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June 12, 2003

OBITUARY: Carol Ann Hoffmann

Carol Ann Hoffmann, associate curator of the Ford E. and Harriet R. Curtis Theatre Collection in Hillman Library, died June 4, 2003, following a brief illness. She was 53.

Hoffmann had been employed at Pitt since 1996, when she was appointed administrative assistant to the then-chair of the Department of Library and Information Science, Edie Rasmussen.

“Carol was very much the face of the school,” Rasmussen said. “She was a wonderful recruiter because she would have great conversations with potential students, and she really got to know who they are, what their interests were, and whether this was the right school for them.”

According to Margaret Kimmel, professor in the library and information science department, “As an administrative assistant, a chair could not ask for a more efficient person. But beyond that, Carol had an interest in and ability to deal with our students, and had a real impact on them, as well as the ability to deal with sometimes cranky faculty,” Kimmel said. “She was calm, patient and always carried through on details. But she was also a team player.”

In 1998, Hoffmann was hired as administrative assistant to the director of the University Library System (ULS); last year she became associate curator at the Curtis Theatre Collection, one of the special collections libraries in ULS.

Charles Aston Jr., head of special collections, said, “Her passing has been an awesome shock to all of us. I think for someone in our profession, her approach, her care, her steadiness made her a model. Carol was saying to me recently, ‘I’m still turned on by my job. I can’t believe they’re paying me to do what I love.’”

Aston credited Hoffmann with organizing Pittsburgh theatre memorabilia at the Curtis collection, which includes more than a half-million theatre programs and 25,000 photographs.

“Her death is very tragic for the library system and the School of Information Sciences,” said Rush Miller, ULS director and University Librarian. “Carol got her M.L.S. degree in December 1995. In fact, I had her as a student my first year here. She was one of those rare people who was totally giving to others. We’re all going to miss her.”

Kimmel said Hoffmann expressed a twinge of regret when she left the School of Information Sciences because she missed the daily contact with SIS students. “But she continued to work with our interns here, right up to this last semester,” Kimmel said.

Hoffmann earned a B.A. in 1971 at the University of Indiana, Bloomington.

She was the wife of the late Steven S. Hoffmann. She is survived by sons Erik N. and Matthew S., and daughter Katharine “Katy” N., all of Forest Hills. Erik and Matthew are Pitt graduates; Katy is a Pitt undergraduate.

“Matthew just graduated in April and Erik just enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Carol was so very proud of her children,” Miller said.

—Peter Hart

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