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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Ronnette Hope '07 (she/her)

Director of Alumni

Know Your Pelicans

Why did you choose to work at Packer?

Among my Packer friends, the running joke is that they thought I already worked here. Over the years, it has been a pleasure to be an active alumna. So on the eve of my 15th reunion, I took a chance and thought why not make it official? Packer is the place that changed the trajectory of my life; the lessons learned here enriched and empowered me. It's surreal to be back in at my alma mater. It's awe-inspiring to see how much so is the same and at the same time so different.

Where did you go to school? What degrees did you earn? What is your highest level of education?

I attended Packer, earned a BA at Northwestern University, a MSLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science) at the Pratt Institute, and then I arrived at Packer again.

What are the strengths of your department?

It's deeply corny and nerdy, but I've become a literal bleeding heart pelican. The school's mascot is derived from a medieval symbol known for charity and nurturing, "a pelican in her piety." I find myself beaming with pride anytime I hear about any Packer alum's accomplishments, small or large; whenever possible, I want to be a resource to my peers on their journeys. I love chatting with current students or an alumna from the 1950s; our shared history is rich. Every generation in its own way meets life's challenges and joys, it's thrilling when alumni gather together and realize that they have so much in common.

What are your impressions of Packer so far? Our students? Your colleagues? 

It's a surreal experience- the past and present are happening concurrently. My current office is in the 7th & 8th Grade Hallway when I started back in 2001. There are traditions I have missed that I can't wait to participate in like Pumpkin Patch, May Day or simply going to Chapel. Some of my colleagues use to be my teachers and are now friends, never without a word of advice after all this time.

Tell us about a specific time you found your job especially rewarding.

Having a library and archive background, I love being able to look at old yearbooks or PCIs and learn something I didn't know about the school or try to solve a mystery. For example, then First Lady Rosalynn Carter gave the Packer Garden a national award, recognizing the space for its environmental impact and improving the quality of life of the community. My current mystery is the women in the Junior College Class of 1970 all wore matching necklaces in their yearbook photos, I hope I'll get to learn about this lost tradition.

If you had an inspirational fridge magnet, what would it say and why?

”Joy is an act of resistance” - Toi Derricotte. Joy contradicts the rigidity and control of oppressive structures; joy fuels the "energy for change" and it helps us see humanity and have hope. Joy is one of our school's values. There have been times (and there probably will be times again) as a Black woman, I've had to work harder to find joy here. However, the pursuit of joy in my life, my work, the students, and the greater community keeps me motivated. My quick hit of joy is Disco music; nothing gets in my way after, I play Diana Ross's "The Boss" on repeat.

What is something that most Packer people wouldn't know about you?

I love going to concerts alone. There's something special about being "alone together"- everyone at the show is there to enjoy the same thing but I get to bop along in my own aural haven. BADBADNOTGOOD at Brooklyn Steel was the last concert I went to; now that COVID is more under control, I can't wait to go to more shows.


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