Utah State University researcher Alan Hofmeister was thrilled to win an Emmy in 1992 from the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.
But he was overjoyed when the trophy finally was presented to him last week."We were real pleased about getting it," said Hofmeister, director of technology for USU's Center for Persons with Disabilities. "It's not real often when you work in education that you get recognized for the work that you do."
Hofmeister said academy officials wanted to bring the award to Utah State University months ago but were unable to coordinate their schedules with school officials.
Hofmeister's work with educational programming earned him the award. His projects were funded through federal grants until they drew attention eight years ago from a group of investors in Washington, D.C.
The group included executives from such corporations as Hanes Underwear and MCI Telecommunications Corp., who provided Hofmeister with $8 million.
Hofmeister used the money to set up a production facility in Salt Lake City, pay staff and university overhead and produce a series of instructional video discs.
The discs were the basis of "Mad Math," a TV series that won Hofmeister the Emmy for quality children's programming in the Washington, D.C., area.
Hofmeister said his staff gathered ideas from "master teachers" and put them into a package of fast-moving graphics and sound on video disc.
Over time, the production facility became independent of USU, and The Learning Channel became its major owner. The company now is called Learning 2000.
Hofmeister describes "Mad Math" as a fast-paced series with stereotypical education-show characters: a brainy kid, a jock kid and a sister that needs help with real-life math problems.
The dialogue, punctuated with "boing!" sound effects, gives way to three-dimensional animation illustrating math principles.
The key to the program was keeping the attention of an MTV generation of children. "We revised and revised and revised until we could deliver it that fast," he said.