After 30 years of serving his alma-mater, Vice President of Enrollment Chris Hooker-Haring is getting ready to retire.
Hooker-Haring graduated from the College with an English major in 1972 and took up jobs in admissions at Cedar Crest, Lafayette and Moravian before returning to ‘Berg.
“When I was here [as an undergrad] I kind of envisioned a writing career for myself,” said Hooker-Haring.
During his time as an undergrad, Hooker-Haring was a singer in the College band Institution of Sound, a tour guide, played Tulsa in Gypsy and served as vocal director his senior year. What he loved the most, though, were the English classes, which he said ended up being one of the many reasons for his return to campus.
He added that when he attended Muhlenberg, everyone at the College was paired with an upperclassman to be their “big brother” or a “big sister.” His big brother graduated and took up a job in admissions, which he then suggested to Hooker-Haring.
“My big brother from Muhlenberg was saying to me that ‘you should really think about a career in college admissions,” said Hooker-Haring, “You love being on a college campus, you really like working with high school kids, this would be a great career for you.”
After working as Director of Publications at Moravian for seven years, Hooker-Haring returned to ‘Berg in 1987 as Senior Associate Director of Admission, when the College was trying to turn over a new leaf in their publications.
“I was happy to have the chance to return to my alma mater to work in the admissions office,” said Hooker-Haring. “You never really expect at the start of a long tenure like this to still be here 30 years later, but it has been an honor to have had the chance to represent Muhlenberg for all of these years.”
Two years later he was named Director of Admission and then Dean in 1993. He became Dean of Admission and Financial Aid in 1996 and was promoted to his current title of Vice President of Enrollment Management two years ago.
Hooker-Haring said the best part of working on a college campus is the energy.
“College campuses are exciting places,” said Hooker-Haring. “There is an energy and a stimulation when you are working with young people, and with smart, dedicated faculty and staff, that is hard to replicate elsewhere. I’ll miss being part of that energy and being part of the important work that gets done here at Muhlenberg every day.”
What he’ll miss the most, however, are the people here.
“My favorite memories all involve Muhlenberg people — students, faculty, staff colleagues, alumni. It has been fun to see so many wonderful students come through Muhlenberg and to watch them grow during their four years here and then go off into the world to do great things,” said Hooker-Haring. “And I have had wonderful colleagues in admissions and financial aid — people like Melissa Falk, Greg Mitton, Cindy Amaya Santiago, Kim Stolarik, Phil Weisgold, Kim Nguyen, Eric Thompson and many others — who have inspired me every day with their love of students and their love of Muhlenberg.”
The best part of working with students, whether it’s as tour guides, campus delegates, or members of the multicultural center center, Hooker- Haring says is, watching them grow up.
“For me,” said Hooker-Haring, “it’s fun to see the students develop while they’re here and then continue to develop as human beings after they graduate.”
As for what he’s doing after retirement, Hooker-Haring said he’d love to travel.
“My wife and I have wanted to travel, and the demands of the job have not allowed that to the extent that we would have liked,” said Hooker-Haring. “So we are hoping to get back to Ireland and also to visit Tuscany.”
As for everything else, Hooker-Haring isn’t certain, but that’s the fun part.
“I have been so busy that I have not thought deeply yet about what my ‘next chapter’ will be,” said Hooker-Haring, “but that will be part of the adventure once I’m retired!”