PharmD graduate Hoff receives award named for college’s ‘soul’

Karen Hoff, PharmD, recipient of the inaugural Edward B. (Ted) Roche, PhD, “Soul of the College of Pharmacy” Scholar Award, with Victoria Roche, PhD

Karen Hoff, PharmD, recipient of the inaugural Edward B. (Ted) Roche, PhD, “Soul of the College of Pharmacy” Scholar Award, with Victoria Roche, PhD

When Victoria Roche, PhD, read that her husband, Ted Roche, PhD’s, colleagues referred to him as “the soul of the UNMC College of Pharmacy” in his UNMC Today obituary, “I embraced that like a drowning person holding on to a life raft,” she said. It meant so much to her, because this description by his colleagues encapsulated him perfectly. It was exactly who he was and what he had been.

Dr. Ted Roche, who died in 2022, served as a faculty member for 48 years and dedicated more than 50 years of his life to his beloved UNMC College of Pharmacy, while making an impact on everyone he met.

“He was an incredible man,” Dr. Victoria Roche said. “He loved this college.”

That it loved him back was a gift. A gift Dr. Victoria Roche is determined to share with young people who embody some of the same qualities Dr. Ted Roche was so known for.

At the recent UNMC College of Pharmacy hooding and honors convocation, graduating PharmD candidate Karen Hoff was presented the inaugural Edward B. (Ted) Roche, PhD, “Soul of the College of Pharmacy” Scholar Award.

Seeing the award come to fruition, and seeing it presented to Dr. Hoff, was an emotional milestone for Dr. Victoria Roche.

“It was very heartfelt,” Dr. Victoria Roche said after the convocation. “One of the most important things in my life is this scholarship.”

Dr. Hoff had interacted briefly with Dr. Ted Roche in his role as faculty advisor to the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity. “He was always so ready to cheer us on,” she said.

She knows the legacy she is carrying in accepting the “Soul of the College of Pharmacy” Award in his name. “It was kind of intimidating to apply for,” Dr. Hoff said. “The people who deserved it the most probably don’t like talking about themselves.”

But Dr. Victoria Roche said Dr. Hoff is the ideal inaugural recipient: “She is everything I envisioned this award would recognize.”

Christopher Shaffer, PharmD, PhD, chair of the UNMC College of Pharmacy’s scholarship, honors and financial aid committee, agreed: “Dr. Ted Roche was such a pillar of not only our college, but the UNMC community,” he said. “We are so grateful to Dr. Vickie Roche for her commitment to our students and can think of no better person who embodies Ted’s spirit as this year’s recipient, Karen Hoff.

“Karen’s work ethic, humility, sense of humor, and leadership exemplifies the spirit of this award.”

Dr. Ted Roche had polio, his wife said, and the last couple years of his life were difficult. But he never wavered.

Dr. Hoff has shown similar commitment and courage, Dr. Victoria Roche said. Sharing the moment with her on convocation day was rewarding.

“My heart is very full,” Dr. Victoria Roche said. “Ted is right here with me.”


  1. Teresa M. Cochran, UNMC College of Allied Health Professions says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Hoff! I’m so happy that part of the Roche family legacy will endure in this way. The Drs. Roche are remarkable people who have influenced many lives, including mine.

  2. Sarah Arduser says:

    Congratulations, Karen! I could not think of anyone more deserving. Dr. Roche was such an integral part to our Kappa Psi chapter, and I am so grateful his legacy is able to live on through this award.

  3. Tom O’Connor says:

    Ted is no doubt smiling from up above – what an awesome tribute to his unparalleled legacy with the College of Pharmacy. Kudos to Vickie for establishing this award – what a classy way to ensure that Ted will never be forgotten.

  4. Lisa Spellman says:

    Ted embodied the Lakota virtues of fortitude, courage, generosity and wisdom. Pilamayaye Vickie for honoring and entrusting us with this legacy.

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