By Ronald Inman, DLA Energy Public Affairs
Worcester Academy graduate continues to rise to higher levels of leadership and responsibility while serving the nation with his recent promotion to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force.
Air Force Col. Scott Hopper joined the elite one percent of Air Force personnel who earn the rank and are the executive leaders of that military service April 28 during his promotion ceremony at the Defense Logistics Agency’s McNamara Headquarters Complex at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Defense Logistics Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch presided over the ceremony.
Hopper is a 1993 graduate of Worcester Academy. He has gone on to earn a Bachelor's degree and four Master's degrees and was a distinguished graduate from both the Air Command and Staff College and the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.
He credits Worcester Academy as the foundation for his successful career.
“Worcester Academy provided a very rigorous academic regimen,” said Hopper. “We would have up to three hours of homework each night. It was hard. Not to mention I was involved in sports, lots of extra-curricular activities and I worked after school. Being successful there truly required grit, determination and time management.
The Worcester Academy faculty made the most lasting impression on Hopper.
“I really don't remember the subjects as much as I remember the amazing teachers that taught them,” Hopper said. “I really enjoyed learning math from Mr. (Donald) Bloom and History with Mr. (Ted) Camp and Mr. (Caleb) Woodhouse. Ironically, I hated Spanish. I had to take Spanish with Ms. (Kate) Kane twice because I failed it the first time. Now I speak Spanish every day at home with my wife and children.
“I learned to communicate,” he continued. “Worcester Academy help refine my abilities for analytical reading, effective writing and public speaking. Mr. (Howard) Shainheit, Ms. (Janet) Shainheit, and Mr. (Ralph) Hughes were some of the teachers that really pulled that out of me.”
Worcester Academy expressed its pride in Hopper as one of its many successful alumni.
“The Worcester Academy family is very proud of Scott, and we offer him our warmest congratulations on being promoted to colonel,” said the school’s External Director of Communications, Neil Isakson. “He has aimed high, and he has served his nation well in all that he does. The Worcester Academy motto is ‘Achieve the Honorable.’ Scott, through his two-plus decades as a member of the U.S. Air Force, has done just that.”
The challenges Hopper faced in school helped him contribute to an important mission with DLA.
As America’s combat logistics support agency, the Defense Logistics Agency provides the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force other federal agencies and partner nation armed forces with a full spectrum of logistics, acquisition and technical services. DLA sources and provides nearly all of the consumable items America’s military forces need to operate – from food, fuel and energy to uniforms, medical supplies and construction material.
Hopper previously served as the Military Assistant to two former DLA Directors: Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek and Lt. Gen. Andy Busch. As a lieutenant colonel, he recently completed an assignment as Commander’s Action Group Director for Defense Logistics Agency Energy – a primary level field activity of DLA. In this role, he served as special advisor to DLA Energy Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. Martin Chapin in support of the global mission to provide the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies with comprehensive energy solutions that are effective and efficient.
Having worked for two three-star officers (Harnitchek and Busch, who retired May 4), Hopper now reports to a third in his next assignment as the Executive Officer for the incoming Director of DLA. The next Director has not yet been appointed.
Hopper spoke of his two biggest influences, academically and during his military service.
“Academically, my biggest influence was Diana Canterbury,” he said. “She and my Mom made a concerted effort to bring leadership and social awareness into the curriculum at Worcester Academy when I was there. Ms. Canterbury got me thinking about the world around me, and how I could influence it. That idea of serving the greater good of society is at the core of my decision to stay in the military all of these years.
“My biggest military influence has been at DLA,” Hopper said. “I have worked directly for two different three-star directors. Both were very different leaders and very different men. The takeaway for me is this ... you can't ‘act like a general.’ You can only be you ... and that will be good enough. This is the best kind of internship I could ask for.”
Hopper spent his high school years living on the Worcester Academy campus with his family.
Hopper’s mother, Pamela Lefferts, started as the school nurse in 1986 when he was in the sixth grade and continued to work with the school in a variety of roles for 30 years, including as a teacher, director of student life, director of residence and director of international alumni. She was recently inducted into the Worcester Academy Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know if there are words to describe how I feel about Scott’s success, but all the mothers out there will understand what I’m saying,” said Lefferts. “When you see your child rise, themselves, like this … [growing up] he loved to speak, he loved to be funny. He always cared about people and animals. In high school he was a peer leader, presenting workshops and programs to other students, helping them. This has been Scott, and who Scott is.”
“When I look at him, I see the little boy that you don’t see,” Lefferts said, “who’s just become a man doing the same extraordinary things in his life. He’s the real deal.”
What is Hopper’s personal philosophy?
“Helping people,” he said. “I have always prioritized my career as an opportunity to make a difference vice to make a dollar. The higher I go in the organization, the more people I can help.”
About Worcester Academy
Worcester Academy is an independent co-ed day and boarding school for grades 6 to 12 and postgraduates. Our urban setting, diverse community, and innovative curriculum provide each student with unique opportunities for self-discovery, academic achievement, and personal empowerment. Visit us at www.worcesteracademy.org