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Hopkins Grammar School
The Class of 1965



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Michael Lopez

Mike's Graduation Photo

Michael died of covid-19 on May 18, 2020.

Few of us knew Michael well at HGS, and sadly most of us lost touch with him after graduation.

The recounting of his career at the right is from his wife, Nga.

Michael received his BA with High Honors in Political Science from Michigan State University.  He obtained an MPhil and PhD in Economics from Yale University after doing research across India and hiking the mountains of Nepal.  Michael went on to be a visiting assistant professor with the Faculte des Sciences Juridiques et Economiques, University of Dakar, Senegal (while also doing research for the Center for Research on Economic Development (CRED) of the University of Michigan); and the Michigan State University; and later serving as an Economist with the Economic Research Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture until his retirement.  After retiring, Michael enjoyed  amateur photography, working as a docent for the Library of Congress, writing a family history, listening to classical music, attending plays at Arena Stage, Studio Theatre and Signature Theatre, and being a wonderful grandfather to Eleanor.

Michael was married to Nga who worked at the World Bank as a Senior Program Assistant for country directors of East Timor, Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam until her retirement in 2008.


Michael Lopez Mike attended one reunion, our 45th, when this photo was taken.
Mike's daughter, Caroline Dao Lopez graduated summa cum laude from Yale and then stayed on and received a law degree. She married in 2010 and Michael had a granddaughter, Eleanor Miranda. Caroline Dao Lopez
Few of us knew Michael well at HGS, and sadly most of us lost touch with him after graduation.

To understand better the trajectory of his life, read these reminisences that we received after his death.
Dick Hutchinson I didn't know Michael at all well. He was a small kid, with glasses, who you wouldn't find on a football field. And, you wouldn't find me in one of his classes.
In fact, we never took a class together. We knew one another slightly from the science club, where I'd like to see my hair stand up as I got close to the Van de Graff generator; where Michael actually understood how it worked.  

10 years ago I was on the phone with him, trying to get him to join us at our class reunion. We both knew it was only a short trip for him from Washington DC. I had the most delightful time talking with him, and convinced him to be at the reunion, and he made it to the reunion. At the reunion he was dapperly dressed and running around talking to everyone - and anyone. He told me that he had a great time.  

His story.   Michael chose to do a senior project, his second semester in 1965. He had not completed the project before the deadline, before graduation. Michael did go through the line with us at graduation and he did receive the hardcopy booklet, but he only got a blank sheet of paper inside the booklet – not a graduation certificate.   Because he had not officially graduated from Hopkins, headmaster Alan Sherk contacted Yale. Yale revoked his admission.  

Michael ended up going to Michigan State, where he eventually earned a PhD and taught before moving to governmental economics work in Washington DC.  

He said that going to the state of Michigan was one of the most wonderful things he had experienced. The people were delightful. That if Alan Sherk hadn't gotten Yale to revoke him, he would never have had such a wonderful experience and met such wonderful people. He loved the Midwest; and learned what it was like not to be introverted.  

Michael said he did get his revenge. His daughter went to Yale and got her PhD in economics. All an amazing story.

Rest in Peace – Michael Lopez.
Jim Durfee I remember him from the early days at Hopkins, when he, Tommy Berger and I were moved ahead a year in math in the middle of our First Form year.  We had that in common for a while and then drifted apart. 
Like Michael, I was (or should say “am”) kind of introverted and geeky, so I got along with everybody but never felt close to anyone at Hopkins.  It affected me when Tommy left and then died before graduating from Amity, and I was bewildered when I went to Brown and Michael wasn’t there.  I do appreciate finally learning why and am especially heartened by the way things turned out for Michael after Hopkins.
Marc Lendler

I'll add my Michael story.

 In late spring of our senior year, he and I were on the debate team and we had a tournament to go to somewhere else in New Haven.  I think it started exactly when our school day finished, so we had to leave an hour early to get there.  As we were getting ready to leave, Michael asked me whether we should tell Meinecke why we were leaving early. I pooh-poohed it, since we were going somewhere to represent the school.  But he asked again, I decided to humor him by letting Meinecke know.  We drive down the street at the end of driveway, and who pulls up and honks in back of my car but FAS.  He motioned us over and demanded to know why we had left school.  I silently thanked Michael for his foresight and we told him about the tournament.  He looked disappointed and lectured us about leaving school "with your college situations."  (Mine was as unsettled as his was.)  But score one for Michael. And we went on to win the tournament--80% Michael's doing.  

Bill Mack I was in a couple of classes with Michael and remember how impressed I, too, was with his amazing intelect.

I routinely called Michael many years for the Hopkins Annual Fund Phonathon and each time tried to encourage him to return to Hopkins for Reunion. I'm so glad he finally decided to come and that he truly seemed to enjoy it. I remember his yearbook page indicating that he planned to attend Brown, but was never aware of the story regarding the withdrawal of his acceptance. It was their loss! The Hopkins directory does indicate that his BA was from Michigan State University, and that he also earned his PhD from Yale. 
Bill Kneisel

Thank you for enabling  us all  to take some time to remember Mike Lopez , certainly one of the most innately intelligent and gifted academics in our class.

I would like to add a few details  to Mike’s story at Hopkins in our Senior year, as I remember them. 

We were both in Karl Crawford’s history class in our Sixth Form, probably European history. In the Fall, Karl announced that we would have a 20 page paper due on, say , March 15. He made only one stipulation: if the paper was not in right on time, you got an “F” on the paper and likely flunked the course. 

Mike did  not get his paper in on time. Karl  flunked Mike and let Sherk know . Mike had been accepted early at Brown, I believe , and they withdrew their early acceptance. Mike subsequently matriculated at Michigan, not Michigan State. That is what I remember.
John Mordes

Michael was very quiet and unassuming, and I admired his intellect. It is hard to believe that he is gone, the more so because he was, as Tom reported to us, a victim of Covid-19.


That he died months ago and we didn’t know is disconcerting.

The story Hutch recounts is very sad and yet so typical of the rigid way the school treated non-conformity. One wonders today if there was ethnic prejudice at work. We’ll never know.

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This page last updated November 4, 2020