UST Built a Better Bob
As if it were the door to a magical masterpiece-making machine, Robert Cooper entered UST in 1977 and came out the other side forever changed. Once painfully shy, the multi-talented Cooper emerged as an outgoing individual determined to reach his goals and share his secrets to success with college students around the country.
“I was an extremely shy mess as a boy. Alcoholic father. Chronically ill mom. I had a lot of anger and tended to isolate and write stories,” Cooper said.
As a teenager, he knew he wanted to be a writer. Cooper first enrolled at University of Houston, which he remembers as big and intimidating. There, he recalls being ignored and dropping out after one semester.
Then, at his grocery store job, a co-worker told him about UST.
“It changed my life,” Cooper said. “At UST, my mentors actually had time for me. They made eye contact with me, which had not happened at U of H.”
His good instincts kicked in, directing him to enroll in drama.
“I did it to break out of my shell, and it was wonderful,” he said.
After three years at UST, he transferred to a different university so he could earn a journalism degree that was not offered at UST back then. But he credits UST’s liberal arts education in a faith-based environment with his discovery that learning was fun, not a chore.
Today, in addition to his motivational Building A Better Bob lectures, where he employs his talents as a musician and comedian, Cooper has been a college admissions officer, and in 2007 became a chiropractor. The doctorate is helpful in his role as a medical liaison for Relax the Back store in Rice Village. Cooper is also an author with several published books.
“At UST I learned discipline but I didn’t appreciate how valuable it was until I used it to get through my doctorate,” Cooper said.
As for his UST-acquired critical thinking skills, Cooper used them when learning to diagnose patients. He compares it to having an intellectual Swiss army knife.
While he has achieved a lot, Cooper shares that material accomplishment would be hollow without the higher values he developed through his liberal arts education.
“UST was a huge positive influence on my life in all ways and is truly in my heart,” Cooper said.