Former Class Fund Director Tim Hopkins ’77, renews his commitment to Grinnell’s growth

Tim Hopkins, ’77 still remembers walking through the center of campus more than four decades ago on his visit to Grinnell as a prospective student. “The tour guide had just been accepted to University of Michigan law school and he was in a great mood, and as we made our way across campus, everyone was so welcoming and friendly,” Hopkins recounts. “We hung out with students in the Forum and went to class in ARH. I loved how small the class was and how everyone participated.” Hopkins was hooked and when he returned the following fall to begin his freshman year, the welcome wagon continued. “I got a sense of being part of a close family at Grinnell,” says Hopkins, who majored in history and played on the tennis team. “Everyone was so supportive of everyone else.”

Tim Hopkins '77
    Tim Hopkins '77

The Minneapolis resident and former Class Fund Director (2002-12) has maintained many of his Grinnell friendships for four decades, and frequently attends alumni events in the Twin Cities. “There are so many Grinnell people here,” he says. Despite the close friendships, however, Hopkins hadn’t been on campus until he returned for his 20th Reunion cluster, in 1996. It was a turning point in his relationship with Grinnell. “I got back and I was really impressed with what I found, so I started giving,” he says.

Retired from a career that saw him work in everything from radio and newspapers to hotels and fundraising, Hopkins has been a regular donor to the college for the past 21 years, and recently designated a portion of his estate to go to Grinnell. “I’m aware of how fine Grinnell is and I’m very happy with them having a part of what I have to continue to build the college. (He didn’t designate where the funds will go – it’s free to go to the college, he says, with no specific directions whatsoever.) “I was thinking about putting this on paper and it was relatively easy to do – an attorney who’s a member of my church helped set it up,” says Hopkins, who is single and has designated most of his estate to his nieces, nephews, and church.

“It’s interesting going back to campus because there have been so many changes – there were 1,200 students when I was there, and now there are 1,600 – but I remember what (civil rights activist) Stokely Carmichael said during a talk he gave in the early fall of my freshman year: ‘Change is the one constant in life.’ And I want to help Grinnell keep up with those changes.”

—by Anne Stein, ’84

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