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Paul Hoch (MA ’75) and Frances Shamberg Hoch (MA ’69; Ph.D. ’76) support graduate education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in many ways. They are longtime supporters of The Graduate School’s Summer Research Fellowships, which provides summer support to doctoral students so they may focus exclusively on their dissertation research. In 2021, The Fran and Paul Hoch Summer Research Fellowship supported Elena Peña-Argüeso (’19 MA), a Ph.D. student in the Department of Romance Languages as she completed dissertation work abroad.

During their time as graduate students at the University, the Hochs were instrumental in the establishment of Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG; formerly a federation). The Paul and Frances Hoch Founders Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Student Advocacy, given in spring 2021 by GPSG, is named in their honor. Fran has also served on the board of visitors. The Graduate School spoke with the Hochs about their support of graduate education; excerpts are below.

Why do you support giving to graduate education at Carolina?

Paul: “The Graduate School is the tie that binds. Fran and I went to separate undergraduate schools. What ties us together is going to The Graduate School at Chapel Hill; that’s what we like to focus on.” … “Graduate education is our connection to Carolina.”

What do graduate students contribute to Carolina?

Paul: “Graduate students are the backbone of the University. Without them, the other education really would not materialize. Graduate students do research; that’s incredibly important. They provide teaching assistance. They do work that paves the way for undergraduates, even. I think it’s important that they be supported.”

Why do you support The Graduate School’s Summer Research Fellowships?

Fran: “Summer is such an important time for students to be able to do research, and it requires travel; summer is the time for that to happen. This fellowship has allowed for that to happen.” … “You feel a real connection to the students. For me, as a donor, that’s very significant.”

Fran: By giving money to The Graduate School, regardless of what you’re specifically funding, you’re helping many different kinds of students, and it goes directly to them. That is significant to me as the donor.

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