Distinguished Alumna

Rev. Carol Hoffman-Guzman, MA '91, DMin, PhD

Rev. Dr. Carol Hoffman-Guzman, MA '91, DMin, PhD

Executive Director Emeritus, Miami Urban Ministries and Arts at St. Johns

Thirty-one years ago, after a visual arts career in Denver, Carol Hoffman-Guzman moved to Florida. Her goal was simple - escaping snowy cold winters and exploring new horizons. She lived in a small apartment in South Beach, which housed mainly retirees from New York and a few cocaine cowboys.

Rev. Hoffman-Guzman's first job was in advertising sales for Miami Today, which taught her a lot about Miami, its businesses and key movers-and-shakers. Her beat was Miami Beach, which was just developing its current personality.

Her heart, however, was moving in a different direction. Years of prayer were pushing her toward the areas of social justice, spirituality and community work. When her parents passed away, she resigned from her sales job, bought a small house, and enrolled in Barry University in its graduate program of Theology. A favorite professor opened her eyes to the role of clergy persons in social justice issues, particularly in the Americas.

Hoffman-Guzman joined St. John's United Methodist Church in her neighborhood. This led to her volunteer work with Miami Urban Ministries, a key group involved in the Hurricane Andrew recovery. This work evolved into her Directorship of the organization, which later led to her Directorship of the Kellogg Family Project, a program that encouraged students at Miami-Dade College to consider the nonprofit sector for future employment.

The diversity of people whom the Reverend met in Miami inspired her to learn more about South Florida's ethnic groups; hence, her doctorates at the Florida Center for Theological Studies (emphasis on social justice) and at Florida International University (sociology).

An unexpected dwindling of her church congregation resulted in Rev. Hoffman-Guzman's realization that outreach programs often bolstered attendance. Voilá - the Arts at St. Johns, which resulted in 15 years of innovative programming using the arts as a vehicle for social justice and change.