Michael S. Hopkins Receives Prestigious Award from International Fraternity
Posted on Aug 8, 2018
At the 2018 International Convention, Air Force Colonel Michael S. Hopkins (Illinois, Beta Eta ’88) was awarded the Judge Elbert P. Tuttle Distinguished Achievement Award. Established in 1936, the Distinguished Achievement Award is presented annually to the alumnus member who has compiled the most distinguished resume in his vocation, profession or field of public service. It is named after Elbert P. Tuttle (Cornell, Beta Theta 1917), a veteran who served in both World Wars, as Chief Justice of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1961-68, and as a Senior Justice until his death in 1996. Under Tuttle’s leadership, the Fifth Circuit became recognized as a leader in the fight against segregation.
Colonel Hopkins was selected by NASA to be an astronaut candidate in June 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class and started training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training in 2011 and launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station in September 2013 as a member of the Expedition 37/38 crew. During his 166 days aboard the International Space Station, he conducted two spacewalks, including one on Christmas Eve, and spent a total of 12 hours and 58 minutes outside of the spacecraft. He is currently assigned as a crewmember on the first operational mission of the new SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule which will launch to the International Space Station following an extensive test program.
Hopkins received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois where he played defensive back for the university’s football team, serving as team captain during his senior year, and was a member of Air Force ROTC. He was recognized as an ROTC distinguished graduate and commissioned as a second lieutenant before receiving his master of science degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford University.
Before his NASA career, Hopkins was assigned as a space-based research officer, a space technology program manager, chief for C-130 operations engineering, and flight test engineer for a U.S. Air Force-Canadian Forces Personnel Exchange Program. In 2002, he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar by the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation and completed six months of language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. As part of the program, he moved to Parma, Italy, following completion of the language training in 2003, where he studied political science at the Università degli Studi di Parma. Upon his return, he received an assignment to the Pentagon where his roles included project engineer and program manager for the United States Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. In 2008, Hopkins was selected as a special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he worked until he commenced astronaut training.
Hopkins’ personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, two Air Force Commendation Medals, and three Air Force Achievement Medals.
The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity is proud to honor Hopkins with the 2018 Judge Elbert P. Tuttle Distinguished Achievement Award.