ILR Meet the Instructor: William A. Soffa

Dr. William A. Soffa

Kenneth Marich

The Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) is proud to welcome Dr. William Soffa as a member of the ILR faculty. He was born in Pittsburgh, the son of a steelworker, and grew up during the boom years of the steel industry. Bill attended Carnegie Tech on a basketball scholarship, graduating in 1961 with a B.S. in metallurgical engineering. He earned an M.S. in materials engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1963 and a Ph.D. at Ohio State in physical metallurgy in 1967. His graduate studies were followed by a fellowship to pursue postdoctoral studies and research at Oxford University in England in the area of phase transformations. After a year at Oxford, he joined the faculty of Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 1968 where he spent 34 years teaching and doing research in materials science. In 2004 he joined the Materials Science Department at the University of Virginia (UVA). During his academic career, he had the honor of being a visiting scholar and Professor/Gastprofessor at the University of Goettingen (Germany), University of California (Berkeley), ETH-Zurich, and the University of Vienna (Austria). His research work has focused on phase transformations in solids, high-strength alloys, and magnetic materials.

Bill and Mary Lou were married in 1963 and have two daughters, both living in Connecticut. They moved from Charlottesville, Va., to SaddleBrooke in 2023 but bought property in SaddleBrooke in 2001. When Bill has time for hobbies, he enjoys music, and studying the philosophy of science, and he is an arm-chair historian. His wife Mary Lou recently retired from the University of Virginia after serving 10 years as chair of the Computer Science Department. I’m sure the Soffas will be a welcome addition to the SaddleBrooke community.

Dr. Soffa will be teaching a course titled Magnetism and Magnetic Materials in the Modern World in the Winter/Spring term 2024. Watch the SaddleBrooke newspapers and the ILR website for course content and registration. For more information, go to