Herman Hooten

Tallie Casucci

Tallie Casucci

Herman Hooten, M.S.W, is one of the featured activists in our Celebratory Retrospective on the History of African Americans in Utah.

Below is Hooten’s biography from the Celebrating Leadership in INCLUSIVE EXCELLENCE Volume 1 by the University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Health Equity and Inclusion.

Herman Hooten, M.S.W. served as the Director of the University of Utah’s Ethnic Minority Health Sciences Center and as Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine. IN these roles, Mr. Hooten recruited local students who are underrepresented in medicine and who demonstrate academic talent to attend the university with scholarship support. Mr. Hooten assisted them in pursuing careers in health care and other professional sectors. In recognition of his efforts, the University of Utah Health Science’s Office of Health Equity & Inclusion has named its travel awards after Mr. Hooten.

Mr. Hooten was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1950. He suffered from polio as a small child and was fortunate to regain strength in his legs by working with his father, a physical therapist. He was the first African American student recruited from Alabama to play football for Notre Dame University, and he played in two Cotton Bowls, in 1969 and 1971. Mr. Hooten graduated in 1972 with a degree in Sociology and moved to Utah in 1977 with his wife and daughter. In 1979, Mr. Hooten earned a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah. He passed away in 2012, leaving behind four children and two grandchildren.

Mr. Hooten’s work has left an important legacy in the community because of the impact he made on his former students, and the difference they have made in each of their communities. For example, Brian Victor, a Navajo student from Shiprock, New Mexico, has worked as an engineer for 20 years and says that Hooten has inspired him to “endeavor to make a difference in life and [his] community.” Another former student, Sharon Austin, Ph.D., also came from a small Navajo reservation town, and under Mr. Hooten’s tutelage, earned two Masters Degrees and a doctorate in Public Health. Dr. Austin is a researcher at the Veterans Administration in Salt Lake City. Lastly, Dr. Darryl Barnes, a physician, says, “Herman Hooten played a crucial role as counselor and mentor in my career and to know there is a scholarship bearing his name gives me great pleasure the Herman is still positively influencing the future of health care.”