Educating Strong Humanist Leaders

Board Spotlight: John Hooper

About the Author:

Dr. John Hooper immediate past president of the Unitarian Universalist Humanist Association, is a retired research and development director who lives in Pittsburgh, PA. John, a long-term UU, is a Board Member and Treasurer of both The Humanist Institute and the American Humanist Association. He also serves on the boards of the Institute for Humanist Studies, and the Secular Coalition for America. John is a co-founder of the Humanists and Freethinkers of Fairfield County, CT and is now active in Pittsburgh area Humanist and secular organizations.

The early-twentieth-century American writer and historian James Truslow Adams once said, “There are two educations: one to show us how to make a living and the other how to live.” The Humanist Institute (THI) is a unique institution that purposely strives to provide both, and to do it in a creative, affordable, and participatory way.

As both a board member and an instructor at The Humanist Institute, I’ve been delighted by the curiosity, enthusiasm, and dedication of the students who choose THI to help them broaden and deepen their understanding of what it means to lead an authentic life without supernatural assumptions.

But I’m most impressed by the generative interactions that take place among the broad diversity of students in a typical class. The sense of common purpose, the bonds of trust, and the atmosphere of mutual caring that emerge from their thoughtful interactions result in an experience that changes their lives for the better.

The major aim of The Humanist Institute is to reinforce in its students the purely natural confidence that results from carefully cultivating the fertile ground of human intellect, love, and empathy. More than ever the world needs leaders with this kind of confidence.

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