Alumni News

Remembering  Reverend Henry Hoover, England & British Isles 1951

Reverend Henry Hoover, a long-time St. Paul resident,  passed away this past August.
As an undergrad, and a member of the SPAN class of 1951, Hoover’s research paper was entitled: Social Work and the Church of England. Read an obituary published in the Star Tribune newspaper on August 5, 2014.

Remembering Courtney Nelson, Great Britain, 1951

Courtney Nelson died July 12, 2014. As an undergraduate from Hamline Univversity, he was among the very first SPANners.

In 1950 he traveled to Great Britain, a trip which launched a life-long interest in international affairs. He attended Georgetown University and after service in the Korean War went on to a career in international development.

This perspective informed his work from then on in the Middle East, Far East, and in Africa with the Ford Foundation, The Agency for International Development (AID), and the Harvard Institute for International Development program.

His autobiography is entitled The Making of a Maverick. He was 84.

Jerry Loomis, British Isles 1952

Jerry Loomis always wanted to be a Jazz Piano improviser. He played often in high school but never had much of an opportunity to improvise his music. After attend the University of Minnesota and obtaining a degree in Business Administration, he spent two years in Germany in the army.

Upon returning, he married and had two children—with music performance being absent from his life for the next 25 years!
In the mid 1970’s, Jerry purchased a grand piano and took lessons from a jazz teacher. While he had no plans whatsoever for a second career, after volunteering for two years to play piano for the social hour of his bike club’s annual meeting, he decided to accept tips in a tip jar. After earning $300, he decided to become a professional!

Still, his dream was to improvise his music. Combating self-doubt, (“Am I good enough? Do people like what I’m playing?”), he remained persistent in his dream. He volunteered to play patriotic music for his Rotary Club, started the “Hope Jazz Group” at his church, and played with the Swing Beat Big Band.

Through all these gigs and playing for the Von Maur department store in Eden Prairie, Minn., he honed his performance skills and learned how to play his way out of mistakes. He can now play three to four hours at a time and aims to form his own jazz group.

Looking back, he says it was a “journey of skill building. My suggestion for changing careers is to work on skills by training, learning, and practicing. Overcome your fear of failure by continuing to keep at it.” Jerry now plays the background for soloists at funerals, wedding ceremonies and receptions. And he’s happy.

Rodney Hokenso, India 1953

“SPAN was a pivotal experience in my life. My ongoing concern for other nations/peoples stems from those days.” Rodney Hokenso marvels at his interaction with religions and academic leaders through is SPAN experience. He went on to lead two Rotary projects to provide wells to Indian villages.

Patricia Brockman, Philippines 1958

Patricia is involved with the Portland Art Museum. She recently traveled to Egypt for 15 days and experienced a tour by an Egyptologist.