Kentucky State University alumnus recognized as one of Wisconsin's most influential black leaders
A Kentucky State University alumnus was recently recognized for his hard work by being named one of Wisconsin’s most influential black leaders by Madison365 in its annual Black Power list of influential black leaders.
Major Cooper, a 2005 and 2008 graduate, said he was shocked to find out he was on the list.
“I really try to be humble and not put a lot of work on the internet because I was raised that as a Thorobred you enter to learn and go out to serve,” Cooper said. “Nevertheless, it was a great honor to be recognized.”
Cooper is currently the assistant director of admissions for recruitment at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Cooper said his love for student affairs began at Kentucky State.
“I was afforded the opportunity to be an admissions counselor at Kentucky State after graduating undergrad and that helped me discover my love for student affairs,” Cooper said. “I have been working in student affairs ever since, holding different leadership roles at various universities and colleges.”
Cooper said he began as a work study in admissions under the supervision of James Burrell, who pushed him to be more than average. During that time, Cooper said he had the opportunity to work with others, Davis and Leslie Thomas, who were a voice for the students and who also showed tough love at times.
“Their examples appealed to me that higher education is a selfless career, but would also feed my desire to help others,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the most important thing he learned at Kentucky State was how to own his heritage as a black man.
“I came to Kentucky State from Memphis, Tennessee and was fortunate enough to have several black teachers in high school, but it was not until I got to Kentucky State that I had black faculty and staff who served as mentors such as Dr. Jon Helm, Dr. Samuel Oleka, Mr. Timothy Chambers, Mr. Reginald Davis, Coach Von Smith, Coach William Graham and Mr. Burrell,” Cooper said. “These men taught me how to be a proud black man and to work hard and show why you deserve to be at any table.”
Cooper said his advice to students is to allow yourself to learn more and embrace all that Kentucky State has to offer.
“Always remember that Whitney Young said he wanted to be the voice of the voiceless and the effective hope of the hopeless, for that has been my keepsake,” Cooper said.
Cooper also encouraged students to utilize Thorobred alumni.
“I want every student to know that there is always an alumni Thorobred who will always be just an email or call away,” Cooper said. “Utilize your Kentucky State alumni, as we have walked the same halls you are currently walking and we always have advice and resources to share.”