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BORN: 1808
DIED: January 29, 1902
SECTION: A, Single Grounds, Row 1, Grave 20

Forty-three students and three teachers began their first day of classes at Lafayette College when Aaron Ogden Hoff sounded his trumpet on May 9, 1832. Hoff was a member of that class and the college’s first African-American student. He and his fellow classmates at the Pennsylvania Manual Labor Academy in Germantown followed their school’s headmaster, Rev. George Junkin, when he became the first president of Lafayette College. Hoff was employed by Rev. Junkin for various jobs including blowing his horn for “rising and recitation.” This task was later replaced with a bell.

Hoff’s studies were interrupted by poor health and he was not able to finish his degree. He remained in Easton and continued to stay in touch with the college.

When Lafayette celebrated fifty years of college life in June 1882, Aaron Hoff sounded the horn to welcome alumni to chapel. According to reports the alums were delighted as they recognized seventy-four years old Aaron Hoff and remembered the blasts from his horn waking them up in the morning.

In 1990 the College established the Aaron Hoff Awards to recognize faculty, staff, students and campus organizations for outstanding contributions to the College and the community. To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, Lafayette students raised money for a memorial statue to replace the numbered brick that had previously marked his grave. It was unveiled on May 5, 2002.

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