‘Words to Live By’: Hoffman speaks on inspirational quotes

By Rachel Mazza & Kathleen Ellison
Copy Editor              A&E Editor

April 11, 2013

Professor Patrizia Hoffman shared her favorite inspirational quotes that shaped her life experiences during a lecture to Honors students Wednesday night as part of the Global Honors Program’s Last Lecture series.

In her speech, titled “Words to Live By,” she discussed her life and the value and essentiality of remaining positive through an optimistic and progressive outlook on life.

“‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ This was the first quote I remember from when I was young,” Hoffman said. “I felt it was something I could live with.”

Hoffman talked about how inspirational sayings helped her to stay positive when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. She acquired these sayings through family, friends, books and even church signs.

Now, as a 21-year survivor of the disease, she reflects on what got her through the most troubling of times.

“I thought about the fact that I could die. That I could really just not be here anymore and in those moments I considered what was important in my life; what I had done already, and if I survived this, what else I could do to make a positive contribution to the world,” she said.

Prior to the diagnosis, Hoffman said she did not think about God much in her life, but now God and prayer is something that is often on her mind.

“I’ve accepted what’s going to happen is going to happen no matter if I pray for it or not. So, I pray for others that they are blessed in their life,” she said.

“Trust your intuition,” and “Do what you love and love what you do,” were also a few of her favorite quotes.

Hoffman described how she keeps these encouraging words throughout her office on the walls. She felt that seeing them in writing gave them an inherent truth, and that these words of wisdom helped to remind her to stay positive and guide her through life.

“It was easy to connect to [her speech] because everybody has quotes, like on Facebook” said freshman Honors student Bianca Dow, a health science major. This was seen when Hoffman finished up her speech by asking the students to share quotes that they lived by.

One of the sayings she shared was to “share what you know and never stop learning,” meaning that everyone should always keep an eagerness to learn new things throughout their lives and to share that information with others.

Traveling in order to gain a larger understanding of others was another theme Hoffman held in high esteem.

“When you travel, and by travel I don’t mean having to go to Europe, but simply experiencing other people’s lives and perspective that you may not have known anything else about before. This allows you to look outside of yourself and ‘think globally and act locally,’” she said.

Hoffman explained that she discovered the quote on a bumper sticker and it inspired her.

She encouraged students to not put any barriers up and don’t fear success. Quoting Nelson Mandela, she described how one of the deepest fears we have is making people feel inferior, and consequently we

Photo courtesy of Rachel Mazza Professor Patrizia Hoffman gave a lecture on her favorite inspirational quotes.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Mazza
Professor Patrizia Hoffman gave a lecture on her favorite inspirational quotes.

sell ourselves short.

“Never be afraid to be proud of your accomplishments. This is especially true for you guys as honors students. Don’t be afraid of intimidating anyone. You never know how many people don’t know about

whatever it is you do and it helps you build rapport with others,” Hoffman said.

Students clapped enthusiastically at the conclusion of her speech. Hoffman then opened the floor to student, giving them an opportunity to share some of their own quotes to live by. Many people recalled

song lyrics, words of encouragement from family and friends and quotes from authors such as Mark Twain.

“It made me consider positive thinking about the past and not holding on to things” freshman Tanner Grumbling, a bio-chem major.

Throughout the presentation students nodded in agreement with the words of encouragement Hoffman offered, and smiled or laughed when something she said related to their own lives or the lives of someone they knew.

“I’ve never met professor Hoffman before but I’m very impressed by her charismatic presence,” said junior Shelli Bond.

Bond is a dual English and Spanish major and the Student Associate director of Admissions and Recruitment for the Honors program on campus.

“I’ve been worrying a lot lately about the semester and graduating and finding a replacement for my position [in the honors program],” Bond said. “After hearing her presentation, I hope that I can keep in mind some of her quotes about moving on and not stressing out too much.”


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