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Remembering the 75
November 11, 2014

Marshall University pays tribute to Stephen J. Kopp


Marshall University and the Huntington community celebrated the life and legacy of President Stephen J. Kopp Tuesday in the Cam Henderson Center. Approximately 2,000 people came to pay their respects. Seats were filled with students, faculty, friends and family as speakers paid tribute to Kopp.

Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Menis E. Ketchum was a close friend to Kopp and spoke of the times they shared working to improve higher education.

“A great man passed in December,” Ketchum said. “He was single minded and he had a single purpose, to build Marshall University. Even when we were playing golf or having a cocktail all he could talk about was Marshall University.”

When he set his sights on something there was no stopping him. He was a man who empowered others and made them feel as though they could do anything.”

— Elizabeth Bradley

Ketchum spoke directly to Kopp’s wife, Jane thanking her for her contributions that mission. He joked that the couple was such an amazing team they were hired as two for the price of one.

“When many of us end our day we go home to relax and watch TV,” Ketchum said. “At the end of a school day, Steve and Jane’s day was just beginning. They were at every university event they could make.”

Former Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President for Communications, Bill Bissett said the loss of Kopp was very sudden and it left the community heart broken. He said the ceremony was carefully planned to celebrate his life and accomplishments.

“Today reminds us of the legacy President Kopp leaves at Marshall University,” Bissett said. “I will miss Dr. Kopp’s laugh. He was such a serious person, and he took this job very seriously. When you made him laugh you really felt like you accomplished something great.”

Kopp’s daughter, Elizabeth Bradley took a personal approach when speaking of her father. She told stories about his guidance and strength and thanked the community for their help during this time.

“The outpouring of love and support during this unimaginable time has helped us in ways that so many will never know,” Bradley said. “Dad was a man who knew what he wanted. When he set his sights on something there was no stopping him. He was a man who empowered others and made them feel as though they could do anything.”

The John Marshall Fife and Drum Corps, the Marshall University Chamber Choir, soloist Taylor Isaacs and piper J.D. Lowman performed at the ceremony.

Students were reminded to carry on his legacy and to remember Kopp when they walk into the Rec Center, Visual Arts Center, engineering complex, First Year Residence Halls and other facilities and programs he brought to light in his nine years at Marshall.

Jessica Starkey can be contacted at [email protected]


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