Rob Cooper ’90 has been building the web since there was a web. Over the course of his career as an entrepreneur, tech guru and media executive, he cofounded a company that was one of the pioneering developers of content and publishing systems of the early web, in addition to starting three other companies serving media, corporate and nonprofit clients worldwide. An intellectual and innovator, he attributes his foundation—and success—to his alma mater.
“I owe my entire career to St. Louis U. High and the foundation it provided me,” says Cooper, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and St. Margaret Mary Alocoque Parish in South County.
At SLUH, Cooper was active with football, baseball, track and Sisyphus, but he found his home with Prep News. As Editor of Volume 54, Cooper says Jim Raterman, English teacher and former Prep News moderator, was his mentor and role model.
“Mr. Raterman had such an incredible influence on me,” he says. “He opened my mind to the possibilities and opportunities that language presented, and he taught me everything I’ve applied throughout my career, including managing and leading a team, as well as producing a publication, from conception to completion.”
Raterman inspired Cooper to pursue writing at Northwestern University, where he earned a B.A. with a focus on English/creative writing poetry and Slavic languages. Following college, in the early 1990s, Cooper applied the skills and leadership he acquired with Prep News to start Centerstage, a cutting-edge publishing and software company that was sold to Hollinger International in 2006.
In addition to Cooper’s transformative experience with Prep News, he is thankful for the opportunity to study Russian at SLUH. A member of the school’s first exchange contingent with Russia (then the Soviet Union), Cooper recalls his two-month trip with fondness and gratitude.
“It was foundational and cultivated a sense of responsibility and independence in me,” he says. “It also challenged me to expand my horizons and develop a global mindset that still helps me in my profession today.” Throughout his career, Cooper has held media management positions spanning the globe from the United Kingdom and Singapore to Japan and Australia.
Cooper is especially grateful for the trip because it was made possible by an anonymous donor. “My family could not afford for me to travel to the Soviet Union,” he says. “Mr. Morris (our Russian teacher) made special arrangements so I could go, and he did it in a way that nobody else knew and made me comfortable. To this day, I’m incredibly grateful for this.”
Cooper has shown his gratitude for his SLUH experience by remembering the school in his will, in addition to his annual charitable giving. After his lifetime, SLUH will receive a percentage of his estate.
He underscores the importance—and value—of planned giving. “It’s essential to plan for your future, especially if you are married and have kids. The process is easy and will benefit your loved ones in the future.”
Today, Cooper lives with his wife, Samantha, and two children, Alistair (11) and Dorothy (8), in the Boston area. He serves as managing partner at GHC Media Partners, a full-service media agency, and general manager of a local club baseball team.
“I feel it’s so important to give back to SLUH because of everything the school provided me,” Cooper says. “I owe everything to SLUH.”
If you’d like to learn how you can give back to SLUH through a gift in your will, like Cooper did, contact Linda Domeyer at (314) 269-2113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.