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Bona's colleague surprises Hoffmann with Zonta rose for her role in uplifting women

Mar 14, 2019 |

Dr. Pauline Hoffmann was surprised to learn that her meeting with a colleague Tuesday afternoon was a farce.

Oh, the colleague showed up, but not to discuss a publication they were working on.

Dr. René Hauser (pictured right) arrived at Hoffmann’s office in St. Bonaventure University’s Murphy Building with a single yellow rose, the symbolic gesture from Zonta International for its efforts to improve the lives of women.

Ann Marie-Sitter Tompkins (left), an elementary education lecturer and Zonta Club member, was also on hand for the presentation.

Hauser, a member of the Olean Zonta Club chapter and an associate professor of education, nominated Hoffmann for “helping women to be better, more confident and powerful versions of themselves without ever being demeaning or petty. I know, because she has done that for me — numerous times. Pauline is an inspiration to me and to many other women.”

An associate professor and former dean of the Jandoli School of Communication, Hoffmann has organized and attended multiple service trips to Uganda as part of SBU’s Embrace It Africa program. On her most recent trip, she met with dozens of Ugandan girls to teach them about hygiene, female health issues and safety.

Three years ago, Hoffmann organized a campus committee to build off the success of March Madness and launch a women’s history project using the format of an NCAA basketball bracket. Voting in the 3rd annual March Into Women's History began Tuesday.

“Pauline is obviously very accomplished, but the real reason I think she deserves this award is because of the way she goes above and beyond each and every day to lift women up and support other women,” Hauser said.

Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a women’s advocacy organization that has more than 29,000 members in 63 countries. The mission of Zonta clubs around the world is to make a global and a local impact.

The Olean Zonta chapter has raised tens of thousands of dollars locally to support women undergoing treatment for breast cancer as well as supporting breast cancer research.

The local club also works to make a global impact through several endeavors, one of which is making birthing kits to send to women in Uganda so that they are able to more safely give birth.

The annual Yellow Rose Day coincides with International Women’s Day, a day when Zonta recognizes inspirational women. Members of Zonta nominate women who have mentored or supported them.

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.