Calling the Shots
John Hoffner funds scholarship for management leadership
“Speechless.” That says a lot, considering the source.
From boardrooms to broadcast booths, Tim Newton is rarely at a loss for words. After all, he is the director of external relations and communications for the Krannert School of Management and the longtime play-by-play voice of Purdue football and the Purdue women's basketball team.
And the reason for his reaction?
In summer 2015, the temporarily tongue-tied veteran communicator and broadcaster learned that Krannert’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, John Hoffner (BSIM ’70), had established the Tim Newton Management Leadership Scholarship in his honor.
“I met Tim when I served on the Krannert alumni advisory board in the 1990s and early 2000s,” says Hoffner, the now-retired executive vice president and chief financial officer of Jack in the Box Inc. and director of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen Inc.
“I was always impressed by his ability to relate and communicate with the board members. He was the go-to guy when we had questions, and I was equally impressed by his dedication to the University over such a long period of time.”
It had been more than a decade since the two men had seen each other until the 2014 Krannert Leadership Speakers Series, where alumni are recognized for their leadership and service. “It was great to see Tim again, and that reunion was the catalyst for naming the scholarship,” Hoffner recalls.
Newton was stunned. “The honor was as nice as it was unexpected — and really unmerited,” he says. “I’m usually trying to put other people in the spotlight, so this is a 180-degree experience for me. I just show up for work and try to make a positive difference. So something of this magnitude is humbling.”
The scholarship recognizes that Newton’s roots at Purdue run as deep as his contributions to the University are long. He graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and joined the staff in 1989 — first serving as an editor for the Purdue News Service and then as the director of communications for the Purdue Alumni Association.
Today, Newton oversees the Krannert School’s publications, website, alumni relations, media relations, and special events. He and wife, Susan — a 25-year Purdue employee herself — have two children, Emily and Aaron.
Following his retirement, Hoffner taught business ethics at the university level and continued to increase his philanthropic and volunteer leadership with civic and community organizations, Purdue included. Establishing a scholarship at his alma mater was also inspired by what he describes as a “lifelong love affair with Purdue.” He met his wife of 45 years, Jean, at Purdue, and even remembers the anniversary of their first date.
The couple's additional gifts to Purdue include the Jean H. and John F. Hoffner Scholarship for Entrepreneurial Advancement at Krannert, the Selena M. Taliaferro Memorial Scholarship at Purdue North Central (PNC) in memory of Jean’s mother, the James B. Dworkin PNC Distinguished Scholars Scholarship, and the Rawls Hall Capital Campaign.
The impact of the endowment will fund one or more annual undergraduate scholarships for students who are juniors and/or seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.2/4.0. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate leadership qualities through a role in a Krannert student club, participation in an external case competition, or a role in leading a community-related, nonprofit activity. Krannert dean David Hummels will select the recipients and determine the amount of the scholarships based upon available revenue.
“Tim helped establish the criteria, so this really is Tim’s scholarship and Tim’s legacy,” Hoffner says.