Alan Cooper ’69 Hopes His Gift Inspires Students to Be Their Best
When asked why he has remained so connected to Bryant throughout the five decades since his graduation, Alan Cooper ’69 has a simple answer. “I am so grateful to Bryant, and I want to give back.” He and his wife, Bonnie, recently made a generous planned gift to Bryant that reflects Cooper’s lifelong appreciation for Bryant’s impact on his life.
Their gift, a bequest made through their will, supports Bryant’s Hillel program, which was a part of Cooper’s transformative Bryant experience as a young Jewish undergraduate in the mid-1960s. He believes Hillel is an important part of Bryant’s future, and he is pleased that the campus program continues to grow under the leadership of Hillel Director Rabbi Steven Jablow.
As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities worldwide. Bryant Hillel provides religious services, leadership development programs, social programming along with advocacy and education. The program helps to educate and connect students of all faiths to Jewish cultural and religious traditions and offers welcoming and actively inclusive programming that promotes personal and spiritual growth. “It helps students to be the best they can be and explore and retain their Jewish identity at an important time in their lives,” he says.
After beginning his career as a junior account executive at the Bo Bernstein Agency in Providence, he considered joining a Madison Avenue agency in the hub of the advertising industry in New York City, but he decided instead to return to his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, a decision he says he has never regretted. In 1971, he assumed leadership of Atlas Printing and Communications, a printing, graphics, promotions and advertising company where he could utilize his advertising knowledge along with the business skills he developed at Bryant. He ran the company successfully for 40 years until he retired.
Now living in Florida, Cooper’s engagement with Bryant has included service as a regional volunteer organizing alumni events in the Worcester area and as a lead volunteer in the Class of 1969’s 50th Reunion. As the Vice President of his class he was actively involved with student groups and campus life, organizing Class Day in 1969, an event honoring graduating seniors and their parents, and held on the recently acquired Tupper campus in Smithfield—the first-ever event at Bryant’s new home. He credits this active, lifelong engagement, as much as his academic studies, with giving him the tools for success. “All the things I was able to accomplish—my first job, all the relationships I’ve made, running a business for four decades—I owe it all to the foundation that I built at Bryant.”
In recent years, Cooper has visited campus for the observance of Shabbat. He hopes that by strengthening Jewish values and traditions through Bryant Hillel, his gift will expand Bryant’s campus community of Jewish students and create confident and ethical leaders of character for the future. He also hopes his gift will inspire others to give as well. “I believe we are here to help others and make the world a better place,” he says. “If we don’t, who will?”