Phillip G. Hoffman, R.I.P.

Phillip HoffmanPhil Hoffman, inarguably one of the most important university presidents in the history of the University of Houston, died Wednesday at the age of 93. The Chron’s Lynwood Abram penned a nice article on Dr. Hoffman here.

When Dr. Hoffman took over the presidency of the University of Houston in 1961, UH was a sleepy, segregated city college of about 12,000 students. By the time Dr. Hoffman retired 16 years later, UH had become a fully-integrated university system of four campuses with an enrollment of over 30,000 students. Two years after taking over at UH, Dr. Hoffman led the legislative effort to have the university accepted into the Texas state university system.

Although the Chron’s article on Dr. Hoffman’s death notes the foregoing, the fact that UH is a far younger institution than the other two main Texas university systems — the University of Texas and Texas A&M University — is largely ignored by the Chronicle and the rest of the mainstream media. Given the far inferior resources that UH receives from the state relative to UT and A&M, UH is currently providing the best bang-for-the-higher-education-buck of the three systems. That is an impressive part of Dr. Hoffman’s formidable legacy.

A memorial service is scheduled for Dr. Hoffman at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in the Museum District, 5300 Main.

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