Published May 10, 2019
Hopkins — who has transformed the way the medical field thinks about and treats cerebrovascular disorders — served as chair of the Department of Neurosurgery from 1989 to 2013. He joined the UB faculty in 1975.
As one of the founding figures of endovascular treatment for neurovascular disorders, Hopkins has redefined the field of vascular neurosurgery in stroke management and lesion stenting.
In the process, he has trained a new generation of neurosurgeons in catheter-based technology for minimally invasive neurosurgery. Hopkins’ innovations in endovascular surgery serve as the benchmark for therapeutic endovascular intervention.
An advocate of cross-specialty collaboration, Hopkins fostered the creation of UB’s Canon Stroke and Vascular Research Center. He also conceived a new way to organize the multidisciplinary treatment of vascular disease, working with experts from around the world to design the Gates Vascular Institute (GVI).
Hopkins then recruited the necessary partners to bring the GVI and the Jacobs Institute (JI) — a non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development of next-generation technologies in vascular medicine — to life. He currently is chief scientific officer of the JI.
In presenting the medal to Hopkins, UB Council Chairman Jeremy M. Jacobs noted that he first came to know him many years ago through his brother, the late Lawrence D. Jacobs, MD.
“Larry was a neurologist and Nick a neurosurgeon, and together they distinguished themselves in research and discovery,” Jacobs said. “In doing so, they distinguished the university, our hospitals and the entire Western New York community.”
“Nick’s passion for medicine is perhaps best expressed in his desire to train the next generation of neurosurgeons,” he added. “For more than three decades, people have come from all over the world to learn from Nick at the University at Buffalo.”
Upon receiving the award, Hopkins first thanked his wife, Bonnie, and their children for all of their love and support throughout the decades.
“This whole community has been special to me and has really made possible the opportunity to do this. I don’t know if we could have done this in any other community,” Hopkins said.
“I’ve been carrying the UB banner around the world for more than 30 years with great pride,” he added.
”As many places as I go, there’s nothing as exciting as when I bring somebody to Buffalo and show them what’s going on here. It blows their mind all the time. With all the new facilities on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, it’s just an extraordinary place.”
Hopkins has served on the board of directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and on the executive committee of the Stroke Council of the American Heart Association.
A past president of the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, he is a former chairman of the scientific and annual meetings of AANS and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons — and those organizations’ Joint Cerebrovascular Section.
The Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal is presented annually in public recognition of a person who has, in Norton’s words, “performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo … a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement or any other thing which, in itself, is truly great and ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world.”
Hopkins was awarded the medal at the Jacobs School’s commencement ceremony on May 3 at the Center for the Arts on UB’s North Campus.