The Wittenberg University Board of Directors will welcome Vikki Hooper, class of 1978, to its ranks.
Originally from Washington, D.C., Hooper is past president of and served on Wittenberg’s Alumni Board, the governing body of the Wittenberg University Alumni Association.
“I like to think that what the Board sees in me is someone who cares about Wittenberg and wants it to be in the best possible position not only to survive, but to thrive in this extremely competitive marketplace,” said Hooper, who graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in psychology before earning her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Hooper went on to work as an administrative director for a not-for-profit health education foundation and later as a church administrator before joining IBM, where she served in several capacities.
“My longest tenure has been at IBM, where I have been an intern, a full-time employee, and now a retiree supplemental, and where most of my time has been spent in front of a classroom, as nearby as Atlanta, Georgia, and as far away as Sydney, Australia. In some ways, it's been quite the hodge-podge, not linear at all. The titles and roles have been diverse but what they all have in common is a high degree of engagement with people -- whether they be high school students, parents, community activists, AIDS patients, celebrities, government officials, congregants, new employees or senior executives -- it has been and continues to be a blast!”
During her time at Wittenberg, Hooper was active in Concerned Black Students and Union Board. She also served as a resident assistant in Tower Hall and worked at the Student Union. She came to Wittenberg because she wanted to move away from home but not be entirely devoid of family.
“I grew up thinking of going to college as a foregone conclusion, and I always imagined moving away from home as part of the deal,” she said. “That said, I didn't want to be in a place totally devoid of family, and since I had a cousin from Cincinnati attending Wittenberg, it seemed like a great solution. Adrienne (nee Conliffe '75) was a senior during my freshman year, and it was wonderful having her around to show me the ropes. And I'm still, to this day, connected with people I met at Wittenberg.”
As a member of the Alumni Board, Hooper regularly returns to campus to interact with current students, help highlight faculty excellence, foster alumni engagement, support fundraising, and partner with admission in encouraging prospective students to make Wittenberg their college choice.
“What brought me back into a relationship with the university was an invitation to join the Alumni Board,” she said. “I declined initially because the amount of travel required for my job at the time was not conducive to that kind of commitment, so it took a while. But when I did accept, it was good to be back on campus a few times a year, reconnect with faculty and staff, learn about the difference that Wittenberg continues to make in the lives of students and alumni, and be able to give back through time, talent and treasure, in meaningful ways.
“The Alumni Board is a dynamic group of volunteer ambassadors, who are actively engaged in outreach to prospective students, mentoring relationships with current students, recognition events for faculty and staff, and strengthening the bond with alumni,” Hooper said. “All of that is tremendously important, especially at a time when the landscape is so competitive and liberal arts higher education is being challenged in so many ways.”
Hooper also understands the importance of this work firsthand, having coordinated or attended multiple events on behalf of Wittenberg, and having served on the presidential search committee, which brought President Michael L. Frandsen, Ph.D., to Wittenberg.
Looking ahead, Hooper is hopeful she will “bring fresh eyes, a diverse perspective, and provocative questions with the potential to foster productive conversations and innovative approaches to the challenges we face,” she explained. “At an inauguration luncheon welcoming Dr. Michael Frandsen, I gave some remarks about our motto, ‘Having Light We Pass It On To Others,’ and I talked about LIGHT in terms of Learning, Imagination, Generosity, Humanity, and Tenacity. Hopefully, working alongside the other talented and resourceful members of the Board of Directors, I can put those tools to work for the benefit of Wittenberg.”