Bridgewater College’s “Doc” Jopson’s 100th celebrated with new endowment fund

As Bridgewater College coaching and teaching legend Harry G.M. “Doc” Jopson celebrates his 100th birthday on June 23, some of his former students and other supporters of the college have created an endowed fund to support Bridgewater’s track and cross country programs.

Jopson, who came to Bridgewater College in 1936 to head up its biology department, also reinvigorated the college’s defunct track program and transformed it into a championship-winning juggernaut. He also founded the cross country program. By the time Jopson retired in 1981, his runners had chalked up two dozen undefeated track seasons and dozens of conference and state championships.

Jopson himself was selected the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Track Coach of the Year from 1978-1981.

The newly established Jopson Track Endowed Fund, which now contains more than $25,000, was spearheaded by 1974 graduate Jeffrey Heppard of Moorestown, N.J., and 1978 graduate Craig Waters of Richmond, Va. – both former Jopson athletes. The fund, which was built with the contributions of 95 donors, will be used to defray the costs of operating the track and cross country programs, including travel, equipment, coaches’ compensation and uniforms.

“A book could be written about Doc and what he means to BC,” said Heppard, who came up with the idea for the fund. “He touched just about every student – and not just track athletes, but the bio students, pre-med students and students like me who took his intro to biology course. I wanted to do something to honor Doc and to help the track-cross country program that will forever benefit from his influence.”

Waters, who helped Heppard turn the idea for the fund into a reality, said Jopson epitomized the true definition of a teacher, coach and mentor by getting the best out of individuals regardless of their skills.

“He touched many people in different ways with his patience, concern and passion for his students and athletes,” Waters said. “I hope the Doc Jopson endowment fund will continue to remind everyone of his legacy and his many contributions to the college.”

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