family. “From the first day, they reached out, welcomed me, nurtured me and helped me through good times and bad,” he says. “I knew I could count on others to pick me up when I was down, to cover for me in class when I had to be elsewhere and to always have my back. This is a family of which we can all be proud.”
That spirit of camaraderie inspired Hoffman to chair the Big Orange Family Campaign at Haslam for the past three years. He is particularly proud that his fellow faculty and staff have supported the college’s work with participation rates consistently over 90 percent. “Our students, our legislators and our communities owe a debt of gratitude to all of these donors, large and small,” he says.
Hoffman is a US Air Force veteran who worked on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. He has had a long and fruitful professional career but believes that family is “the only legacy that really matters.” He and his wife of nearly 43 years, Susan Hoffman, have resided in Knoxville since 1987. They raised two children and are now proud grandparents.
Outside the classroom Hoffman relaxes with travel, reading, a passion for sports and getting down on the floor to play with his grandchildren. Hoffman and his son, an oral surgeon at the University of Kentucky have a longstanding bet on sporting matches between UK and UT where the loser wears the winner’s colors. He was quite pleased that his son had to make his hospital rounds wearing a large orange bow tie after the recent Vol basketball victory.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets