Click Selection

Search News Releases:

News Resources
on the Web

7 November 2007
Jacksonville State’s Hopper Dies at 72

By Mary Jo Shafer
Star Assistant Metro Editor

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Jack Hopper will be remembered as someone who loved Jacksonville State University, the institution he served in a variety of capacities for much of his life.

Hopper, 72, had a heart attack and died Tuesday.

“Jack loved this institution and its students,” said JSU President Dr. Bill Meehan. “He was wise counsel for all presidents who relied on him and his wisdom.”

“He was a good friend and I’ll miss him very much. He was a big part of JSU.”

Hopper’s service to JSU spanned multiple decades and he continued to be an influence on the university in recent years, even as he moved into “retirement.”

He retired as the university’s vice president for institutional advancement in 2002. In that position he dealt with public relations, fundraising and other external affairs. He stayed on as a special assistant to the president after he retired.

Hopper was a “confidant,” to the presidents — some said he was “the power behind the throne,” said Joe Serviss, JSU’s current vice president for institutional advancement.

“He was very influential,” he said.

Hopper was a former JSU student and a 1962 journalism graduate of the University of Alabama and worked for The Birmingham News before accepting the position at JSU.

A Navy veteran and Gadsden High School graduate, Hopper worked under five JSU presidents since he was first hired by President Houston Cole in 1966 as public relations director.

His name will continue to have a place at JSU — in 1980 the cafeteria was named after him.

The naming came at the recommendation of Dr. Ernest Stone, JSU’s president at the time. Hopper had then been director of public relations for 14 years and was also an assistant to Stone.

“The Jack Hopper Dining Hall “will be a nice memory,” said Meehan.

Hopper was close to all five presidents he served with, said Serviss. He also worked closely with the board of trustees and handled government relations, he said.

Even in retirement and as he battled illness, Hopper stayed involved with his beloved university, said Serviss. “He continued to be an influence on the university,” he said.

He was awarded the title of emeritus vice president for institutional advancement in January, an honor Serviss said he was “pleased to nominate him for.”

Serviss served under Hopper both as a student photographer when Hopper was the director of public relations and decades later when Serviss was hired as a director of institutional development.

“He will be sorely missed,” said Serviss. “There will definitely be a void.”

Hopper is survived by two sons, Mike and Mark. He was predeceased by his wife, Janice.

About Mary Jo Shafer

Mary Jo Shafer is assistant metro editor and business editor for The Star.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

Note: JSU faculty, staff and students may access The Anniston Star online through their affiliation with the University. Those not affiliated with JSU may have to subscribe to receive The Anniston Star online. If you already subscribe to The Anniston Star, you receive a complimentary online membership. This provides complete access to all the content and services of the site at no additional charge. Otherwise there is a $5 online monthly charge for their online service. Contact The Anniston Star for information.

Submit items for news releases by using the request form at