Medallion of Merit: Larry Hopkins (’72, MD ’77)


(upbeat piano music) – When I transferred to Wake Forest, I mean, they just took me in. It was like family, it was like home. – The mark of any man is
what you leave behind. And we are all the better
in the ritual for Larry. – There are a lot of us, who are standing on his shoulders. A lot of us, who have been able to accomplish what we’ve accomplished because of him. – I’m surprised that you
were able to cajole him into talking about himself. He doesn’t do it often, and he doesn’t do it very well. – Goodness. (laughs) – I have a picture that
sits in the science building it said “Doctor Hopkins do you realize you’re the first African
American to graduate from Wake Forrest with
a degree in chemistry?” And I said no I didn’t realize that. I.. you know I just went to school, and went to class every day, and played on the football team. I didn’t… I didn’t realize that things would work out the way they were. – I met Larry in the spring of 1970 in front of Wait Chapel, at that time I don’t believe there were more than 30 black students on campus. – (Beth) All of us were real close because we had to bend together. – Were trying to set examples with the young folks who followed us really. – His dad raised him with
the military tradition doing things the right way, knowing what to fight back at and what to let roll off his back. – There were times where we had Afro-American society meetings and we’d been up roared about something and then he would speak and everybody would stop and listen. You would never know that he was as good as athlete as he was, because he
always wanted to be known as a good student first. When I would see him on the football field I would say “who is that?” because he was just a burst of fire. (crowd and announcer cheer) – Larry Hopkins was one of the all time great running backs at
Wake Forrest University. In fact, he scored the winning touchdown against North Carolina in 1970. Which led us to win the ACC championship. (announcer and crowd cheer) – (Ron) Anytime you win a
championship for the first time, it is significant and that championship has been celebrated down through the years. – He transitioned from
being a world class athlete to being a world class doctor, with great ease. – We needed someone who
understood the culture and the pressure, and the problems of black women and how that related to medical care. – I realized that I could
contribute so much to not just the women, but
to all of society really. – I don’t think he became
a doctor by accident I think it’s a calling for him. He understands that to build a generation it’s like building a wall, and you do it one healthy well educated well loved child at a time. And that’s what he does. – There’s a great disparity of health outcomes in western Salem particularly among minority populations. – Net 27105 community was known to have a
lack of medical presence – The Obstetrician
gynecologist for the most part saw patients with insurance, patients with money. We didn’t have a clinic
in that part of town in east Winston. – And the thought was we could give new babies a better start if we provided care to their moms before they became pregnant, not just during their pregnancy. – (Larry) I just wanted
to do the best I could as far as extending
obstetrical gynecological care to a segment in the population that was really just one less cutoff. Whatever I could to to help others makes life worth living. (lively piano) – He personifies pro humanitate. – Larry has been on the
board of trustees for almost 30 years and it’s
meant a great deal to him. – I mean Larry’s role on the board has been to be the champion for those and for those people. To African Americans,
to women, modern artists – He represents Wake Forrest in all the best ways and I think he uplifts our students. – I think many of us who’ve trained under him remember the time he handed us a scalpel
and said “okay doctor keep the patient in focus
of what we are doing”. In my opinion he is an
ideal representation of what a deacon student is. (cheerful piano) – He’s been impactful for thousands and thousands of people it’s probably immeasurable
the impact he’s sent. – I tell my son I’d like him to grow up to be like Dr. Hopkins be like your uncle Hoppy. – Do your work, and serve others and he’s done both therefore he has fulfilled his mission for being a good Wake Forrest graduate. – Larry deserves this award because he has given so
much to this university. He has given himself, he did find a home and he never left that home.

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