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John Hoppenthaler '85

Alumni Success Story

John Hoppenthaler '85

John HoppenthalerFrom Custodian to Poetry Professor

John Hoppenthaler '85 is a published poet and Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at East Carolina University.

After high school, he made two false starts at universities before returning to Rockland. He worked as a night custodian at Clarkstown North HS and enrolled at RCC.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to be but I had always been best at English, so I took classes with Dan Masterson and John Allman, who are largely responsible for putting me on the right path. I learned what poetry really was, and this changed everything.”

Bachelor’s degree - SUNY Brockport
MFA in Creative Writing - Virginia Commonwealth University
Chosen as personal assistant by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison
Published two books of poetry, Lives of Water (2003) and Anticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008), Carnegie Mellon University Press

“I owe much of my success to RCC and to the great people who teach there. I believe in what a community college can mean for a person. I know what doors one can open. RCC did these things for me.”


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