The Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association has awarded Dr. Esther A.H. Hopkins the Creating Sageing Award. The award goes to a member for outstanding service and creativity in pursuing new ventures after retirement, and building on one’s experience in imaginative ways.
The person honored may have participated in mentoring, public service, fostering spiritual growth, writing/publishing, creating/participating in community and denominational service projects and organizations or other good works. The awardee receives a $500 honorarium.
According to a press release, Hopkins is perhaps best known for her influential work as a biophysicist, research chemist, and patent attorney. She earned her Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry at Yale, and then a juris doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School. She was an active member of her professional society, as a national councilor of the American Chemical Society (ACS), for more than 30 years, and was recognized by them as a fellow. But over the years, the release says, Hopkins has always been thirsty for knowledge. “It will surprise no one, therefore, to learn that after taking early retirement at 63, she began a whole new career in law, plus became very active in local politics and at her church. It is for these latter, varied and diverse activities that UURMaPA awarded her a 2020 Creative Sageing certificate,” the release states.
After first retiring from the Polaroid Corp., Hopkins became a deputy general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Meanwhile, she was a 22-year trustee of her alma mater, Boston University, serving 10 more years as an overseer. She also gave a Century Scholarship to the University.
Then, after retiring from the DEP, Hopkins went into politics in Framingham, becoming the only African American ever elected to a public office in the 317 years of Framingham’s history as a town. She was a member of the board of selectmen, and served a term as its chair. She was also on the finance committee and the Tercentennial Commission, and was elected to the Representative Town Meeting as well as the Regional Vocational School Committee.
Hopkins, the release says, was an important member of First Parish in Framingham and now, at 93, is active with the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, where she was on the intern, installation, and worship committees. Hopkins represented the families of deceased ministers at a Unitarian Universalist Association’s Service of the Living Tradition, served on the committee to select the UU Hymnbook Commission, and endowed the UUA’s T. Ewell Hopkins Ministerial Aid Fund.