Presidential candidate named as distinguished alumni recipient here
From athletics to academics, the time spent in the Williamsport Area School District was an unforgettable and life-forming experience for Dr. Samuel B. Hoff, who is set to receive the district’s second Distinguished Alumni Award in October.
After graduating from Williamsport Area High School in 1975, Hoff went on to earn his bachelors degree in political science. He received his doctorate in political science from State University of New York Stony Brook in 1987 and is a professor at Delaware State University.
But Hoff said the lessons he learned while attending school in Williamsport made a deep impact on his life.
When speaking of his time in the district, Hoff remembered learning to love reading after his fourth-grade teacher read the class “Charlotte’s Web.” He also mentioned how his best friend needed to tutor him in chemistry. And then there was the trip to Germany he took as a senior with the school’s German Honor Society.
Hoff still credits that trip – one in which he visited the grave of his hero, Gen. George Patton – with his continued love of traveling.
But now working in education Hoff has taken the same energy that he enjoyed about his teachers and put it into his own teachings. There is no better example of this than an exercise he performs every four years – running for president of the United States.
Hoff explained that the idea came about when he decided instead of simply lecturing his class about the process of filing to run for president, he would show them. He has done that each election since 1988.
“That was one of the rationales for originally doing it at a time when I wasn’t even 35, to show them the easy, and still rather easy, process of running for president,” Hoff said.
Hoff only has one practice he does each election.
“I give (wife Phyllis) a dollar at the end of each of these runs for being my treasurer,” Hoff said.
And after running for commander in chief in the past seven elections, many have asked him why he’s qualified to lead the country. Hoff replies that it’s his academic background, practical experience – which includes serving three posts in Congress – and his “common-sense touch,” which he said he received from working in his father’s plumbing warehouse as a kid.
“Plumbers know as much about politics as the pundits do,” Hoff joked.
When asked what growing up in the area meant to him, Hoff said he always enjoyed the “all-American character of Williamsport.”
“You can take the kid out of Williamsport but you can’t take Williamsport out of the kid ,and I always say that. If you grew up in Williamsport and didn’t play Little League or hunt, there was something wrong with you,” he said.
Hoff still is a supporter of public education. His brother, Matt, and sister, Gretchen, who both nominated Hoff for the award, also went to Williamsport and have gone on to have successful careers.
“The evidence is clear, the evidence is there, that public education, while being attacked, does things right. And I think our family can attest to that,” he said.
Hoff will be presented with the award before Williamsport’s homecoming football game at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18 at Millionaire Stadium.