Circuitous and Fortuitous

Dr. Lorraine Hoffman

Dr. Lorraine Hoffman is helping ensure access to an Iowa State education

Dr. Lorraine Hoffman received sage career advice early in life.

She was completing her bachelor's degree in biology from a small, private Iowa college, where she was the only female pre-med student in her class. In the fall of 1964, she applied to medical school, but few women were accepted into medical school at the time and she learned that she was not chosen.

She was faced with a dilemma because she didn't have a backup plan.

During the second semester of her senior year, she took a microbiology class and shared her story with her professor, who gave her good mentoring advice: Pursue further education in an area of interest, watch for doors of opportunity, stay open to new passions and interests and never give up on long-term goals.

She took his guidance and applied to graduate programs in microbiology and zoology, one of which was at Iowa State University. She was immediately accepted to Iowa State's department of bacteriology master's degree program and was offered a teaching assistantship.

In 1969, she married fellow graduate student Peter Hoffman, who had recently accepted a faculty position in the animal science department. Today, Lorraine is professor emeritus in the department of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine at Iowa State and is internationally recognized for her contributions in the field of diagnostic veterinary microbiology.

Lorraine described her professional journey as "circuitous and fortuitous."

"I had to redefine myself, develop skills and abilities I did not know I had and work hard to learn and grow into my career to be the best I could be," Lorraine said.

To be a life-long role model for others has been one of her greatest joys, which has continued into retirement. "I feel blessed to share far greater insights, advice and empathy than what I received as a young female growing up in a small Iowa town at a time when girls were encouraged to explore and pursue specific career stereotypes or marry right out of high school," Lorraine said.

The Hoffmans are proud that they can help others on their road to higher education through the Drs. Lorraine J. Hoffman and M. Peter Hoffman Scholarship in Swine Production Medicine within the College of Veterinary Medicine, which they support through a portion of the resources made possible by their careers at Iowa State.

Today, she has advice for others who are considering their next step of giving and how to make an impact. It may sound familiar.

"You need to remember the opportunities afforded you along the way and think about how you can create an easier path for young people as they pursue their personal goals in areas for which you share a passion," Lorraine said. "Consider what has defined your career path and how you wish to make a difference."

Your Gift Can Open the Door to a World of Opportunity

Whether you are a former faculty or staff member, or faithful Iowa State supporter, you can help sustain life-changing educational opportunities for years to come. Contact the office of gift planning at 800.621.8515 or visit to start your giving journey.