Wesley Hooks portraitWesley Hooks, technical director at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith joined hundreds of professionals from across the country in Washington D.C. this September for the National Role Models Conference, where he was honored with Minority Access Incorporated’s esteemed Mentor Role Model award. 


“Receiving this awards means a lot, but for me, what we do for others is what matters most,” said Hooks. “Serving and helping others is my gift to those who need encouragement along life’s journey.  I’m blessed to be the vehicle that God chose to use for this purpose and this season in which we are living,” he continued. 


Minority Access Inc., assists higher education, government and corporate institutions in diversifying their campuses and workplaces, with a specialized focus on recruiting, retaining and enhancing underrepresented populations. At MA Inc.’s National Role Models Conference, role models and high achievers from across the nation join with administrators, practitioners, leading authorities, federal officials, and corporate executives to unite their strengths in challenging issues of prevailing inequality.


“The mission of Minority Access Inc., is important because they appreciate people for the work they do and service they provide students from all walks of life,” added Hooks. “This award also shows that MA Inc. is committed to holding us accountable in our diversity and inclusion efforts.”


Role Models are chosen for their inspiring stories of overcoming adversity and achieving success while helping others. Minority Access has honored these exemplary individuals for 20 years, in hopes of furthering participation of underrepresented populations in research, higher education and competition. 


“Wesley is a dynamic leader whose work and dedication to the UAFS community and our region has been monumental,” said UAFS Chancellor Dr. Terisa Riley. “His passion for providing scholarships to students in need is contagious, and the partnerships he has forged to increase access to higher education have made a difference in the lives of so many students. Wesley truly exemplifies our mission to engage, educate, and empower, and I am so thankful he has chosen to work at UAFS.”


Hooks, whose Role Model award noted his exemplary achievements in motivating, counseling and guiding others, was also recognized at the event as the founder of the Dr. John Montgomery Scholarship and President of Leflore County NAACP. 


“Wesley’s commitment to people is inspiring,” said Stacey Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor of Campus and Community Events, “He cares about people. He wants them to succeed and he believes strongly in education and outreach.”


Hooks joined UAFS in 2007 as a technical coordinator, after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics in 1996, and spending a decade working in operations and technical services at municipal convention centers. In addition to his service as the Le Flore County NAACP president, Hooks has served as pastor of Mt. Triumph Baptist Church in Fort Coffee, Oklahoma for the past 14 years.


“It is our duty and responsibility to give back,” Hooks said. “It is important to me to honor the work those before me did. I just want to leave my mark, knowing I tried to do my best in helping serve our community.”


Hooks is married to his wife, Shyfa Hooks, with whom he has four children, Aundrea, Karrington, Wesley Jr. and Langston.


Rachel Rodemann Putman
Photo Credits: 
Rachel Rodemann Putman
Date Posted: 
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Source URL: 
Story ID: