Dr. Marvin Hoffman, 100, Encourages BU Doctors to Give Generously
Dr. Marvin Hoffman (CAMED'47) owes his medical degree to Boston University-as well as his 60-year career, his marriage, and the golden opportunity to see the Red Sox, the 1946 American League Champions, play at Fenway Park.
In gratitude for his education and his livelihood, he has made a qualified charitable distribution from his IRA to endow the Marvin J. Hoffman MD'47 and Nancy Yanes Hoffman Scholarship Fund, which will provide tuition support to medical students. And besides being a generous gift to BU, it's a present to himself for a milestone birthday: Hoffman turns 100 in December.
He received a scholarship of sorts to attend medical school, because the US military paid his tuition. He enrolled in 1943 knowing he would serve in the Army after completing his medical training. "I took my last exam at the University of Rochester, and the next day I went to Buffalo, took a physical, and was given a uniform," Hoffman said. "I went to Camp Upton [an Army induction center] in Long Island for 10 days. And then I went to BU in uniform."
That uniform provided a splendid benefit to its wearer: free admission to Fenway Park. Hoffman, who lived a block from the stadium, remembers cheering legendary Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams.
While in medical school, Hoffman was smitten by Nancy Yanes, a Connecticut College of Women (now Connecticut College) student he met at a dance one January. He immediately sent her a Valentine's Day card and suggested getting together when she was back in Boston. "She said she'd be in town on March 8, and we went to dinner, and that was the beginning of the end," Hoffman says, laughing. Nancy Hoffman was an author and longtime English professor at St. John Fisher University in Rochester. The couple wed in 1948 and were married for 68 years, until her death in 2016.
After graduating in 1947 from what was then the Boston University School of Medicine and Dentistry, Hoffman completed his internship and residency in his hometown of Rochester, New York. He began his internal medicine practice there in 1951 and also taught internal medicine as a full professor, now emeritus, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
Drafted for the Korean War, he served as sole medical officer of the US Army's 24th Division and became chief of the US Army base hospital in Otsu, Japan. When he returned, he settled in Rochester, where he and his wife raised their family. Hoffman became the senior medical director at Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rochester and helped establish its first HMO, Blue Choice. He retired in 2008 at age 85.
Medical careers run in the family. The Hoffmans' son, William Hoffman, MD, is the chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University of California, San Francisco. Three of Dr. Hoffman's eight grandchildren are doctors-including Rachel Hirshorn (CAMED'20), who is now a GI/Hepatology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hoffman hopes the BU scholarship fund he endowed will ease the heavy financial burden most medical students carry, and he urges other alumni to support similar causes. "The main reason for giving money was that I had money to give," he says with a chuckle. "Do I have advice for people who want to make a gift to BU? I think it's a great thing to do, and if you're able to do it, you should do it. The medical school where you went is as good as any other place, because it's the one that gave you your life."