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University of Missouri

Hooked on Service

Mizzou Alumni Association presents Faculty-Alumni Awards.

Harold Hook

Photo courtesy of Harold Hook.

Harold Hook’s secret to success is to ask himself three questions: Am I doing what I want to be doing? Am I going where I want to go? Am I becoming the person I want to be? Then he does whatever will make it easier to answer yes.

The habit has worked for Hook, BS BA ’53, M Acc ’54, LLD ’83, who received the Mizzou Alumni Association’s 58th Distinguished Service Award in October 2013.

Since becoming the youngest life insurance company president in the nation in 1962 at age 31, Hook has been an innovator in the field of professional management. In 1971, he founded Main Event Management Corp., a management training company that uses a program he developed called Model-Netics. Hook served as president of three major life insurance companies before he turned 40, eventually settling at the Houston-based American General Corp., where he spent 18 years as chair and CEO before retiring in 1997.

Although business acumen was important to Hook’s success, he also credits his early experiences in service. A recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (given for distinguished service for a period of at least 25 years after attaining the level of Eagle Scout), he has served as national president of the Boy Scouts of America as well as at more than 20 civic and philanthropic affiliations.

His service to MU includes being a member of the Trulaske College of Business strategic development board and the For All We Call Mizzou campaign steering committee. In 2005, Hook and his wife, Joanne Hunt Hook, BS Ed ’55, gave $2 million to the College of Education.

My attitude was to select a few things to be involved in and to make as big a contribution as I could as opposed to getting involved in a long string of them,” Hook says. “As it turns out, there’s quite a long string — but I’ve been at it a long time.”

Other award recipients include:

54th Distinguished Faculty Award:

  • Ruth Brent Tofle, BS HE ’72, department chair and professor of architectural studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences

46th Faculty-Alumni Award recipients include:

Alumni Awards:

Faculty Awards: