Hopkins Center History

History

For more than 50 years, the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College has served as a cultural hub of the Dartmouth campus and the region.

The Hop’s physical plant and programming are designed to readily engage Dartmouth students in the performing arts both as audience and participants, and to integrate closely with the college’s academic departments. At the same time, the Hop also offers dynamic opportunities for the general public.

Designed by Wallace Harrison, the architect of Lincoln Center and the United Nations Building in New York City, “the Hop” opened in November 1962 and blazed a trail for the many campus arts centers that followed in its wake. It was named for emeritus Dartmouth President Ernest Martin Hopkins, who had longed championed improved arts facilities on the campus. In 1988, the Hop was named by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the nation’s exemplary performing arts centers.

The Hop offers a wide variety of co-curricular activities for arts majors and non-majors alike, and all Dartmouth students are eligible to participate on stage or behind the scenes. The Hop produces and presents the work of eight professionally directed Student Ensembles, including the Handel Society—the nation’s oldest “town-gown” organization devoted to the performance of choral-orchestral major works—and the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble, one of the longest-running college student jazz bands. The Hop’s Student Workshops program provides well-equipped woodworking, jewelry and pottery studio facilities, and offers professional instruction from beginning to advanced levels.

Aerial View of the Hop during construction

Hopkins Center Dedication (1962)

“If one believes, as I do ... that beauty and art and all that microcosm that we call culture are as essential to man as anything else, then ... this is something more than the addition to the campus of a structure of dignity and grandeur. ... It will in the course of events, I am certain, become the heart and soul of Dartmouth.” Ernest Martin Hopkins, Dartmouth president from 1916 to 1945