Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Student Affairs VP Jim Hoppe to depart Emerson in July

Arthur Mansavage
Jim Hoppe (Middle) and Athletic Director Pat Nicol (Right) presenting the NEWMAC championship trophy to the Women’s Soccer team in November of 2022.

Jim Hoppe, the vice president of Student Affairs and dean for Campus Life, will leave Emerson in mid-July for Bowdoin College, where he will serve as the senior vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon in an email from Emerson College President Jay Bernhardt.

Hoppe joined Emerson in 2016 after spending nine years as the dean of students for Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. He was present at many campus events, developing a warm rapport with the campus community. Students were often excited about being featured on his Instagram posts—known affectionately as the “Jimstagram.

Hoppe was one of the Emerson administrators present during the four-day pro-Palestine encampment in April, talking to students in the days leading up to and following the April 25 arrests. In the aftermath, several students criticized Hoppe by commenting on his recent Instagram posts, claiming he failed to intervene as Boston Police raided the encampment and arrested their peers. There were mixed reactions on social media to his departure, with the recent events playing a role.

Bernhardt’s message highlighted Hoppe’s wide-ranging impact on campus.

“Jim has been a valued and impactful member of the College’s leadership team,” he wrote. “I am grateful for his dedication to and advocacy for our students while working together as a community. While we will greatly miss Jim’s warm presence across campus, we are delighted for him as he begins the next chapter in his accomplished career.”

Bernhardt concluded, “Please join me in thanking Jim for his exceptional work at Emerson and congratulating him on his new and exciting opportunity at Bowdoin.”

Following Hoppe’s departure, the college “will soon announce plans for interim leadership and our search for permanent leadership,” according to Bernhardt.

Hoppe reflected on his time at Emerson in an interview with the Beacon.

“I’ve seen just a tremendous amount of change and evolution,” Hoppe said. “I don’t know if I could put it into one word or sentence, but it’s been a tremendous opportunity and a real pleasure to work with people in the community.”

“I’ve gotten to know some amazing students who are now alumni, and who I keep in touch with and count as friends,” he continued. “A truly incredible Student Affairs staff … One of the hardest things about leaving [is] knowing I’m not going to be able to work with them every day like I have been. And I have some tremendous colleagues across the college. Other members of the faculty and staff who are just wonderful and irreplaceable.”

When it comes to specific memories, Hoppe pointed to the orientations, COVID lockdown, and construction that affected the campus over his eight years there.

“I’ve always loved the energy and spirit around orientation,” he said. “COVID was kind of in the middle of my experience here, and that’s impacted and influenced the way I’ve experienced this job just as it impacted students and the way they experience the campus. That’s always going to be a piece that will have been a marker in the middle of this experience, so to speak.”

Hoppe’s arrival and time at Emerson came with many construction projects at the college, from the building of 2 Boylston Place and the Dining Center to the renovations to the Little Building in 2019.

“Construction has been a hallmark of these last eight years,” he joked.

Hoppe said his decision to leave Emerson stemmed from a desire to explore the new opportunity at Bowdoin.

“Bowdoin is the kind of place that has always been on my radar screen,” he said. “When I saw [the position] posted, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least explore it. I’ve loved my time at Emerson, and Bowdoin is another place [where] I think I could really do some good work. I really believe in the values and the way they align around the support of the student experience and engaging with the students.”

“The more I learned, the more I just thought this would be a good next step for me,” he added. “And for my family, too. For my husband and kids.”

When it comes to joining Bowdoin, Hoppe is looking forward to returning to the environment of a “small, residential liberal arts college”—something that Macalester offered—compared to Emerson’s “big city” life, which Hoppe says he will miss.

“When I first got to Emerson, it was a little bit of a shock to not have a true campus,” he said. “But then you get very used to the fact that there’s so many things at your doorstep. I mean, how many can you go get lunch here within five minutes? And you don’t have that when you go to a smaller environment.”

He added that he “look[s] forward to being part of that tight-knit community” at Bowdoin. 

“There’s something about the way Bowdoin has been able to thread together the various seams of the student experience—what happens in the classroom, what happens out of the classroom—and really tries to keep the student at the center of everything that’s happening,” he said. “That was a big draw and something I’m excited about joining.”

In a statement to the Beacon, SGA President Nandan Nair reflected on his interactions with Hoppe throughout the past couple of years.

“I’ve enjoyed my time working with Jim as an SGA member and beyond over the last year and a half, and I’m grateful for all the advice and guidance he has given me,” Nair wrote. “While I am sad to see him go, I wish him the best of luck at Bowdoin.”

Hoppe also provided a message to his colleagues and the student body, thanking them for “eight great years,” wishing them the best, and acknowledging the difficulties of this past semester.

“It was a tough spring semester,” he said. “I really hope the community can find a way to move forward and to heal, and I’m confident they can. One thing I’ve learned about Emerson is that it is a resilient place. And I think if any community can become a model to move forward, this is one that can do so.”

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About the Contributor
Jordan Pagkalinawan
Jordan Pagkalinawan, Managing Editor
Jordan Pagkalinawan (he/him) hails from Burbank, California, and is the Beacon’s Managing Editor for news and sports. A junior journalism student with a minor in Sports Communication, Jordan previously served as the Kasteel Well Bureau Chief, sports editor, and staff writer. Outside of Emerson, he has interned with the CBS Sports Editorial team and currently writes for Last Word on Sports and YRMedia. When Jordan isn’t working on a story, you will find him either playing basketball, listening to music, reading multiple books, or buying a cup of coffee.

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