Family Legacy at Liberty

Although Liberty University is considered a young college compared to ones that have been around for centuries, legacies are still born here. Father-son team Ernest and Jonathan Hoppe are one such example of those legacies.

Strange enough, both Hoppes have had some similar Liberty experiences. For example, Ernest Hoppe lost his last tooth in the very sink that Jonathan now uses to brush his teeth every morning. Over thirty years ago, Ernest Hoppe read the Bible for the first time cover-to-cover here at Liberty. Now, Jonathan is more than halfway through reading the Bible for his first time cover-to-cover. 

Ernest Hoppe described how he used to read his Bible at a creek where the Vines Center currently stands. He encouraged his son to finish reading his Bible by the   pond  because it’s the same body of water as the old creek.

“What met my expectations… was that I would grow to spiritual maturity as a Liberty student,” Ernest Hoppe said, describing how part of why he went to Liberty was for the spiritual aspect.

While Ernest Hoppe was a student at Liberty, tragedy struck when the Challenger space shuttle exploded in 1986. He’s hoping that while his son is at Liberty, the opposite happens. Instead of a tragedy, there will be a milestone in the Manned Space Program. 

“I’m hoping that on the positive flip side, that while my son is in that dorm, they’ll finally launch Artemis I to the moon,” Ernest Hoppe said.

Ernest Hoppe said that his father told him he could go to any college in America, but he’d only pay for Liberty. This was because his father was a proud supporter of Liberty’s message of training champions for Christ.

Just like his father did for him, Ernest Hoppe made Jonathan the same offer. Naturally, Jonathan chose to attend Liberty.

Ernest Hoppe graduated from Liberty with a political science degree in 1990. His son Jonathan is currently a sophomore with a major in the School of Aeronautics. Coincidentally, Jonathan is staying in the very room his father stayed in decades prior on the Hill when he was a sophomore.  Liberty had a profound impact on Ernest Hoppe, especially when it came to his spiritual development. Professors like Dr. Gary Habermas, Dr. Ed Hindson and Dr. Homer Blass helped teach him what it looked like to be Christian. On top of that, Ernest Hoppe recounted several Convocation speakers that he remembered giving influential messages, such as Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Ernest Hoppe said that if his son had to take away one thing from his experience at Liberty, it would be to grow in faith.

“I would want my son to spiritually grow where he is currently planted, as I was,” Ernest Hoppe said. 

As students come to the campus on a mountainside, they add to the legacy that is Liberty University.

Bear is the feature editor for the Liberty Champion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *