Muriel Beth Hopkins
  • Muriel Beth Hopkins
  • Trustee

  • Department: Board of Trustees

Mrs. Hopkins, a lawyer with more than 30 years of experience in a range of practice areas, has developed a reputation as a strategic thinker and a creative problem solver and facilitator who works to get things done.

Born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia, during a turbulent time in race relations, Mrs. Hopkins still vividly remembers the White Only and Colored Only signs that marked many of the locations throughout the city. At an early age, she decided that she wanted to become a lawyer and be an agent of change, and she has spent her life being guided by that vision.

Mrs. Hopkins began her professional career with a civil rights law firm Hill, Tucker and Marsh, the law firm of one of her heroes, civil rights icon and Brown v. Board of Education attorney Oliver Hill. She worked on a variety of cases in the two years she was there, including employment issues and police brutality. Mrs. Hopkins left the firm to become an assistant attorney general in Virginia assigned to colleges and universities, then moved on to become a federal prosecutor, first in Richmond, Virginia, and then later, in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ultimately, Mrs. Hopkins returned to her undergraduate alma mater, Wake Forest University, where she served initially in the office of the legal counsel, and then later as the inaugural director of the Smith Anderson Center for Community Outreach at the law school.

Through her strong track record of leadership, she has consistently exhibited a wide range of personal and professional characteristics that are supportive of diversity and inclusion within the community. In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Mrs. Hopkins has crafted regulatory legislation, bylaws and constitutional provisions for the United States Tennis Association, the Southern Tennis Association, and the North Carolina Tennis Association and served as chairman of the Constitution and Rules committee for the United States Tennis Association.

Notably, during her time as Director of Community Outreach for the law school, participation in the Pro Bono Project—which she directed—went from 10 percent of law students to more than 60 percent, resulting in 6,000 hours of service. Upon her retirement from that position in 2016, the dean of the law school commented that “Professor Hopkins, you have made this law school a better law school and it will remain that way.” The dean went on to add that the Public Interest Initiative stipends that are awarded each year to students who pursue public interest opportunities would be thereafter called the Hopkins Pro Humanitate Award, in her honor.

A 1973 cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University, with a major in Asian History, and a 1977 graduate of William and Mary Law School and a recipient of the 2018 William and Mary Citizenship Lawyer Award, she is married to the late Dr. Lawrence D. Hopkins, who graduated from Lees-McRae College in 1970. They have two children, Michelle and David.