Remembering Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa

Marguerite SoffaThe UW–Madison community was saddened by the passing of Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa (October 27, 1924–May 30, 2023), a stalwart supporter of the university and champion for human rights.

Mrs. Soffa met her husband, J. Jobe Soffa at UW–Madison, where they both studied and received degrees. She received her Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in psychology in 1946 before settling in Fond du Lac following graduation. Mrs. Soffa has had a significant impact on the university, serving as the vice president of the Wisconsin Union while a student, though her contributions extend well beyond.

In 2001, she established The J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture series, which annually invites a distinguished woman in international public life to campus to speak on contemporary issues of global significance. For over two decades, the lecture has connected new generations with leaders from around the world—educating and inspiring the campus community and beyond.

Her contributions were recognized by the Fond du Lac Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association with the chapter’s 2018 Badger of the Year Award.

In creating the lecture series, Mrs. Soffa said, “Women and children are oppressed all over the world. If we can shine a light on issues that matter to them, we can take steps to make their lives better.”

University leaders offered their thoughts on the passing of Mrs. Soffa.

“The vision and generosity of Marguerite Soffa have illuminated challenges and issues from across the globe,” said Guido Podestá, emeritus vice provost and dean, UW–Madison International Division. “But more than that, she has planted seeds in the hearts and minds of Badgers who could one day work across borders toward solutions. We continue to be grateful to her and the entire Soffa family. She will be greatly missed.”

“The Human Rights Program is grateful to Mrs. Soffa for her vision in establishing the Soffa Lecture to highlight the struggles for recognition of women’s rights around the world. She will be missed,” said Sumudu Atapattu, executive director, UW–Madison Human Rights Program.

Mrs. Soffa’s contributions go well beyond UW–Madison. Read more about her life and the profound impact she has had on those around her.