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Double Duty

Bobby Hopewell ’96 Balances Full-Time Job, Mayor of Kalamazoo

Bobby Hopewell '96, Mayor of Kalamazoo
Bobby Hopewell '96, Mayor of Kalamazoo

By Doug Goodnough

If there was an award for the Busiest Person in Kalamazoo, Bobby Hopewell ’96 would be a shoo-in for it. In fact, there are a couple of Tigger plush animals sitting on a shelf in his office that friends gave him because “I bounce around” like the famous Disney animated character, he said.

The 49-year-old Siena Heights University graduate balances his full-time job as director of Hospitality Services at Kalamazoo’s Borgess Medical Center while also serving as mayor of the southwest Michigan city with a population of approximately 75,000 people.

Two jobs. One person. How does he do it?

“It takes a lot of time and energy and attention,” Hopewell said. “You’ve got both of these worlds that’s got (many) of the same things going on. They’re similar, but different, and they take a lot of time and energy. Both roles are a labor of love.”

First, a glimpse inside his hospital “world.” The former EMT and paramedic worked his way up the health care ladder, working first in an ambulance and later running ambulance operations at Gull Lake Ambulance and Life EMS. For the past nine years he has worked at Borgess, Kalamazoo’s main health care provider. He currently is responsible for approximately 250 staff members and supervises 15 managers in areas like food and nutrition, mail, switchboard and other connective services. He recently was also put in charge of emergency management, and next year will transition into a new position as of director of the new $26 million outpatient care facility currently under construction in Battle Creek.

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A New Media Mix

Digital Communications Program To Take Full Advantage of Today’s Technology Innovations

By Doug Goodnough

In the age of user-generated content, a new program at Siena Heights University is tapping into the innovation of its students to drive the curriculum.

The Digital Communications program was approved in fall 2012 and will be offered as a new major and minor beginning in fall 2013. According to program director Dr. Davin Heckman, Digital Communications is a combination of old and new concepts. However, the ultimate outcome is to equip students to discover new approaches to communication in a digital age.

“The program is built around the strength of Siena’s fine arts curriculum,” said Heckman, who is a considered a leader in the emerging field of electronic literature. “There are many digital media programs built around studio arts, but this one is designed to basically draw its strength in the interests, energy and abilities that students bring to the major from their areas of concentration. If there is something uniquely Siena about the program, I’d say that it is built around the tradition of Studio Angel-ico (SHU’s art program) and much of the program is driven by the particular contributions
of the student as an individual.”

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Singing in the New Year

SHU Vatican Choir Has Memorable Visit to Italy

Most people consider New York City’s Times Square to be the ultimate place to ring in the new year.

Beth Tibbs may disagree. She and a small group of Siena Heights University students, faculty, staff and alumni and friends spent New Year’s Eve in Italy as part of the Vatican Choir. The group performed before Pope Benedict XVI as well as at several other holy sites during the 11-day trip, which Tibbs called “amazing.”

In fact, she said her group was so excited they often broke into song during the trip.

“We would stop periodically and just start singing,” said Tibbs, associate professor of music and choir director at SHU. “People would jump in front of us and want to get their pictures taken with us.”

This was the second time Tibbs took a choir to perform at the Vatican. In 2010 she led a youth choir from Arizona. During that trip, she befriended the Vatican’s head of music.

“He invited us back whenever I wanted to bring a group,” Tibbs said. “When I got the job at Siena (in August 2011), I thought it would be a perfect fit for us to go to Italy and perform. I thought it would be really important for us to include all the different things that are connected to Siena Heights.”

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