Mary Ann and William R Hooten
DR. MARY ANN HOOTEN
Determination, self-awareness and a dedication to academia are three of the main contributors that led Dr. Mary Ann Hooten out of the corporate world and into a fulfilling career as a college psychology professor—a career Hooten says may never have happened if not for Troy University.
“[After I earned my Ph.D.,] I ended up going back and working for three more years for a Fortune 500 company, and I kept looking [for a teaching job.] But I almost quit looking. I even took my diplomas down off the wall in my office. I said ‘I guess I’m going to be this for the rest of my life…’ But then I applied to TROY.”
Now, after 15 years of teaching and mentoring TROY students, Hooten said she is excited to leave a planned gift that will open new opportunities to future psychology students who long to travel and explore the world. “I feel eternally grateful to TROY. They gave me a chance when nobody else would,” she said. “I will always have TROY in my heart. Even before I got tenure, I thought, ‘Even if I don’t get tenure, no matter what happens, if I get fired, I’m going to love TROY forever because they gave me this chance.’ That’s a big part of why I wanted to [leave a planned gift.]
“But also, in 2012, another professor and I went on a trip together,” she added. “We hiked through England, and we went to Edinburgh, Scotland, and at 43 years old, that blew my mind… I thought, ‘Look at this world out here.’ It changed my feeling about history."
With a high percentage of her students lacking the financial resources to travel, Hooten knew instantly what she wanted her planned giving legacy to be—traveling and studying abroad. “I know my students don’t have a lot of money—in fact, a lot of my students are first-generation college students, and it’s expensive to travel,” she said. “I wouldn’t have ever been able to travel as a student. But if [traveling] made that big of an impact on me at 43, imagine what kind of impact it would have on you if you’re 20!
“…I never had any role models about anything like that, and I just wanted to give back to this University because I love it so much, and I love my students,” she said. “I wanted to give them an opportunity to experience something that could really have a huge impact on the rest of their lives.”
Through Hooten’s planned giving scholarship, each awarded student will have his or her entire trip covered—airfare, hotels, museum visits, tuition, etc. “At that time in your life, you could go in any direction,” she
said. “I get to be the positive person to say, ‘Hey, you can do anything! You’re as free as a bird. The sky is the limit.’”