UCSC Currents online
Remembering Rick Hooper

A scholarship fund has been established in memory of Rick Hooper. It will benefit a UCSC student studying Arabic and the Arab Middle East. Interested individuals may make a gift by going to the campus's online giving site.

Under "Gift Information" Designation, select "Other" and type in "The Rick Hooper Scholarship Fund."

If donating by check, please make your check payable to the UCSC Foundation c/o the Rick Hooper Scholarship Fund and send it to:

University Relations
Carriage House
Attn: Jennifer Wood
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Thank you.

August 20, 2003

1985 graduate Richard Hooper killed in U.N. headquarters bombing

By Jim Burns

UCSC graduate Richard "Rick" Hooper died Tuesday in Iraq, one of approximately 20 people known to have perished when a bomb exploded outside United Nations headquarters there. He had been on assignment in Baghdad as the special assistant to the UN undersecretary-general for political affairs.

• Chancellor Greenwood's message to the campus

Classmate says Hooper did what he set out to do

"Richard had a career that was all involved in the Middle East and all involved in service," a former teacher, Isebill Gruhn, said upon hearing that Hooper was one of the victims of the suicide bombing.

Hooper enrolled at UCSC in the fall of 1980. By the time he graduated in the spring of 1985, he had earned a bachelor's degree with honors in politics, a minor in economics, and honors from Stevenson College for all-around academic excellence.

Gruhn, now a UCSC professor emerita of politics, remembered sitting as the examiner--with professor of politics Sonia Alvarez--for Hooper's senior oral examination. The first line of their May 1985 evaluation sums up their impression: "A really rather brilliant honors performance," they wrote.

"Richard was a quiet person," Gruhn said. "His kind of quietness might lead someone to be surprised at how really brilliant he was. The sophistication of his thinking as an undergraduate was really more at a graduate-student level."

Gruhn stayed in touch with Hooper over the years. "We'd see each other every three or four years, and we maintained e-mail contact."

For a person who learned Arabic as a UCSC student, spent years in the West Bank and Gaza, and ended his career as one of the UN's chief experts on Arab affairs, Hooper died doing what he loved: He was trying to make a difference in the Middle East, Gruhn said.

"There are people who devote their lives to it, and they don't deserve to get blown up," she added. "I am very, very sad about Richard's death."

Related links:

• Richard Hooper was on a short assignment in Iraq. Since 2001 he had served as special assistant to Sir Kieran Prendergast, the United Nations undersecretary general for political affairs. Story in the New York Times.

• Richard Hooper, a 40-year-old UN veteran, was the first American identified by the United Nations as a victim of the terrorist attack. Story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Richard Hooper grew up in Boise, Idaho, and worked for the late Sen. Frank Church. Story in the Idaho Statesman

• Richard Hooper is remembered as "shrewd, witty, great company, a great colleague." Story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

• "The ache in our souls is almost too much to bear," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan tells grieving UN staff. United Nations web site.

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