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Hoffman, Eugene Augustus  

(Mar. 21, 1829-June 17, 1902). Third dean of the General Theological Seminary. He was born in New York City. Hoffman studied first at Rutgers College and then received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1848. He received his B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1851. Hoffman was ordained deacon on June 29, 1851, and priest on Apr. 28, 1853. As a deacon he was in charge of Grace Church, Elizabeth Port, New Jersey, and from 1853 until 1863, he was rector of Christ Church, Elizabeth, New Jersey. He served one year, 1863-1864, as rector of St. Mary's Church, Burlington, New Jersey, and then from 1864 until 1869, he was rector of Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights, New York. His last parish was St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia, where he was rector from 1869 until 1879. Hoffman was dean of General Seminary from June 15, 1879, until his death. Hoffman is remembered as General Seminary's "most munificent benefactor," and under him most of its present quadrangle and grounds, buildings, professorships, endowments, and customs were established. The deanship and the chairs of pastoral theology, NT, and dogmatic theology all received their endowments from him or his family. The seminary's Gutenberg Bible, sold by the trustees at public auction in 1978, was the gift of Dean Hoffman. The Chapel of the Good Shepherd, completed 1885-1888 in English collegiate gothic with a 161-foot bell tower, is a gift of Hoffman's mother in memory of her husband. Hoffman made the chapel the vital center of the seminary's life. Under his leadership the vested faculty evensong procession was instituted, as well as the wearing of academic gowns by students and faculty. He also established the custom of conferring the honorary doctorate upon graduates of the seminary who became bishops. Hoffman was a high churchman, an avid collector of rare books, chairman of the building committee for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and president of the New York Historical Society. Hoffman died on a train returning to New York from Canada. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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