Cliff Hopkins '92: From UMass Boston to Top Google Post
by Nanette Cormier
When Cliff Hopkins transferred to UMass Boston in 1990, he discovered something wonderful: profound acceptance and universal encouragement to realize his potential. The desire to ensure that those qualities endure in a UMass Boston education inspired him to join the Chancellor’s Council, whose members form the cornerstone of university philanthropy through leadership gifts of $1,000 or more.
He says the university’s “dynamic culture and quality faculty” contributed to his success at the College of Liberal Arts. Hopkins’s achievements were recognized when he graduated summa cum laude.
“The confidence I gained at UMass Boston permeated my work life,” he says. Following graduation, he received a national Outstanding Scholars award to work in public policy for federal food programs in Boston and Washington, D.C. A few years later, during the Clinton administration, he was in charge of food policy issues at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Hopkins made the transition from public policy to marketing during an exciting period of Internet growth, first joining MCI (now called Verizon) in Washington, D.C. He found his niche in high technology, which led to positions at AOL and PayPal. He began his post at Google in 2011.
At Google, Hopkins ensures that the company excels at its mission by focusing on getting people answers through mobile devices. He believes his work at Google enriches people’s lives everywhere. Google saves time and “frees people up to live, laugh, and love . . . the things that really matter,” he says.
It was an easy “yes” when Hopkins was invited to make a gift at the Chancellor’s Council level. UMass Boston allowed him to launch his personal and professional life with confidence. He wants that experience for today’s students, too.
Hopkins’s first-time gift of $5,000 was matched by the Alumni Association’s matching gifts program, which increased it to $7,500. “I believe in democracy and the need for all people to have access to education, and a great education at that,” he says.