Each year, the Colorado State University Alumni Association recognizes distinguished graduates from each of CSU’s eight colleges. The 2017 recipient from the College of Agricultural Sciences is Karl Hoppess who graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of science degree in soil science.
Born into an original family of Texas in 1938, Hoppess began his love with agriculture as a 12-year-old working summers and holidays on a ranch in central Texas. He became a devoted Aggie at Colorado A&M in August 1956. His life in the professional and business world began when he earned his bachelor’s degree in soil science from CSU and expanded upon his receiving a Doctor of Jurisprudence from SMU and being hired in Houston in 1963 to work as a trial lawyer.
The mysteries and rewards of litigation, business, agriculture, and education have continually challenged Hoppess over 54 years of professional life. Even after some 200 trials involving questions of land, ownership of water, and the condemnation of farms and ranches, Hoppess remains intrigued by the science of agriculture and food production, and in particular the challenge of how that knowledge should be used to develop businesses and advance education.
Luckily, he had a wife and family of five children and eventually eight grandchildren who loved him enough to allow him to pursue these challenges and dreams and he was blessed with partners in law and in business that allowed him to participate in building businesses that grew nursery stock, constructed subdivisions, developed oil and gas production, marketed trucks and ranch implements, and to eventually realize his two most cherished dreams: to own and operate cattle ranches and to participate in research with Colorado State University. It is by this joint effort that CSU has developed the information to reduce contaminants in both our land and water, more effectively improve the retention of carbon, thereby preserving our nation’s forests and prairies, which continues to stimulate these gifted scientists, their dedicated students and Hoppess.
While Hoppess continues to prepare and litigate cases in 48 counties in Texas, he remains committed to work toward developing businesses and research that advance the use of biological sciences and physical sciences that increase production of food for human consumption.