Hall of Distinction Class of 2008-2009

Jack Rudd Hopper was born on May 12, 1937 in Highlands, Texas. He began his undergraduate career in 1957 at Lee College in Baytown, Texas and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in chemical engineering in 1959 from Texas A&M University. He received his Masters of Engineering in chemical engineering in 1964 from the University of Delaware - Newark, and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University in 1969.

Hopper began his engineering career in 1959 as a Junior Research Engineer for Humble Oil & Refining Co. R & D in Baytown, Texas and was quickly promoted to Assistant Research Engineer. From 1964 to 1967 he remained in Baytown and became a Research Engineer for Esso Research and Engineering Company. He arrived at LSU in 1967 as a Research Associate while completing his Ph.D. program. Upon graduating, Hopper accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and was a Consulting Engineer for Jefferson Chemical Company during the summer of 1970.

At Lamar University, Hopper's distinguished tenure includes his participation in many different roles. From 1974 through 1999, he was head of the Chemical Engineering Department. From July, 1980 until August of 1981, he concurrently held a position as Interim Head of the Industrial Engineering Department. He was the liaison for the Hazardous Waste Alternatives Center Committee for several years, served as Interim Director of the Gulf Coast Hazardous Substance Research Center from 1995 to 1997, and he was Director there from April 1997 until August of 1999. In April of 1997, Hopper became director of the Texas Hazardous Waste Research Center.

Hopper has been the director of engineering graduate studies at Lamar University since September, 1989. He has served as dean of the Lamar College of Engineering since September 1, 1999. Additionally, he is the director of the Texas Center for Technology Incubation.  He served as Interim Associate Provost for Research May 1, 2006 through October 1, 2007 and has been Executive Assistant to the President for Economic Development & Industrial Relations since October 1, 2007.

Hopper has also served as a consulting and expert witness for many companies, including:  Allied Chemical Corporation; Energy-Environmental Engineering; Eastex Paper Company; Glascock Associates; H. S. Garcia; Wells, Peyton, Beard, et al; Silva Chemical; Jefferson Chemical Company; Texaco Chemical Company; E. I. du Pont de Nemours, Inc.; Star Enterprise; J.M. Montgomery, Consulting Engineers; Infomex; Texaco Refining and Marketing, Inc.; Mobil Chemical; Arkansas Eastman Chemical Co.; and Bell Engineering Co.

In addition to his membership on many editorial and advisory boards, Hopper has been honored with the following awards:

  • ASEE Gulf-Southwest Section Dow Outstanding Young Faculty Award, U. S. Naval Academy, June 21, 1971.
  • Listed in Who's Who in Science and, Engineering and Personalities in the South and Southwest
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, Lee College, Baytown, Texas, February 1981.
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in August 1985.

Dr. Hopper has more than 150 publications in a variety of topics ranging from kinetics and catalysis to pollution prevention and waste minimization.

Despite the many demands on his time, Hopper has been actively involved in volunteer work at his university throughout his long career. He was the ASEE Campus Activity Coordinator and Chairman of Lamar's 50th Anniversary Program for College of Engineering in 1972-73. He served as President of the Council of Instructional Departments in 1980-1981 and was president of the Sigma Xi Club in 1982-83. From 1986 to 1988, he chaired the Graduate Educational Program Committee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation visit. He also chaired two search committees to fill key positions in the University:  Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of College of Business. His involvement and dedication to academia are continually evident.

Hopper married Marilyn J. Spears in 1958. They have two children:  Connie Danese, born in1962 and Bradley Preston born in 1965.