Friday, October 24, 2014

Keynote speaker Mark Hooks shares insights about his OU-C experience and journey at scholarship breakfast

The recent Recipients and Donors Scholarship Breakfast on campus recognized current OU-C students and the individuals who have contributed to their success. The annual event allows the campus to acknowledge the outstanding students who have earned competitive scholarships as well as the donors whose generosity made the scholarship opportunities possible.

The keynote speaker was Mark Hooks. He is the warden of the local Ross Correctional Institution (RCI), which currently incarcerates approximately 2,150 inmates. In many ways, his story mirrors that of the students at the scholarship event. He began his college career on the Chillicothe Campus and earned a criminal justice degree from Ohio University in 1993. He began his career with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections the same year.

Hooks talked about how his OU-C educational experience prepared him for his career and encouraged the students to make the most of their college opportunities.

“I know how much this campus has meant to me, and I want to hammer home that this is a great place to go to college,” Hooks said. “In all that you do, you are preserving the legacy of OU-C. I walked through campus 25 years ago not knowing what I wanted to do, and I was able to find my career path.”

Hooks talked about his own professional and personal journey and shared important insights with the future OU-C alumni.

“Make sure you value relationships and the people you meet along the way,” he said. “The biggest asset a leader has is the ability to cultivate relationships and to create an environment where people want to go to work every day.”

“Also, make a difference in whatever you choose to do in life. At the end of the day, be proud of OU-C and become involved with the campus at some point in time.”

In setting the tone for the event, OU-C Dean Martin Tuck noted the efforts of the students and the generous support of their benefactors.

“At OU-C, we are fortunate to have supporters who recognize the importance of a college education as well as students who work hard to make the most of their college educational experience and the opportunity it represents,” the dean said. “For both groups of individuals, we are extremely grateful. To the donors, we are appreciative that, through your generosity, some of the financial burdens that stand between our students and their educational goals have been removed.”

“To the students, we congratulate you on your accomplishments that have brought you to this point. We are glad that you are pursuing your educational goals on our campus. You add to the vibrant learning community that exists at O-U-C, and we are confident you will use your education well,” he continued.

The dean also encouraged the students to “pay it forward” in the spirit of the event and the Chillicothe Campus.

“You are following in the footsteps of countless former OU-C students who have gone before you and who have used their education to contribute to their professions and their communities,” he said. “Do the same yourselves. In this way, you continue the legacy of this event, this campus and this community in your daily lives and careers.”

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