Vicksburg native Dr. George Hopper is HCC Alumnus of the Year

Published 7:24 pm Monday, October 15, 2018

Hinds Community College will honor Vicksburg native Dr. George Hopper as the Alumnus of the Year, as well as recognize the Alumni Service Award recipient and a new class of Sports Hall of Fame inductees on Thursday as part of the annual Homecoming activities.

Hopper, a Hinds Community College graduate, is dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University.

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Richland-based Dallas Printing is this year’s Alumni Service Award recipient. Several members of the Dallas family attended Hinds Community College. They will be recognized at the annual Alumni Dinner at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mayo Fieldhouse on the Raymond Campus.

A career in service first honed at Hinds has resulted in quite the year for Dr. Hopper (1973), dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University.

In fall 2017, Hopper won the Excellence in Leadership award from the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Stations Directors at the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities.

This year, he is being honored as Hinds Community College’s Alumnus of the Year.

“I’m honored and humbled by the recognition,” he said. “I’d like to think it’s not about me, but about all the alumni who have gone through Hinds and done well. The reason why Hinds has had so many people who have done well is that they’ve been an educational institution that does a good job educating people.”

It all began at Hinds

Hopper took science-related prerequisites in 1972-73 at Hinds and attended MSU, where he earned a bachelor’s in chemistry. His Ph.D. in plant psychology is from Virginia Tech University. He worked for a time at the University of Tennessee, then went into administration in forestry/wildlife.

He then served as dean as MSU’s College of Forest Resources. In 2010, he was tapped to head up agriculture when administration of the two colleges was combined. His current role also involves being dean for the university’s College of Forest Resources for its Forest and director for its Wildlife Research Center.

Much of Hopper’s daily interactions with students involve visits to the university’s plant or forestry research centers on or near campus or any of 16 experiment stations statewide. One such station is housed on Hinds’ Raymond Campus, as part of the T.H. Kendall III Agriculture Complex.

“I am pleased we’re able to partner with them in terms of their site and parking facilities we have there,” Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse said. “We have great partnership existing with Mississippi State and agriculture in so many different ways.”

Listening to student concerns is also a big part of Hopper’s job, first and foremost, he said.

“If they’re coming to the dean’s office, they’re coming to get something done,” he said. “The most important thing for us as administrators is whatever the first thing they say.”

It’s a skill he first learned from his experience at Hinds nearly 50 years ago, and it still resonates today as a senior administrator at the state’s premier research university.

“Hinds is still important to me and particularly to people in their district,” he said.

For tickets to the Alumni Dinner or more information, call 601-857-3363.

The 7 p.m. game against East Central Community College features the Homecoming Court, crowning of the queen and performances of the Hinds Community College Eagles band, Hi-Steppers and Alumni Hi-Steppers at Gene Murphy Field at Joe Renfroe Stadium in Raymond.