KU Law awards inaugural Bruce Hopkins award for Nonprofit Excellence
LAWRENCE - The University of Kansas School of Law awarded the first annual Bruce Hopkins Award for Nonprofit Excellence to Kat Girod, a third-year law student from Prairie Village, earlier this month at a ceremony held in the Wheat Law Library, where Hopkins's prolific publications are available for checkout.
"Receiving the Bruce Hopkins Award for Nonprofit Excellence is an immense honor," Girod said. "I never had the privilege to meet Professor Hopkins, but after meeting his family and colleagues, I know he was an admirable man. As an educator, he cared deeply for his students and supported them in establishing their careers."
Hopkins wrote more than 40 books on different aspects of nonprofit law during his more than 50-year legal career. "The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations" has long been considered the definitive source of legal information for nonprofit organizations since its publication in the 1970s.
"Bruce, who served as the law school's first professor of practice, was the leading expert on nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S.," Dean Stephen Mazza said. "This award reflects two related truths: Bruce's legal expertise and his commitment to his students."
Hopkins joined the KU Law faculty in 2008, where he taught courses on nonprofit organizations and the law and mentored countless law students who now practice nationwide. Hopkins practiced for nearly two decades at Polsinelli PC in Kansas City, Missouri, where he helped build a substantial nonprofit law practice group. He earned a Doctor of Juridical Science from KU in 2016 at the age of 72. He died in 2021.
The Bruce Hopkins Award for Nonprofit Excellence was created to continue his legacy and benefit a student who has supported nonprofit organizations and been a voice for the voiceless.
"I have worked with nonprofit organizations in a volunteer or professional capacity since I was in high school," Girod said. "My work has responded to poverty, immigration, language proficiency, houselessness, domestic violence, early childhood education and postsecondary educational attainment. My work shaped my worldview, my values and my goals. This award is a recognition of the challenging and often thankless tasks so many nonprofit workers do every day."
"Kat's record reveals a life devoted to the needs of those who can't otherwise protect themselves," Mazza said. "We are deeply grateful to be able to honor Bruce and benefit our students at the same time with this award."
The Bruce Hopkins Award for Nonprofit Excellence was funded primarily by Shane Hamilton and Rachel St. John. In addition to the award, the Bruce R. Hopkins Memorial Scholarship has been established for the benefit of KU Law to recognize Hopkins' lifelong goal of helping students. The award and scholarship in his honor are due to the generosity of his family, colleagues and friends. Additional gifts to support the award or the scholarship may be made online.