School of Communication 30th Anniversary Event Honors Diane Hope

Kelli O’Connor ’98 is one of hundreds of School of Communication alumni who were deeply touched by Dr. Hope’s teaching and mentoring.

More than 100 alumni from RIT’s School of Communication joined together during Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of the first degree program in communication. But everyone present had a second reason for being there, and that was to honor beloved faculty member and co-founder of the program, Dr. Diane Hope. A tribute to Professor Hope, who passed away in 2012, was the center point of the evening.

Several faculty members from the School shared memories of Dr. Hope, and called for alumni and friends who were touched by her life to support the Diane Hope Student Support Fund. This fund was established in 2012 by a group of alumni who Dr. Hope impacted to provide direct student support that includes funding student events, student travel to research conferences, and student scholarships. The fund has made student activities and scholarship possible, reflecting Dr. Hope’s interest in driving student research and her deep connection with her students.

Kelli O’Connor ’98, was one of the alumni attending the event who felt a deep connection to Diane Hope. “I walked into Diane's classroom and her demeanor, the air of confidence in knowing she was in the right place, doing the right thing, was electric!” says O’Connor. “I learned more than just the items in her curriculum. The lessons of understanding were inspiring, and her rich history of social justice made a strong, lasting impression on me – something I hope to pass on to my two daughters.” 

The fund is not endowed, and gifts must be made each year to continue providing support. To honor Dr. Hope with a gift to the Diane Hope Student Support Fund, please visit, select “Your gift, your choice” in the Designations section, and scroll to College of Liberal Arts funds, which include the Diane Hope Student Support Fund. 

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Diane Hope, view this story published in Reporter Magazine following her death