HCC ANNOUNCES 2017 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS
Henderson Community College announced its 2017 Distinguished Alumnus, Ben Hopper, at its Graduation Ceremonies on Friday, December 8, 2017. Hopper was a student at HCC from 1994-1996, graduating with an Associate in Arts Degree in May 1996. The award acknowledges Hopper’s strong advocacy of Henderson Community College and the value of a community college education. Hopper states, “I came to HCC having no idea what I wanted to do for a career or otherwise. While originally declaring a Computer Science major, the physics and calculus classes I took made me realize what my true interests were, and I transferred to UK as an English major with a minor in Art. HCC presented me with opportunities and allowed me to discover what I was good at. In pursuing those interests, I saw new opportunities present themselves, and I came to realize that’s how life works. None of this would have happened without the support and encouragement of the excellent faculty at HCC.”
While at HCC, Hopper was the staff cartoonist for the student newspaper, The Hill. During his time on The Hill, he was awarded the top award for cartoon strips two years in a row by the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association. He received a second place award from the USA Today National Cartoon Strip contest in 1995, a contest for all college and university papers. Hopper continued his cartooning at the University of Kentucky for The Kernel; he is still creating his cartoon strip, Newt and Germ, on his blog site today.
Upon graduation from the University of Kentucky, Hopper began working at The Gleaner newsroom. After three years at his hometown newspaper, he restarted his career in 2002 by attending the DigiPen Institute of Technology and has been making art and animation for video games ever since. He has worked on a wide variety of projects and platforms on development teams of all sizes. He was lead artist and animator on 2D mobile action games like "Spider-Man 2: The Hero Returns" and "Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile," and was a lead motion capture animator at Snowblind Studios before moving to Signal Studios, where he was an animator on "Toy Soldiers: Cold War" and "Toy Soldiers: War Chest," as well as the lead animator on the action role-playing game "Ascend" -- all for Xbox Live Arcade. Sony, Disney, Warner Bros., Microsoft and Ubisoft are among the publishers he has worked with throughout his career. Currently he works for Wargaming Seattle, which is part of Wargaming.net (Wargaming Group Ltd.). Their flagship title is World of Tanks. Hopper also self-publishes the webcomic, “Smoked Salmon,” at smokedsalmoncomic.com.
HCC President Kris Williams notes, “Henderson Community College is proud of its students and its graduates. HCC alumni like Ben Hopper excel in their fields and our faculty and staff help them get that strong start. Congratulations to Ben and to all he has and will achieve.”