Project Manager: Bob Sonnenberg USNA '70
USNA '70 began our relationship with Admiral "Amazing" Grace Hopper shortly after the commissioning of the USS Grace Hopper (DDG-70) in September 1997. Since her hull number was 70, the class voted to sponsor an annual leadership award to the ship's selected Junior Officer and Petty Officer. The following picture shows the presentation of the 2000 Junior Officer of the Year Award for USS Hopper (DDG 70) on January 2, 2002 by Admiral Tom Fargo '70 to LTJG John M. Montgomery (son of John Montgomery '70).
On 21 Oct 2016, a ground-breaking ceremony was conducted for the new Hopper Hall (Cyber Center Building and Classrooms). The site of the building will be to the right side of Nimitz Library and the left side of Rickover Hall, facing the entrance to either building. USNA ’70, as part of their 50th Reunion Legacy Gift Project of $1.97M donation to the USNA Foundation, has pledged $500K of that amount to the Cyber Center (includes $250K for naming opportunity to outfit a lab or classroom).
Classmate Reed Clark had suggested in the recent past that a portrait of USS Hopper for display in Hopper Hall would be a great idea for the class to support. During further discussions, the idea morphed into a portrait of Admiral Hopper with USS Hopper in the background, or some other format for both.
After some preliminary research, including who at USNA would have to approve the project (Architect of the Naval Academy Sara Phillips), the approximate cost ($15-20K), and the approximate size of the portrait (~36"-42";heigth by 30"-32";width), the information was provided to our Class Officers at a meeting on 25 Jan 2017. Per the class bylaws, the officers voted unanimously to approve the project and to proceed, naming Bob Sonnenberg as the Project Manager.
On 1 Feb 2017, Class Preident Mike Novak was able to obtain suitable funding for the project from an anonymous donor. The donor will remain anonymous for now, and desires that the portrait and display appropriately indicate, “Donated by the Class of 1970”.
On 19 April 2017, the USNA Foundation signed a contract with Tom Edgerton, who has done several portraits for the Naval Academy, to complete the Admiral Hopper portrait for a sum of $20K. On 7 July 2017, Bob Sonnenberg and our five Class Officers met with the USNA Foundation, USNA Architect and Tom Edgerton to review Tom's preliminary concepts for the portrait. The primary approach will be based on the following picture of Admiral Hopper.
In order to ensure the focus of his portrait was on Admiral Hopper, the artist suggested that many of the background items be removed. This was discussed at our inital progress review and deletions and a few additions were agreed upon. The artist then recommended that the Admiral's face be based upon a different picture in order to capture a more normal pose. This picture is provided to the right of the folllowing paragraph.
A second progress review with Tom Edgerton was conducted October 5th via teleconference with the USNA Foundation (Rich Goldsby) and USNA Architect (Sara Phillips) at Beach Hall (old USNA hospital). The artist provided a color sketch (provided below) of the eventual 42" by 43" portrait that incorporated feedback from our previous meeting. The results of this meeting were an agreement to allow the artist to proceed with the portrait. We plan to hold another progress review late this year or early next year. It is now anticipated that his work will be completed in the Spring 2018. Upon acceptance, the Admiral's portrait will be displayed in the USNA Museum. It will be moved to a prominent location in the Hopper Hall Lobby prior to the building's commisioning, currently anticipated in early 2020 (as there is no rush). We are working on tying this in with the Class of 2020 as part of our ALITC program or potentially our 50th Reunion (dependant upon the actual commissioning date for Hopper Hall).
As research began to locate existing Admiral Hopper portraits that might be helpful to the artist, an email was sent to the USS Hopper XO, Jeff Tamulevich '99 (son of Carl '68) to see if there was something displayed in the wardroom. The ship was on a deployment at the time, and CDR Tamulevich said he'd send something on their return to Pearl. He also indicated that the CO wanted to send one of the Hopper battle ensigns for display in Hopper Hall. Details were finalized and the Battle Ensign (30ft x 50 ft.) that was flown on the USS Hopper, while deployed to the Arabian Gulf in 2016 - 2017 (see image at bottom), is now at USNA for eventual display in the Hopper Hall Lobby.
Updated: October 5, 2017
Curator: Ed Moore