The Hoeper family is honored with the 2023 Outstanding Philanthropist Award for its support of the Nicolet College Foundation and other organizations. Pictured from left, Page Hoeper, Barbara Hoeper and Peter Hoeper. Submitted photo
Hoeper family receives award for work with Nicolet College Foundation
For the Star Journal
RHINELANDER – The Hoeper family’s commitment to helping to provide access to higher education at Nicolet College in Rhinelander started in 1983. Mary Alice “Jill” Hoeper, a World War II flight nurse, and her husband Paul Edward “Pat” Hoeper, a P-51 fighter pilot, shared a commitment to service that extended beyond their military duties. In 1983, when Pat passed away, Jill established the Pat Hoeper Memorial Scholarship with the Nicolet College Foundation in Rhinelander. Her vision was twofold: to honor Pat’s memory and support nursing students at Nicolet College.
Today, that vision lives on through her family. Jill’s deep love for the community and belief in the importance of community colleges guided her decision. She once expressed, “We love this area, we love Nicolet, and we’ve always felt that community colleges are so very important.”
For nearly two decades one of the Hoeper’s sons, Paul “Page” Hoeper and his wife Barbara have been annual donors, dedicating their support to the scholarship in Pat’s name. Page emphasized the importance of Nicolet College to the local community.
“Nursing scholarships help create nurses who stay in the community, which helps hold the community together,” he said. “If you don’t have good health care, you won’t have a good community for very long.”
Most Nicolet College graduates continue to live and work in the Nicolet College District, benefiting the entire community.
Jill passed away in 2021 at the age of 101. In memory of their beloved mother, all three of her sons, Page, Peter and Jeff, made contributions to the Nicolet College Foundation. The endowment has since been renamed the Pat and Jill Hoeper Memorial Endowment.
This endowment has provided scholarships to 40 students to date, making a lasting impact on the lives of Nicolet College students. Of the Hoepers, a recent scholarship recipient said they “were an admirable couple who gave much for others in their service to our country. They continue to touch people’s lives through their scholarship endowment. I am deeply touched by Mr. and Mrs. Hoeper’s lives and their gift.”
This year, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northeast Wisconsin Chapter selected the Hoeper family to receive its 2023 Outstanding Philanthropist Award. Heather Schallock, Nicolet College Foundation executive director, nominated the family.
“The Hoeper family’s generosity and commitment to Nicolet College has made a lasting impact on our community,” said Schallock. “It’s an honor to recognize them, and we are grateful to have their trust.”
The family was being officially recognized on National Philanthropy Day November 16, 2023, in Appleton.
Their philanthropy goes beyond Nicolet College, with each sibling actively contributing to other causes that are also important to them. Page Hoeper said they believe in the power of giving back to the community and supporting organizations that make a difference.
“Somebody has to lead the way,” he said. “We don’t think of ourselves in that way, but if someone finds inspiration from us, that would be great.”
Because of Page’s support, and his own dedication and work on key committees at the Annenberg Foundation based in Los Angeles, Calif., Annenburg is now also a Nicolet College Foundation donor.
“Barbara and I didn’t start out with huge numbers of resources,” Page said. “We never thought we’d be in a position to make any sort of substantial contributions to charities. It’s so great that this has happened in our lives.”
Jill Hoeper’s actions four decades ago fostered a genuine spirit of giving in her children, resulting in a lifetime of philanthropy that has touched countless lives and communities.
The Hoeper family’s dedication to supporting education and their community continues to inspire and transform the lives of many. Their story exemplifies the power of philanthropy to create lasting change.