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August 21, 2003


Richard Hooper accomplished what he set out to do

Richard Hooper, a UCSC alumnus, was killed two days ago in the UN blast in Baghdad.

We were close friends in the dorms at Stevenson College, and since his death, I have been in touch with some of our other colleagues. The thing that stands out in our minds and hearts about Rick--in spite of the sadness of the news--is that he seems to have accomplished what he set out to do in life.

As a freshman at UCSC, he was already passionate about the Arab world. He wanted to learn Arabic (which he began studying at UCSC), wanted to become a specialist on Middle East relations, wanted to work with the UN, and most
certainly, wanted the world to be a more peaceful place.

From the little bit of news I've found in the press about him, he seems to have
done all of the above.

I lost contact with Rick many years ago, sometime in the late '80s. But the news of his death brought back warm memories. Perhaps more importantly, it filled me with inspiration, knowing that he accomplished exactly what he set out to do in life.

I hope that Richard Hooper felt the satisfaction of knowing that his life work was valuable, and that, as he dreamed in college, somehow it contributed to the creation of a more peaceful world somewhere in the future.

We live in troubled times, and violence and seemingly senseless killings occur on a daily basis (in the Middle East, just like here at home; in my case, East Oakland).

It is crucial that we take the time to recognize and honor individuals who devote their life to a cause they believe in, not for personal gain, but because they want a better world for everyone--where life and death represent a balance of nature, not human senselessness. I'm certain Rick was one of those people.

His memory will live on.

Robin D. Lovell
Stevenson College
Class of 1984
Community Studies

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