Monday, September 14, 2015

Follow the Twitter Backchannel from 27th Annual EAIE Conference #EAIE2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

A true champion of international education (and unknown to the field) was recently lost: Roma Hoff - May 4, 1926 to August 28, 2015

A true champion of international education (and unknown to the field) was recently lost:  Roma Hoff  - May 4, 1926 to August 28, 2015.  Obituary at

Those who know me or who have followed IHEC Blog or this FB page for some time know that I met my wife Ana while we studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain back in 1991.  Roma Hoff was a Professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and led our group's orientation in Madrid.   Ana and I have been exchanging holiday letters with Roma over the past 20 years that we have been married.  She was a true gem and she will be missed!

Also, many who know me know that I am an historian of the field and when reading Roma's obituary I was struck with her involvement in the field and one that is unknown the field so I thought I would highlight what was noted in her obituary.

Roma Hoff died peacefully at home on August 28, 2015 at age 89.

Her life was highlighted by worldwide travel, leadership and cultural contributions in the field of world language education, commitment to her church and other favorite organizations, and dedication to her family.

Her graduate studies were also at UW – Madison, culminating in a PhD in Education and Spanish in 1956 and then work in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as a lecturer.

Her first two trips to Europe were to Spain, where she spent the summers of 1949 and 1950.

Through a stroke of good fortune she was invited to serve as tour director for Eur-Cal Travel's (University of California – Berkeley) 88-day grand European tours during six summers, 1952 to 1957.

She taught on the island of Aruba for Standard Oil between master's and doctoral studies, and she studied in Madrid in 1954-55 on a Fellowship from the Institute of International Education.

When the children were older, the family began to travel, including memorable trips to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and to Germany and Switzerland, where her husband shared his heritage and family connections.

Roma enjoyed seeing her children study and live in other cultures.

Peter teaches Spanish at UW – Whitewater, speaks many languages, and advises students on study abroad.

Anne studied and worked in Japan for 15 years before moving to Maui, HI, and later Seattle, WA, where she practices Rolfing Structural Integration.

Paul is Professor of Spanish at UW – Eau Claire and a veteran staff member at the Concordia Language Villages (Concordia College, Moorhead, MN).

Starting in 1974 she organized Spanish Travel Seminars, the university's nearly annual offering for students and interested members of the community. These took participants on three-week summer trips through Spain, often including other locales such as Portugal, Morocco, France, and the Canary Islands. After first visiting Central America in 1975, she also nurtured growing interest in that region by organizing tours to Costa Rica, the Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, and Belize.

She helped establish the UW – Eau Claire study abroad program at the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) and eight times directed the Madrid orientation for the groups.

The trips Roma led were true cultural exchanges. Tour participants met the Hoffs' friends in these countries, visited their homes and shops, and got off the beaten path to experience the cultures close-up.

Travel occurred in both directions, and the Hoff residence became home to people from many countries over the years as friends visited Eau Claire

The depth of these exchanges intensified in 1986 when Roma was named cultural adviser for the first CAMPUS (Central American Program for Undergraduate Scholars) group of 16 young people from various countries in Central America who came to study at UW – Eau Claire.  [see this 2010 IHEC Blog post to learn more about the CAMPUS Program]

In 1985 she was named Distinguished Foreign Language Educator of Wisconsin by the Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers (now Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers).

In 1989 she received the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages – National Textbook Company award for developing Community Interest in Foreign Languages.

In 1990 she was named Outstanding Teacher of Spanish – College-University Level by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

In 1991 she received the Founders Award of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

The UW-EC Center for International Education and the Honors Week Steering Committee honored her on campus, and the national office of Sigma Delta Pi, national Hispanic honor society, gave her its Premio de Mérito in 1992.

In 1993 the North Central Council of Latinamericanists gave her its Award of Merit for Promoting an Awareness of the Countries, Peoples and Cultures of Latin America.

In that same year she won UW – Eau Claire's Excellence in Teaching Award and subsequently was speaker at the August 1994 graduation.

Roma served as adviser to the UW-EC chapter of Sigma Delta Pi for 30 years and the chapter won six national awards between 1987 and 1994.

In retirement Roma continued to lead travel tours abroad (including seven Alumni Association cruises) and to travel with her husband and various family members.