Name of Diocesan Priest Removed from St. Bonaventure Administration Building
St. Bonaventure University
July 8, 2020
St. Bonaventure University has removed the name from Hopkins Hall, the university’s administration building.
Some investigative reporting this spring by Sean Mickey, a reporter for The Bona Venture student newspaper, revealed that the building was named after Msgr. James Hopkins, a diocesan priest who was credibly accused of sexual abuse.
“We didn’t realize that Hopkins was on a list of priests accused of sexual abuse, but when Sean inquired about it when he saw his name, I confirmed with the Diocese of Erie that Hopkins was on the list, and that he had more than one abuse claim,” said Tom Missel, chief communications officer. “Kudos to Sean for bringing it to the university’s attention.”
Dr. Dennis DePerro, university president, authored a resolution to have Hopkins’ name removed from the building. The university’s Board of Trustees approved the resolution at its annual summer board meeting.
“It’s reprehensible what’s been uncovered and heartbreaking for the families who’ve been victimized,” DePerro said. “It doesn’t matter that the abuses in this case might have happened a century ago. Anytime a story surfaces like this, anyone who’s been a victim of sexual abuse feels the pain.”
The sign in front of Hopkins has been removed. For the time being, the building will simply be called the Administration Building, which is engraved above the main entrance. Discussions about renaming the building will happen down the road, but it’s not a high priority at this moment, DePerro said.
Labeled one of 41 “predator priests” in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, Hopkins attended seminary at St. Bonaventure in the late 1890s and received an honorary degree from the university in 1950. Hopkins was a priest in the Diocese of Erie and not a Franciscan friar. He died in 1957.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.