Person of the Month: Cynthia A. Bond Hopson, PH.D

Hometown: I am an official Arkansan now, and I live in and love Maumelle—before that Cordova, Tenn.

Family: Widow of Rev. Roger A. Hopson, a United Methodist administrator and pastor. I am the second of eight children, Marcos and Angela’s mom; Kiera, Terrell, Maya and Morgan’s grandmother, Avery’s 2G (great-grandmother) and almost everybody’s Auntie or Aunt Cynthia. 

Education: B.A. in mass communications from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University); M.S. in journalism from Murray (KY) State University; Ph.D. in journalism from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Work: Interim President & CEO: Philander Smith University since July 1, 2023; formerly Equity Officer and Assistant General Secretary of the Black College Fund, General Board of Higher Education & Ministry (GBHEM), The United Methodist Church, 2005—present. By virtue of my GBHEM work, I served on the Philander Board of Trustees the past 18 years. I was a journalism professor for 16.5 years, and my students knew I loved cookies so they still send them.

Professional accomplishments: Honorary doctorate from Bethune Cookman University, Wiley College Woman of Excellence, Lifetime Achievement Award from The Thurston Group of Washington State, Francis Asbury Award for exemplary service to United Methodist higher education, University of Tennessee at Martin Civil Rights Award; I write books of devotions for women and host the Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, and One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here podcast.

Community or church activities:Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and I sing in the Centenary UMC choir.

Hobbies: Reading, writing, shopping, watching movies, speaking to women about self-care and time management.

Why Central Arkansas:  It is beautiful, full of great people, places and things.

Why are you passionate about Philander Smith University: 

Philander is amazing in so many ways, how could I not be passionate about it? We have wonderful students, engaged and brilliant faculty and staff, accomplished alums—their essence and energy absolutely feeds my soul. Every day something or someone gently reminds me that I am the caretaker of Philander’s rich legacy and bright future. To have 147 years of the ancestors’ hopes and dreams stirring in my heart and placed on my shoulders is very humbling. I fully understand that this opportunity to serve, to matter—to make a difference—is a privilege. Every morning I pray for Philander, for wisdom, and for courage, and I ask God to order my steps and help me to serve with dignity and honor as I expect, pursue and strive for excellence.