A Life Built on Faith and Service: Dr. Padrica Hopkins-Menchion ’85
Over the next several months, the Converse Annual Fund will spotlight the newest members of the Converse College Board of Trustees. These six individuals support the College with both their time and talent, helping our students to become transformative leaders who see clearly, decide wisely, and act justly. This profile of Dr. Hopkins-Menchion is the first of the series.
What inspired you to become a member of the Converse College Board of Trustees?
I was inspired to become a member of the Converse College Board of Trustees because attending Converse was integral to my career and livelihood. I wouldn’t have gone on to attend medical school, have the prestigious residency experiences that I did, and pursue a career helping one of our most vulnerable populations if I hadn’t attended Converse for my undergraduate education. I want to help the young women (and soon, in Fall 2021, the young men) who attend Converse forge a successful and selfless career in STEM.
Thinking through your personal goals, what life accomplishments are you most proud of? What would you like to check off next from your bucket list?
I’m most proud of being able to serve others and raise my children. Apart from my work in the medical field as an oncologist, I give back to my community by volunteering at health fairs and putting in time with The Medical Team, an organization that helps advocate for patients within the healthcare field. I also volunteer at my church, Word of Faith Family Worship Cathedral, as my faith is very important to me.
Equally important are my children, Kenneth Frederick and Alexandra Naomi, who keep me grounded and continue to make me a proud mother. As someone who loves travel, the next thing I’d like to cross off my bucket list is feeding my passion for both science and giving back by working with an international organization that helps career-driven women globally.
What are some of the overall impacts you hope to make during your tenure on the Converse College Board of Trustees?
As a Black woman professional in STEM, I’m looking to embody Converse’s mission of “voice, value, and vision” during my tenure on the board. I want to make sure all people’s voices are heard, that everyone’s innovation and creativity are valued, and that Converse’s administration is always working to realize our vision of a warm, welcoming, intellectually exceptional college (and shortly, university).
Converse Annual Fund is crucial because in doing so, you equip students with the financial aid, technology, resources, facilities, and the overall positive environment they need to succeed.
Why do you think it’s important to give to the Converse Annual Fund? What program/area of Converse will your next philanthropic gift support?
I think giving to the Converse Annual Fund is crucial because in doing so, you equip students with the financial aid, technology, resources, facilities, and the overall positive environment they need to succeed. I’d like to give a philanthropic gift in support of Converse’s expanding therapy programs. One of the most important revelations I’ve had in 2020, during this pandemic, is that we don’t just need to take care of our physical health: We need to take care of our mental health, too. As someone who is looking to a peaceable, more nurturing, post-pandemic future, I will gladly support Converse’s partnership with EMERGE Family Therapy and Teaching Clinic.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, was there a particular activity, project or hobby that you most enjoyed?
During quarantine, I really appreciated having more downtime to be introspective. Typically, I’d spend my free time reading and riding bikes with my children when the weather wasn’t too harsh.
What is one fun need-to-know fact about you?
I absolutely love traveling. Some of my favorite places I’ve vacationed internationally include Iceland, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, South Africa, and Holland. Closer to home, I really enjoyed visiting Mexico, Canada, and our very own Hawaii.
Where was your favorite spot on campus to relax when you were a student here?
My favorite spot on campus was Kuhn Hall. It was a place that gave me the opportunity to really delve into the world of science. It was the one place where, unlike the rest of the world in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I could feed my scientific curiosity without any boundaries based on sex.