From Here to Eternity
On March 1, 1991, James E. Hoff, S.J., walked into his office in the former University Center, and the weight of a university in need fell on his shoulders. It was Day One of his tenure as Xavier’s 33rd Jesuit president.
His office window overlooked campus and offered a clear view of the challenges before him. Ledgewood Drive and Herald Avenue cut through the heart of the University, splitting it into sections. Three of the oldest and most historic buildings were in deplorable condition, not having been updated in 70 years. The endowment that would allow for improvements was dangerously low—just a fraction of the annual budget.
Hoff, however, didn’t see despair. He saw hope. He was able to envision a University few could fathom, and in his inaugural address he went so far as to say he wanted nothing less than “everything” for the University. For nine years, he worked to make everything a reality. And by the time he retired on Dec. 31, 2000, the University was hardly recognizable to those who stood alongside of him back in the spring of 1991.
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