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Gail Cooper: A look at the woman behind the IS Updates

Posted on 11.20.2013

Many students at the University of Indianapolis know Gail Cooper as the lady who sends the emails letting everyone know when ACE is down, again. But most do not know who she is outside of her position as communications manager in the Information Systems office.


Gail Cooper

Associate Vice President of Information Systems and Instructional Tech Services Steve Herriford arrived at UIndy around the same time Cooper did seven years ago. The two became friends, with Herriford and his wife and Cooper and her husband going out for the occasional double-date. Herriford also described her as the “office Pollyanna.”
“I know she hates it,” Herriford said, followed by a laugh. “But she really is the Pollyanna. She’s able to perk up everyone in the office. Whenever you see her desk, there’s a hub of activity, and she’s always laughing and smiling.”
Herriford added that Cooper is funny, always telling jokes and double entendres that would be better left off-the-record.
Cooper is a Maine native who grew up 15 minutes away from the Canadian border. Her husband is an Indiana native, who was born and raised in Carmel, which is why the couple decided to settle and raise a family in Indianapolis.
In 2006, she came to UIndy and took a job as the administrative assistant in the Information Systems office, a role that she says has grown exponentially.
“I’m fortunate enough to work with a group of people who are willing to share their knowledge and work with someone who had no background in technology,” Cooper said. “They have patiently explained their technical jargon and laughed ‘with’ me when I have blundered my way through explaining it back. They have gone the extra mile on many occasions to walk me through the intricacies of processes and projects.”
Cooper said that her job now entails controlling the flow of information both within and outside of the office, coordinating the flow outside, managing daily office happenings and managing the budget for Informational Systems. She played a large role in the switch from Zimbra to Gmail earlier this semester,  helping to orchestrate it as well as keep up the morale among the IS team members.
She said she was very confident that the network refresh would go well, telling them that the Gmail switch was going to be great, which she is sometimes teased about.
“I knew full well that we’d have a few hurdles over the weekend, but my confidence came from working with these people [the staff] for seven years and seeing them overcome some really high-stress situations before,” Cooper said. “There were a few hurdles that I think aged a few people several years. And if I would have said ‘it’s gonna be great,’ they would have tarred and feathered me without question. But a few weeks later, we saw the switch had been great for campus at large, and all their hard work and worry had been worth it.”
Cooper said she thinks that having a positive impact on everyone she interacts with in the office is important, as well as in other areas of her life. She and her husband have two children, whom she homeschooled. Their daughter, UIndy alumna Courtney Cooper Tiller, is a registered nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit and finishing up a master’s degree to be a nurse practitioner. Their son, Evan, is a private contractor/intern engineer at SpaceX and finishing up his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at IUPUI. Cooper said she considers her children her proudest accomplishment.
“I’d like to think I played a role in their individual successes,” Cooper said. “You had asked, ‘What is Gail Cooper about?’ and it’s them. I think the investment I made in my children would be the heart and soul of who I am.”


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