Travis Hodges

Into Africa

Travis Hodges (Col ’10, McIntire ’14)

As a first-generation college student, Travis Lee Hodges was in awe of all that the University had to offer. After taking an international relations course, though, he developed a strong interest in development politics. But a high school history teacher had turned him on to Africa, so while his colleagues were exploring ways to improve conditions in the Middle East or Latin America, Hodges found Africa, with its long history of colonization, much more compelling.

“The colonizers wrote Africa’s history,” said Hodges, an Africa-American and African Studies major. “It’s only now that people are looking at how Africa was affected by colonization and what implications that has for today.”

Now a graduate student at the McIntire School of Commerce, Hodges, who hails from Hampton, Va., hopes to pursue a career in marketing in New York City and, eventually, to set up his own fund through which he can provide resources for impoverished communities in Africa.

“I’d love to set up trade schools, for example,” Hodges said. “I think it’s one way to give someone a specific trade that they can use to set up their own business. And I’d like to put microloans into the hands of women so they can improve the community as a whole.”

Hodges didn’t wait until his career took off, however, to support the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies with his first gift to the University.

“I hope my gift will provide more awareness of the African-American and African Studies program,” he said. Ultimately, he hopes to persuade the College to upgrade the program’s status and influence by making it an academic department.