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Bruce '69 & Suzanne Hoffman

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Making an Impact at Clarkson
Spring 2016

When Bruce Hoffman ’69 began his college search as a teenager in Albany, he was interested in engineering so he could build things. He earned the money for his college tuition working in his family’s construction business. He wanted to attend a college with a good engineering program, and applied to several, but was most attracted to Clarkson, and Clarkson saw potential in him recognizing his work ethic and determination in the form of financial aid.

During his years at Clarkson, Bruce both struggled and triumphed in the Department of Civil Engineering. He worked his way onto the Dean’s List, and his time at Clarkson inspired both of his younger brothers to also pursue a Clarkson degree, one in Civil Engineering and the other in Industrial Distribution. In fact, according to the Clarkson Mosaic, they are the first family to have three siblings on campus at the same time. It was during these years of aggressive studying, joining a fraternity and entertaining job opportunities that he met his wife Suzanne, a SUNY Potsdam graduate and Massena native.

Together, Bruce and Suzanne enjoyed long careers. Bruce worked on many building projects, working first for the New York State Facilities Development Corporation.  As he managed projects all over the state he made many contacts and was recruited to Maryland to head up the Maryland Stadium Authority, overseeing multiple projects for several sports facilities in the area, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the Baltimore Orioles and M&T Bank stadium for the Baltimore Ravens. Because of his outstanding work with the Stadium Authority, he was recruited by Gilbane Building Company, from which he eventually retired after rising to the position of Senior Vice President. Suzanne also saw success after graduating from SUNY Potsdam as she went on to become a French teacher, and then worked extensively in Human Resources, spending time at The New York State Governor’s Office of Employee Relations and Liberty Medical Center in Baltimore. She retired from Comcast in Baltimore as Sr. Vice President for Human Resources for the Maryland/Delaware Region.

Bruce realizes that much of his success and immediate job offers were due to the work ethic and experience that he gained while at Clarkson. During his senior year, he had over 15 job interviews and job offers. “Kids today would kill for that,” he reflects, thinking back to all of his initial job offers. And he’s the first to admit that he wasn’t the best student- it took grit and determination to do well on campus. And that’s a legacy that Bruce and Suzanne would like to build on.

In addition to their annual giving to the Clarkson Fund and matching gifts from the Gilbane Building Company, they began to seriously think about a larger gift in the form of a scholarship endowment just two years ago. After realizing that they would be able to live comfortably in retirement while also leaving assets to family members, it made sense for the two to begin planning for a gift to Clarkson. In a matter of six months, with the help of their own legal counsel and a philanthropic advisor at the Annie Clarkson Society, the couple created a living trust that covered both their interest in passing portions of their estate to family, and to Clarkson.

So why a scholarship endowment? Bruce has a vision that future generations of Clarkson University graduates will be just as ambitious as previous generations. He knows the endowment will support students who are “willing to succeed, but maybe don’t have enough money to make it through college.” The same way that Bruce fondly reflects on his own hard work and the support he received, his gift will support others just as dedicated and just as determined.

“The process of planning for Clarkson was simple, it couldn’t have been easier,” says Bruce. The creation of a bequest made sense with Bruce and Suzanne’s retirement timeline, and all of the documentation for the intent of the endowment ensures that their philanthropic wishes will be fulfilled.

Planning Their Giving

  • Annual giving - Bruce and Suzanne’s annual gifts to the Clarkson Fund help students and areas of greatest need each year. Before retirement, Bruce used his employer’s matching gift program to increase his annual gifts.
  • Estate giving - Bruce and Suzanne’s bequest will come from a living trust. Gifting certain assets to Clarkson and passing other assets to heirs may help save income tax for those heirs. The bequest will create a scholarship endowment. Guidelines for the endowment already exist and are documented both at Clarkson and in the bequest.