Alumni Perspective: Bison Gameday Through the Lens of Marc Hooks, ’90

September 16, 2016

Marc Hooks is a seasoned communicator, photojournalist, missionary, and church planter.

He has captured images in more than 30 countries, publishing them worldwide. He has traveled throughout Russia, documenting many of the people groups across that vast country. His photo essays and street portraits from across Europe tell the stories of the places and people whom he has met along the way. For more than a quarter of a century, he has built a career in storytelling, not only through photography, but also radio, television, newspaper, video, and multimedia production.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Hooks brought his view of the world, and the lens through which he has captured it, to Bison Hill. For the love of his alma mater and love of the football gameday experience, he documented what gameday on Bison Hill is all about. The action. The excitement. The colors and the pageantry. The student athletes and halftime performances. The sounds of the Bison Brigade, the chants and routines of the cheerleaders and pom team.

BisonGameday-Episode 1-Home Opener from Marc Ira Hooks on Vimeo.

Marc Hooks brought his passion for storytelling home to OBU, to show the world what gameday is like on Bison Hill. Not for pay and not for recognition. But for his love of all things Green and Gold.

“It really started as a personal project,” he said, of his idea to document gameday. “I love to shoot photos, and I love OBU, so it seemed to be a good project. When my daughter decided to attend OBU this year, that was just an added bonus and gave me an excuse to come to Shawnee and see her. And, in some small way, it has allowed me to give back to the place that has given me so much.”

He was able to attend two games last season, while stateside working for the IMB, and relished the opportunity to experience it once again.

“For those of us who did not have football during our years at OBU, this is a very exciting time. Many of my former classmates and I have followed Bison Football online since the inaugural year.”

His passion for visual storytelling began at a young age.

“I started learning photography when I was in grade school. While at OBU, I studied telecommunication and practically lived in Sarkeys [Telecommunication Center]. At that time and for many years after, I was really known as a ‘video guy.’ I then spent part of my career as a writer and print journalist. But it was during my time with the IMB that I really married those things together and became a photojournalist. Above all, I am a storyteller.”

He served with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board from 2007 to 2016 and was based in Moscow, Prague and Vienna.

“I was a missionary and church planter in the cities where I lived, and I also worked as a photojournalist covering IMB personnel and other believers across Europe for IMB publications and Baptist Press. My family and I also were responsible for coordinating Southern Baptists who came to Sochi to do evangelism during the 2014 Winter Olympics.”

Hooks has always been proud to be a Bison.

“Being an OBU alumnus means everything. I would not be the man I am today without my experiences at OBU, and that applies equally to both my personal and professional life. Plus, 30 years later, the closest friends I have are those I met during my time at OBU.”

He is equally proud and excited that one of his children, Hannah, is now a student on Bison Hill.

“My wish for my children is for them to have the same kind of college experience that I had, and for them, as adults, to feel the same way about their alma matter that I do. Having one of them decide to attend OBU is special. She is now part of a bigger family, one with shared history and traditions, and a reputation for academic excellence.”

As an alumnus, he has been proud to see the progress and accomplishments of his alma mater over the past 26 years, and was always excited when he met fellow alumni all around the world.

“I think that a friend and former classmate said it best when he said, ‘The OBU our children are attending is far superior to the one we attended … and that one was pretty good.’ We are grateful that OBU has continued its tradition of excellence. And, we discovered first-hand that ‘the sun never sets on the OBU family.’ There was something special about knowing that, as we served overseas and met other OBU alumni, no matter where in the world we were.”

Marc Hooks has a passion for storytelling and a passion for OBU. The images he captured on this Saturday in September tell the story of a gameday on Bison Hill … a gameday experienced through the lens of a man who was forever changed by his beloved alma mater.

Marc Hooks is a 1990 OBU alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He currently serves as the associate director of missions / director of communication for Collin Baptist Association in Texas and enjoys using photos and stories to document what God is doing among the people and churches in northeast Dallas. He is an active member of the Baptist Communicators Association and is a frequent contributor to various Southern Baptist publications, including Baptist Press. He and his wife, Kellye, reside in McKinney, Texas, with their teenage son, John. They also have two adult children, Sarah Beth and Hannah.