William F. Hooper was an honored, native son of California.
He grew up in Hollywood and attended Hollywood High School where he graduated as class president. During his high school years he excelled academically and athletically playing for the school basketball team. Mr. Hooper distinguished himself as a member of the ROTC band and the school orchestra, and was selected for the All City Orchestra. He spent his high school vacations working as a bellhop, scullion, dishwasher, elevator boy and an ordinary seaman on the Matson Line and the American Hawaiian Steamship Company ships.
Following high school, William Hooper attended Kiski Prep School in Pennsylvania and was subsequently accepted at Stanford University. The athletic prowess he demonstrated in high school was equally on display at the university as a member of the Stanford National Championship Basketball Team. He was soon inducted in the U.S. Army and sent to Artillery School in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he received his commission as a 2nd lieutenant. He was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama and from there shipped overseas to the battlefronts of Europe. Lieutenant Hooper was assigned to the vaunted Third Army under General George Patton, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and numerous other military engagements. Wounded in action, Lt. Hooper received the Purple Heart, and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. While serving in the European theater, he was promoted to the rank of Captain.
After returning home to California, following his honorable discharge from the army, William Hooper resumed his studies at Stanford to complete his Bachelor degree. Upon graduation from Stanford University, he started working in the insurance industry; however, his new career came to an abrupt halt as Captain Hooper was again called upon to serve his country in the Korean conflict.
It was during a stint as an ROTC Instructor at Van Nuys High School in the San Fernando Valley that Bill Hooper became keenly aware of the need to insure student athletes. With his athletic background, he soon had his ROTC students out on the fields playing sports. In the process, he realized the need of insurance for athletes who were getting hurt while playing school sanctioned sports and could not receive the necessary medical care for lack of money or medical insurance.
By October 1960, when an airplane carrying the San Luis Obispo football team crashed at the Toledo Airport following a game against Bowling Green University killing some twenty players, the coach and manager, Bill Hooper knew the time had come for mandatory insurance for school athletes. He sought and obtained the ear of then-assemblyman John Vasconcellos, and with the support of other state lawmakers, Bill succeeded in changing the California Education Code by making insurance mandatory for all student athletes. Following that historic achievement, he traveled throughout California to as many schools and colleges as possible offering his objective and commitment: The best insurance products and the best services to students of all ages.
Bill Hooper was a member of the West Los Angles little league governing board and served as its president. He was very active in the West Los Angeles Rotary Club for years, and devoted his life to encouraging young people to succeed in sports and honor sportsmanship. Before his retirement, Bill sponsored the Brentwood 10 K race for fifteen years. This annual event attracted some 3,000 runners on Memorial Day weekend. His generosity and dedication to students, student athletes and their causes is well known in schools and colleges throughout the state.
The California Community Colleges Athletic Directors Association invited Bill to become a member, which was a unique honor. In the long history of the association, he is the only individual invited to join who was not an athletic director. He was an associate member of the California Association of School Business Officials, and director of the Associates Members Committee. At the request of Governor Pete Wilson, and with the unanimous approval of the state Senate Rules Committee, Bill also served as a member of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority.
The staff of Student Insurance strives unceasingly to honor the vision, commitment and dedication of our founder, William F. Hooper, because he is an unparalleled inspiration.