|Gift provides new opportunities for chemical engineering students|
The University of North Dakota Foundation has announced that Ann and Norman Hoffman, ’59, of Waconia, Minn., have donated more than $2 million to support UND, specifically the School of Engineering and Mines/Chemical Engineering Department. The Hoffman’s gift will establish The Ann and Norman Hoffman Chair in National Defense/Energetics within the School.
Norm Hoffman is one of UND's most successful engineering graduates. He has already served the University well through his success as an engineer, businessman and entrepreneur. By endowing a chair in the School of Engineering and Mines, Norm and Ann provide UND with a perpetual, additional benefit to all future engineering students, faculty and staff.
Norman Hoffman, a native of Mandan, N.D., graduated from UND in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Following graduation, he moved to California, where he was hired as an engineer with an aerospace company. Within months, he was promoted to manager of the chemical department, soon after becoming production manager with the company. In 1964 he did some consulting before moving to Minnesota to start his own company, Technical Ordnance, Inc. (Tek Ord). Hoffman ran the company for 40 years, serving as chair of the board and president. Today, Tek Ord remains an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of detonators and initiators used in rocket motor ignitors, rocket destruct systems components and various military safety systems. Hoffman sold Tek Ord in March 2006.
Ann Hoffman is from Stevens Point, Wis. She was a teacher in Minneapolis for many years.
“The Hoffmans’ gift to UND, and specifically the SEM, is a true testament of their dedication to the University and their interest in creating unique opportunities for students. This gift will allow the School to offer additional courses and research opportunities unique to UND. It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Tim O’Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the UND Foundation.
Energetics is a branch of science that deals with energy and its rapid release or transformation, such as in explosives, propellants, and pyrotechnics. Energetics is widely used in defense applications, and many other areas, including space exploration, counter-terrorism and public safety technologies, automotive airbags, and fireworks.
A recent Department of Defense study states “… the U.S. effort in research and development of energetic materials is small, fragmented, and suboptimal, leaving this critical national technology at risk.” They also list as a primary need “… training of replacements for the aging workforce”.
Norman Hoffman has recognized this concern and is helping to contribute to its solution through this gift. At Hoffman’s request, one of the first tasks will be to build of a repository of information on energetics. The scientific knowledge in the area is highly dispersed. Some of it exists in documents difficult to obtain, while other information is in the minds of scientists and engineers working in the field. Hoffman’s dream is to collect the existing body of knowledge to preserve it for future generations.
“There is a void in this field all across the country. Our hope is a repository will give people a place to go to learn more about the business. We had always wanted to give back to the University and we felt this was the perfect way to do so,” said Hoffman.
The Ann and Norman Hoffman Chair of National Defense/Energetics will use the expertise gained while developing this repository to develop a new research program at UND. “This will allow the School to train students in the area of energetics, providing them with fantastic job opportunities while serving a national need. This gift is an example of how the generosity of UND alumni can significantly impact the academics at UND, its students and society,” said Interim SEM Dean Michael Mann.