image of Pamela Cooper

Pamela Cooper

Director of the Career Center Pam Cooper has been named the recipient of the Neal R. Gamsky Award. She will be honored at the Founders Day Convocation on February 16.

Cooper has been a member of the Career Center staff for almost 17 years. Prior to becoming director, she served in the roles of career advisor, assistant director for professional practice, and associate director for employer relations. Cooper began her career with Illinois State University in the High Potential Students/Special Services Program.

A 1994 graduate of Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, she also earned a master’s degree from ISU in education in 2000.

Cooper created the Cultural Career Network (CCN) to prepare students of diverse backgrounds for the workplace, providing students with networking opportunities to connect with key alumni and employers. Hundreds of students have benefited from the CCN, attributing a significant portion of their career success to what they learned from Cooper’s visionary initiative.

She has been described as a “servant leader” who leads with humility without expectation of recognition. Known as approachable and compassionate, Cooper blends together the notion of challenge and support in an effort to empower students to acknowledge where they are and to develop a future full of opportunity.

Throughout her career, she has always made one-on-one time with students a priority and understands the value of each encounter.  She dedicates herself to advising student organizations and is devoted to mentoring students and staff across campus.

Neal Gamsky was vice president and dean of Student Affairs at Illinois State from 1973 to 1991. He established an endowment to recognize a Division of Student Affairs staff member who made outstanding contributions to the quality of life for students, and who promoted excellence in individual effort and concern for the quality of the campus environment through service and support.