Norman Hopper, a longtime professor and administrator with Texas Tech's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, will be inducted into the college's Department of Plant & Soil Science's ‘Hall of Fame' at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony on Friday (Oct. 21) in the Bayer Plant Science West Building Atrium. The Petersburg, Texas native retired from the academic unit after 36 years of service in 2012.
“When I first arrived at Texas Tech in 2011, I quickly discovered that Dr. Hopper was a legend among the students in our department for the caring and rigorous way that he taught seed science. He put his students first,” said Plant & Soil Science Department Chair Glen Ritchie. “He was a true benefit to the department who helped lay the foundation for the high-quality teaching and research that we enjoy today.”
Hopper was well known as an excellent mentor and friend to faculty, not only within the department but across the college and university.
“He was admired by his students, although he drew lots of concerned stares when he carried his sticker-covered briefcase containing exams, hand-cuffed to his wrist, on exam days,” added Peter Dotray, the Rockwell Chair of Weed Science in the Department of Plant & Soil Science. “I believe Dr. Hopper is among the elite faculty who taught and mentored students and faculty in the Department of Plant and Soil Science.”
Hopper ended his tenure as the college's Executive Associate Dean for Academic & Student Programs (1998-2012), in addition to serving as a Piper Professor in the department. He received the prestigious Piper Foundation professorship for his dedication and service to teaching at the collegiate level. Hopper's research broadly focused on improving the quality of cotton seed, specifically improving vigor and cold tolerance.
Honors for Hopper include being named a Fellow by the American Society of Agronomy, National Association of Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture, and by the Crop Science Society of America. In addition, he received a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award' from the Texas Tech Office of International Affairs (2012), as well as a Texas Tech President's Excellence in Teaching Award and Spencer A. Wells Faculty Award.
He was a crucial contributor to the naming of Davis College as a Peace Corps partner in its master's international program. The program was the first in Texas to allow Red Raiders to earn graduate degrees in agriculture and natural resources, while serving abroad as Peace Corps volunteers.
Hopper's international interests coincided with a 1996 trip to China, where he consulted on cotton production. That began a voyage of discovery to more than 36 other countries as either an agricultural consultant or university administrator. In addition, he was known across campus for his groundbreaking agricultural tours of southern and eastern China for Davis College students.
In 2008, Hopper was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree, an honor given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. The honor recognized those who have gone beyond the valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists.
Hopper joined Texas Tech's faculty in 1976, serving as a professor in the Department of Plant & Soil Science until 1998, when he joined the dean's office. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in agronomy from Texas Tech before earning his doctorate in crop physiology from Iowa State University.
This story was first published in the Davis College NewsCenter. See the original article here.