Mississippi State's College of Forest Resources is partnering with the Mississippi Forestry Association to create the George M. Hopper CFR/MFA Student Development Endowment Fund in honor of the retired dean.
The Mississippi Forestry Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by the MFA, which aims to promote and execute programs in the state to advance forestry and natural resources. The organization recently presented a check for $50,000 to create the George M. Hopper CFR/MFA Student Development Endowment Fund.
"The Mississippi Forestry Foundation is honored to contribute to the George M. Hopper CFR/MFA Student Development Endowment Fund. Our members understand the importance of supporting quality education for current and future generations of foresters and natural resource professionals. Helping students succeed while they are in school means we are also positioning them for success in their future careers," said Eleana Pope, chair of the Mississippi Forestry Foundation.
Hopper, the longest serving dean in the college's nearly 70-year history, made student success a cornerstone of his tenure. While his leadership resulted in accomplishments across all aspects of the university's land-grant mission, he made it clear that students always came first. During his time as dean and director of MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, he saw student enrollment double, along with a 75% increase in degrees awarded and a 20% increase in scholarship funding.
"I have had many former students, now our alumni, tell me that some of the best experiences they had while attending Mississippi State were the trips to meetings, camps and workshops which exposed them to professional experiences, organizations and leaders—trips that they could not afford on their own. This new student development fund will provide financial support to help underwrite these professional activities," Hopper said. "Our primary purpose is to educate and impact the lives of our students; this fund will significantly support that purpose."
In addition to MFA, CFR faculty, alumni and friends contributed generously to honor Hopper and help CFR students.
"This is a fitting way to honor Dr. George Hopper. As dean, he was passionate about cultivating the next generation of natural resource professionals. He loved conversations with students and was always supportive of professional development activities, travel and research endeavors for them," said Wes Burger, CFR dean and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.
Hopper served as CFR dean and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center from 2005 to 2020. He also served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station for much of that time.
The MFA gift builds upon the existing George M. Hopper Fund for Research Excellence started in 2021 to fund undergraduate and graduate research for CFR students. MFA has three other scholarships at MSU: the Mississippi Forestry Foundation Endowed Scholarship and the Mississippi Forestry Foundation Summer Camp Award, both within CFR, and the TIMB(R), which assists the School of Architecture in educating students in the value and benefit of building with wood.
To donate to the George M. Hopper CFR/MFA Student Development Endowment Fund, contact Jeff Little, senior director of development for CFR and the Bulldog Forest at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-325-8151. Visit the College of Forest Resources at www.cfr.msstate.edu.