David R. Hopkins — who led Wright State University during a campus expansion, record levels of enrollment and fundraising and national recognition for community service and being disability and military friendly — will retire as president when his contract expires June 30, 2017.
Hopkins, 67, the sixth president of Wright State and who has held the office since 2007, announced his retirement plans to the campus May 2.
“Serving as the president of this great university has truly been the most gratifying experience of my 42-year career in higher education,” Hopkins said. “My goal was to lead Wright State to become a more relevant public research university in meeting the 21st century needs of our students and the communities we serve. To achieve that, we have aspired not to be the best university in the world, but rather the best university FOR the world.”
Hopkins had originally intended to retire in 2015, but agreed to a contract extension in order to finish important university initiatives, including campus expansion, the Rise. Shine. Campaign, high profile joint visits from Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and Pulitzer Prize-winner David McCullough and hosting the first general election presidential debate in 2016.
“I could not be prouder of our successes and historic milestones because we have accomplished it all together,” Hopkins said in his message to students, faculty and staff. “I know my successor will be just as inspired as I am by your talents, acumen, service and scholarship, and will be driven to lead our campus into the future armed with the knowledge and success of the past.”
“President Hopkins has been a passionate and visionary leader for Wright State University,” said Michael Bridges, chair of the Wright State University Board of Trustees. “His service has led the university to excel in countless areas, including neuroscience, student success and the arts, just to name a few. Our work will begin today to identify and hire the next great leader for Wright State.”
Under Hopkins’ leadership, the university has built the Student Success Center, which features high-tech, active-learning classrooms as well as writing and math support labs; the Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building, which promises to spawn pioneering research and medical breakthroughs by housing the collective brainpower of top neuroscientists, engineers and clinicians; and opened the Wright State Research Institute.
In addition, a record $152 million has been raised in the Rise. Shine. fundraising campaign, co-chaired by Tom Hanks and Amanda Wright Lane. This effort will further elevate the school’s pre-eminence by expanding scholarships, endowing professorships and supporting construction of state-of-the-art facilities such as the Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures.
“My entire career has been about building an environment where students from all backgrounds can achieve their dreams of an affordable, high-quality education,” said Hopkins. “In addition, I have tried for 10 years to enhance our engagement with the community and bring greater visibility to Wright State. I’m really proud of what we have done.”
Hopkins holds a doctorate in kinesiology from Indiana University. Prior to his doctoral work, he received his master’s degree in mathematics and his bachelor’s in physical education from the College of Wooster, Ohio.
Hopkins came to Wright State from Indiana State University, where he served from 2001 to 2003 as senior associate vice president for academic affairs and interim dean of the School of Business.
He served as provost of Wright State from 2003 until his appointment as president in February 2007.
Hopkins is chair of the Inter-University Council of Ohio. In 2010, he was chosen as one of the 25 most influential people in the Dayton region by the Dayton Business Journal and was named the Dayton Business Journal’s Regional Leader of the Year in 2012. He was also presented with the 2013 Air Force Ambassador Award and 2013 Dayton Hispanic Chamber President’s Award.