Reporter 419, 27 April 1998
Professor Freddie Hopper died on 5 December 1997, aged 78. He was Dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Leeds from 1959 until his retirement in 1985.
With Freddie Hoppers death the dental profession lost one of its most courageous and skilful champions. The eldest of four boys, he was born in 1919 in Newcastle. He studied dentistry at Kings College, Newcastle, affiliated to Durham University, graduating with distinction in 1943. He was appointed to posts in Oral Surgery and Periodontology in the North East, obtaining FDS in 1948 and a Mastership in Dental Surgery in 1958.
In 1959, Fred was appointed Professor of Dental Surgery in the University of Leeds and Head of the Dental School and Hospital. He held the office of Dean until his retirement in 1985. At the time of his appointment, the Dental School and Hospital was situated in Blundell Street where Fred was responsible for the running of both School and Hospital. During the 1970s, his vision and perseverance ensured that the Dental School and Hospital became part of a new Medical and Dental Building. It is entirely due to his foresight that the staff today enjoy such good facilities. His support for research, and in particular the development of basic sciences in Dentistry, led to the formation of a world leading research department in Leeds.
He played a full part in the social and academic life of the University throughout his 26 years at Leeds. He was a member of Senate and served on the Planning Committee, Research Degrees Committee, House & Estates Committee and was Chairman of the Board of the Faculty of Medicine in the early 1970s. His love of good food and wine was well known and he was Chairman of the Staff Dining Club until well after his retirement.
Fred enjoyed a long association with the British Dental Association, being in turn President of the British Dental Students Association, Chairman of the Leeds & District Section, and President of the Yorkshire Branch. He was also President of the British Society for Oral Medicine and a member of the General Dental Council for 26 years, including Chairman of the Education Committee from 1980-85. He acted as Chairman of the Dental Committee of the Council for Postgraduate Medical Education and, in a symposium in 1975, put forward the then heretical view that there should be two years of supervised training after qualification, a view that has only recently been taken up by the profession.
Although he was physically a big, imposing individual, Fred was also compassionate. Few know the extent to which he assisted students in difficulties. He was a man who lived for his work, a man who in his younger days acted as though he could do everything - and he did! He will be remembered for his sharp brain, quick humour and love of life. He was immensely proud of his wife, Gudrun, and his sons Fred, Christopher and Adrian, to whom we offer our condolences.
Professor Bill Hume