Lending a Helping Hand

When Tom Hofmann, BE73, reengaged with the University of Delaware 35 years after graduating, the successful accountant and former CFO of Sunoco knew he wanted to help today’s students who didn’t have the advantages he did – the first-generation students, the underrepresented and those who need a helping hand.

“I was really looking to help a program like NUCLEUS because it helps first-generation students,” Hofmann said. “I have sons, and I look at them and their friends, and I see the support they have, particularly relating to education and professional opportunities. So many kids don’t have the same advantages, but they are talented and have worked hard to get into the University. They just need support and opportunities to succeed.”


In 2012, Hofmann established the Ethel and Donald Hofmann Research Fund to Support NUCLEUS. Named for his parents, the gift helps fund the program in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), offering academic support services and professional development to all CAS students, but largely to underrepresented students.


Just as the fund has been beneficial to students, it has been rewarding for Hofmann as well. He has taken time to meet with Hofmann Scholars over the years and learn about the projects and programs. He is impressed by the scope of the projects and work done by the students.


“It’s been great getting to know some of the Hofmann Scholars, and I love learning about how involved they are in so many aspects of campus life,” Hofmann says. “In addition to their academic focus, they are making time to engage in a number of worthwhile education and social programs. Given how well they are doing, I’m just glad I’m not competing against them.”


Hofmann’s motivation for supporting NUCLEUS is two-fold, but it comes back to the students.


“I support NUCLEUS to support the kids and the University,” Hofmann said. “The University has come so far since my time there, and I want to continue to support it to make it an even better and more successful institution. But, most importantly, we need to support the first-generation students and help them excel. They are our future.”

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