TORONTO—Former Varsity Blues athletic director, and current member of the board of directors for Golf Canada, Liz Hoffman received the prestigious Thomas R. Loudon award as part of the 2015 U of T Sports Hall of Fame ceremony on Thursday night at the new Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
The Loudon award is presented to a person associated with the University of Toronto for outstanding services in the advancement of athletics. Hoffman retired from U of T in 2010 after 39 years of outstanding service, leadership and mentorship of University of Toronto athletics.
Hoffman has been a driving force behind the growth of intercollegiate competition in Canada. She has paved the way in many areas of university sport – as an athlete, as a coach, an instructor and as an administrator. As the director of athletics, she served on the board of directors of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) during three different decades (1982-86, 1993-97, 2003-07), including being its president (1995-97), and has been a U of T delegate to Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and its predecessors since 1977, including terms as president (1980-84) and past president (2003-07). She built a tremendous coaching team at U of T, where under her leadership the Varsity Blues claimed 17 national titles and 126 provincial team championships.
The night opened with Dean Ira Jacobs presenting award to Hoffman. Jacobs saluted Hoffman’s decades of service and the lasting impact her initiatives made on sport at U of T. “Under Liz’s watch, University of Toronto developed gender and sport equity policies that were firsts in interuniversity sport in Canada,” Jacobs told the crowd. “Her initiatives shaped the co-curricular athletics and recreation experiences of countless—literally thousands of—U of T students on all three campuses.”
Hoffman received a standing ovation from the crowd as she came to the mic. For Hoffman, the honour was very much a family affair—literally, with her husband Rick and sons Mark and Matt at her side—and metaphorically, returning “home” to her Blues stomping groups. “We will always be part of the Varsity Blues family. I thank you for this honour; I will always treasure it; we will always treasure it.”
The emotional reflections and humble acceptance speeches continued as 10 athletes, three teams and four builders were welcomed into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame. While a decades-old tradition, this particular induction represented a new era with a series of firsts—this was the first time celebrating inductions at the Golding Centre for High Performance Sport. The Faculty also unveiled its interactive digital display, honouring every individual, team and builder inducted into the U of T Sports Hall of Fame. The ceremony also included the University’s first induction of a para athlete: Joanne Berdan.