Anthony Hopson is serving as the first assistant vice president of community government relations this year at Ithaca College.
President Tom Rochon appointed Hopson to keep communication open among the college, community and the local government. He started last June.
Hopson has previously served as an associate dean at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and at Clark University.
Assistant News Editor Ashley May spoke with Hopson to find out more about what he is doing at the college in his new position.
Ashley May: What does your job entail?
Anthony Hopson: My fundamental responsibilities are being a liaison for the president’s office and thus the institution for three facets: local community, local government officials and employees. It’s an opportunity for the college and the president’s office to create some partnerships with local communities and our federal agencies. This is day-to-day. It’s a lot of handshaking. It’s really getting out there face to face, meeting as many people as I can.
AM: How have you strengthened relations so far?
AH: It’s only been four months. We have had success in terms of an opportunity to engage with dozens of community organizations, community activists and leaders. We’ve had an opportunity to really get out in front and engage in the community in a very comprehensive way, by meetings with organizations and reminding the community that we share a name. We are excited to do some strategic partnering. Over the last four months, we have had success in terms of being able to meet with a lot of key agencies, almost all of the nonprofits. We can find ways to work together, and that is what we have been doing. We are trying to identify ways to extend our footprint a little more into the community.
AM: How have you been able to provide leadership and direction at the college?
AH: Well, it’s a new position. I’ve been here since mid-June. The initial stages have been identifying those relationships. The first phase has been reaching out to the local community, meeting with industries, businesses, civic organizations and extending to them an opportunity for the college and the organizations to work more closely and partner more closely.
AM: Why is it important for the college to have a relationship with the local community?
AH: We coexist. If you look at our day-to-day, our students, faculty and staff are a part of this community. There is so much engagement. It is important to formalize that conversation and to formalize that partnership. If you talk to residents of this community, they see Ithaca College as their college. There is a bond there. Where we can embrace them back — that is the right thing to do. It’s just a part of sharing our success with them and part of being a good neighbor.
AM: What do you want students to know?
AH: I’m a part of them. Their experiences influence what we do and vice versa. We are trying to identify as many opportunities for them to engage and really to be able to inform them about the wealth of opportunity that exists in this community. That’s why we are here — really to provide them with another person to champion them being here and build good relationships.