How the director of fraternity and sorority life came to be part of the K-State family

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Profile portrait of Ben Hoppen on Dec. 9, 2014. (Archive photo by Cassandra Nguyen | Collegian Media Group)

Ben Hopper is a faculty member at Kansas State University who is currently an instructor of the freshman seminar Introduction to K-State Culture and the director of fraternity and sorority life on campus. Throughout his life, Hopper has held several different positions in different organizations, but he said what he loves most is interacting with students at K-State.

Growing up in Leonardville, Kansas, a community in Riley County, Hopper said there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to go to K-State after high school. Entering college, he was an agricultural communications and journalism major with a minor in political science. His plans of living in Washington, D.C. and serving as a politician or working in government changed after college.

Hopper was involved in several groups while he attended college at K-State and that helped lead him to his current positions.

“Life has a funny way of changing paths, and I think you have to be open to that change and excitement and uncertainty,” Hopper said.

During his first summer after college, Hopper worked as a lobbyist in Topeka. Then, a position opened for advisor for the Union Program Council, and he was hired because of his involvement as an undergrad in UPC and in the Student Governing Board.

He said it was everything he wanted to do because it gave him the opportunity to go to graduate school and meet some people who he became very close with. Getting involved allowed him to take on different experiences and opportunities that led him to where he is now.

Blair Kocher, former recruitment coordinator for the College of Business and a former student of Hopper’s, said Hopper has a way of making people feel valuable.

“Whether you have known Ben for ten seconds or ten years, he finds a way to connect with you and remembers details that slip past others,” Kocher said. “His sense of humor and compassion are matched only by his willingness to go out of his way and help those around him. It has been an honor to know Ben as a teacher, a colleague, a mentor and friend.”

Hopper said Manhattan makes his job great.

“K-State has such a special relationship with this town. The people, the friends I made while in college, SGA and the band,” Hopper said.

Katlyn Seyb, sophomore in finance, said Hopper “embodies” K-State’s values and its inclusion.

“During my experience in Ben’s class, he created an environment that encourages lifelong friends and emphasized the advantages of being a part of the K-State family,” Seyb said.

Hopper said he hopes all students can find an organization be be part of and that they can make and maintain relationships.

Kinsey Ackerman, sophomore in interior architecture and design, said Hopper is passionate about every campus event.

“He helped all of us in the class develop appreciations for groups and organizations that maybe weren’t our cup of tea or we didn’t know much about,” Ackerman said.
“He aided in the realization of what a diverse culture K-State has and what makes us a strong family.”

Hopper said he hopes to leave some impact on the students he has the opportunity to teach and spend time with.

“[For] former students and current students, sometimes it’s just going to be during their time at Kansas State that the relationship is there, but part of my life is going to be a part of their life for that time span,” Hopper said.

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