Sept. 01, 2016 - Shortly after Claude Hippard's untimely death, his loved ones ensured his life and influence would benefit University of Houston Law Center students for generations to come.
Hippard's widow, Dr. Helena Karlberg Hippard, and the extended Hippard family began the Claude D. Hippard '83 Scholarship in 2012. The scholarship, which is awarded annually at the Dean's Awards ceremony, is intended for a second-year law student with outstanding moral character, financial need, and a demonstrated interest in government service.
Hippard spent the majority of his legal career working as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office. He specialized in asset forfeiture and fighting organized crime and drug trafficking, a responsibility he did not take lightly.
"There seemed to be no better way to honor Claude, and to continue his legacy by creating an endowed scholarship at the Law Center," Karlberg Hippard said. "He was very motivated to make the streets safer, to get all the bad elements out, so the people of America can have a safe society to live in. If we can support students with a less advantaged background to acquire a law degree and to continue their career serving the people, we have achieved our goals for the scholarship."
Hippard, who died at 57, had a number of ties to the school. His father, James Hippard Sr., was a tenured professor and a mock trial competition at the school is named after him. His brothers, James Hippard Jr. and George Hippard, graduated from the Law Center in 1984 and 1990, respectively. James Hippard Jr. also continues to work at the Law Center as an adjunct professor.
"The University of Houston and the Law Center is very dear to the whole Hippard family," Karlberg Hippard said. "They loved going to Cougar football games. Claude's father used to take him and all of the family to all of the games. After their father passed away, Claude and his brothers continued that tradition and had season tickets throughout the years. The Hippard family sees itself very much connected with the UH family."
Karlberg Hippard said the spirit of legal education, and helping others inspires her family to continue funding the scholarship, keeping the Hippard name synonymous with the Law Center.
She hopes those who receive the scholarship will one day consider giving back as well.
"It's a gift to our family that we can do this," Karlberg Hippard said. "We hope to help a student who struggles financially to reach his/her goal of becoming a lawyer. To help less privileged students and giving them a chance is very important to us. Maybe in return they can help others, so this can trickle down for generations."