Former Wright State president quietly retires with hand-written note


After 14 years — 10 of them as president — David Hopkins formally retired this week from Wright State University with a short, hand-written note on a napkin-sized piece of paper.

The note, which was addressed to outgoing provost Tom Sudkamp, was dated Nov. 17 but made Hopkins’ retirement official as of Wednesday, Jan. 31. It was obtained on Friday through a Jan. 19 public records request from this news organization.

“I would like to thank you for being such a wonderful colleague and friend over my fourteen years at the university,” said the note to Sudkamp. “Please let me know if I can be of any assistance during this transition. Best wishes for continued success.”

RELATED: WSU research arm tries to rebuild reputation amid investigations

Hopkins’ personnel records show he cashed out $1,791 in vacation pay and $16,156 in sick leave. His salary at retirement was $200,000.

Hopkins resigned from the Wright State presidency on March 17, around three and a half months before he originally planned to retire from the office.

With his resignation as president, Hopkins was set to receive $150,000 in deferred compensation. If he had finished his term as president, Hopkins was to be paid $432,000 for one full year after leaving office, according to his contract.

Hopkins was replaced with interim president Curtis McCray before Cheryl Schrader took over the job on July 1.

Instead of completely leaving the university last March, Hopkins returned to a faculty position, though he never actually taught again at Wright State.

RELATED: Former WSU president David Hopkins will not return to teach this fall

In the last few years of Hopkins’ presidency, Wright State was embroiled in budget issues that led to layoffs and more than $30.8 million in budget cuts last June. Despite the issues that outlasted Hopkins’ term as president, board of trustees chairman Doug Fecher said that Hopkins should be remembered for “all of the good” he was able to accomplish.

“I think Dave did a lot of good for the university. He was the university’s greatest ambassador, and we need to recognize that,” Fecher said. “I don’t think there’s any ill feelings. I think the university is moving on as it should.”

Although Wright State was once a growing and flourishing school under Hopkins, he ended up leaving behind a legacy of mixed results.

After rising to the presidency from the provost position, Hopkins oversaw the construction of the university’s Neuroscience Engineering Collaboration Building, the Student Success Center, the Wright State Physicians building and the expansion of the Creative Arts Center. Hopkins oversaw the university’s “Rise. Shine” campaign, which raised more than $160 million.

ARCHIVE: 5 things to know about Wright State President David Hopkins

Hopkins’ history at Wright State is also marked with a lost presidential debate and numerous investigations.

As president, Hopkins oversaw the expansion of Wright State Applied Research Corporation, which ended up the target of a federal investigation into potential illegal abuse of work visas — leading to the removal of high-level university administrators — and spurred other controversies.

A Dec. 12 Ohio Inspector General investigation into a controversial WSARC consultant said Hopkins was “removed” from his position and was no longer at WSU. When asked about his status at that time, a university spokesman said he “is still employed by WSU” and no record of a separation agreement exists.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Air Pollution Advisory in effect today
Air Pollution Advisory in effect today

An Air Pollution Advisory is in effect today for Butler, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties for smog. With temperatures expected in the upper 80s with abundant sunshine and light southerly winds, conditions will be conducive for the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog, and may lead to elevated air pollution levels, according...
Military veteran hopes VA health care, however delivered, is there for him
Military veteran hopes VA health care, however delivered, is there for him

Pat Penny, a Navy veteran, has heard from his friends who have been to the V.A. for medical care have had bad experiences.  He said he hasn't seen the long waits that some at V.A. medical centers nationwide have experienced.  The wait time is one of the linchpin issues driving the multi-billion dollar revamp of the veterans health care system...
Parents remember son killed in car accident on the way to take his final exam
Parents remember son killed in car accident on the way to take his final exam

The family of a high school senior from Floyd County, Georgia, is planning his funeral just days before they were planning to see him graduate. His family told WSB-TV they're overwhelmed by the support they've received. Blue ribbons are everywhere near Model High School, even on the school itself, to honor Caleb Keller, 18. "He was a very...
SeaWorld, Busch Gardens: Free admission available for veterans now through July 4
SeaWorld, Busch Gardens: Free admission available for veterans now through July 4

From now through July 4, U.S. veterans and up to three guests can get free admission to SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as well as other SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties across the U.S. SeaWorld said in a news release that this new offer joins the ongoing Waves of Honor program that offers complimentary admission to any U.S. active...
Rottweiler dies in hot car at county jail, woman visitor arrested on the spot
Rottweiler dies in hot car at county jail, woman visitor arrested on the spot

A Georgia woman left her Rottweiler in her car for five hours while she was in court at the Gwinnett County Jail, causing the dog’s death, sheriff officials said. >> Read more trending news  Connie Wright Gomez, 46, has been charged with aggravated animal cruelty. Gomez went to the jail as a “court visitor” around...
More Stories