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From the Desk of the Chancellor: The legacy of Arthur Kochoff

February 21, 2014
Arthur Kochoff, alumnus and friend of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, passed away February 19. Kochoff and his late wife, Mary, had one daughter, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Arthur KochoffArthur Kochoff was a true friend to many on the campus of University of Michigan-Dearborn. His deepest affection was for our students and he understood very well what a college education means to them. We will always remember him and his late wife, Mary, with great warmth.

Arthur began his career on the assembly line at Ford Motor Company in 1939 and enjoyed a 49-year career as a manufacturing engineer. Then, at the age of 75, he began taking classes at UM-Dearborn.

Arthur personified the spirit of lifetime learning and enjoyed frequent trips to campus, as both a community member and student. He earned three bachelor's degrees from UM-Dearborn—one in 1992 and two in 1996—and was awarded an honorary degree in 2009. He also earned multiple associate degrees from Henry Ford Community College and a degree in mechanical engineering following a tool-and-die apprenticeship.

Arthur and Mary made extraordinarily generous and purposeful gifts to UM-Dearborn. In 2000, they made their first substantial gift to equip and support the state-of-the-art Language Lab in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Building.

A subsequent gift was used to establish the Mary and Arthur Kochoff Endowed Chancellor's Scholarship Fund to provide full tuition for four years to students with high academic achievement. This was the first $1 million gift from an alumnus in the history of UM-Dearborn. In recognition of that gift the large multipurpose room in the University Center was named for Arthur and Mary Kochoff, known as Kochoff Hall. The Kochoffs subsequently established an additional scholarship fund for students with significant financial need.

Following Mary’s passing in 2012, Arthur’s most recent gifts were made to the CASL dean’s strategic initiative fund in order to name the CASL auditorium in Mary’s memory.

As remarkable as the Kochoffs' philanthropy during their lives has been, their ultimate legacy is yet to be realized. Arthur made provisions in his estate plans to provide additional funds to add to the need-based Kochoff scholarship endowment, supporting the university's own commitment to access to education for all qualified students. The endowment will provide a life-changing education to thousands of students over many generations, a fitting legacy to a couple who so dearly loved learning.

Our university community has been honored and uplifted to have Arthur and Mary Kochoff as devoted members for so many years. Their magnificent scholarship legacy will ensure they remain in the fabric of our community for all time, and we will long remember the happy presence they brought to our campus.

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