Longtime Vicksburg resident Pat Hopson comments on Lifetime Achievement Award
Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Vicksburg resident Pat Hopson will receive the highest humanitarian honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Mississippi Pinnacle Awards.
The Mississippi Pinnacle Awards honor excellence, professionalism, and outstanding achievement in sales, marketing, and community engagement and showcase the highest level of public relations talent in the state.
Hopson, an Oxford native and longtime Vicksburg resident who has been a leader in Mississippi art, entertainment, education, business, and philanthropy for decades, said, “I am quite honored and very humbled by this award particularly at this late age in my life. And I feel very blessed that I have lived a life that has been so full and had a wonderful husband that allowed me to do things that I have enjoyed and thankful I had children that also helped me along the way and supported my endeavors as well,” she said.
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Hopson’s life has included a stint of more than 40 years of volunteering with the Miss Mississippi Pageant beginning as a hostess and, eventually, Miss America Franchise Holder, Miss Mississippi vice president and executive producer of the live television production seen statewide and streamed nationwide. Her shows were nominated eight times and won three Emmys.
And she, along with her husband the late Dr. Briggs Hopson, Jr., who was a former president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, also established Mississippi as the first in the nation in Miss America cash scholarships by awarding millions of dollars to educate young women in Mississippi.
“I never entered the pageant ever expecting anything for me. I began working with the pageant for the enjoyment of trying to help Mississippi be as well prepared as we could be to do well at the national level. And I was very interested in the scholarship portion of the pageant and the opportunity not only for young women to get money for their education, but to also be able to have a showcase for their talent, so if they had a career in mind in the field of music or whatever their talent may be, they would have a platform,” Hopson said.
In addition to her work with the Miss Mississippi Pageant, through the years Hopson has also volunteered with Crawford Street United Methodist Church; Committee for the Mississippi Dresden Exhibit; First International Ballet Committee; Vicksburg Convention Center Advisory Board, Charter Member; First Ole Miss Drive for Athletics Committee; chaired the Fordice Inaugural Governor’s Mansion Reception for 10,000 attendees; Designing Consultant for Mississippi First Lady’s Inaugural Gown; historical consultant for the Robert Dafford River Mural on the Vicksburg Waterfront; Mississippi’s 12 Outstanding Women; 40-Year Miss America Volunteer Award; Mississippi State Medical Alliance; West Mississippi Medical Alliance, president; life member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary; and life member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association.
Hopson said she has felt blessed from all her volunteering.
“I have had so many people come into my life while I was volunteering to help them that they have become a part of my life,” Hopson said. “And I am the one that is blessed from all the years of volunteering.”
Hopson said without the support of her family she would not have been able to do all that she has done.
“I think it (being able to spend hours volunteering) has been because I have had such a supportive family and there would have been no way had they not been so supportive. They always joined in, and we always helped one another in what we were doing,” she said.
Having studied art and education at the University of Memphis, Ole Miss, the Memphis Academy of Art, and Mississippi College under Dr. Sam Gore, Hopson remains dedicated to and actively supports both the Dr. Briggs Hopson Jr. Medical Scholarship at the Miss Mississippi Corporation and the Pat Hopson Art Scholarship at Ole Miss.
Hopson is retired as president and designer of Pat Hopson Swimsuits.
Hopson’s adult children are Realtor Karen Hopson Hall; Mississippi Senate Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson III; AmeriCorps NCCC Regional Director Kathy Hopson Ricks; and University of South Alabama assistant football coach Jay Hopson.
Humanitarian Award honorees will be formally presented at an awards gala to take place at Lake Terrace Convention Center on April 11 in Hattiesburg. The black-tie event will celebrate the accomplishments of statewide finalists before naming the 2023 Mississippi Pinnacle Awards winners.