Marshall Celebrates Life of Stephen J. Kopp


Members of the Marshall and Huntington community remembered President Stephen J. Kopp yesterday as a great leader and caring man.

Marshall University held a memorial service Tuesday for President Kopp who passed away suddenly on December 17th. Speakers from all walks of Kopp’s life as leader of the University spoke about the kind of man Kopp was. His daughter Liz Bradley.

“Being President wasn’t just a job to him, it was his calling. He was a visionary true, but he was so much more. He not only had the ideas, he found a way to make them into reality,” Bradley said. “To lose someone with that kind of forward thinking, with that kind of propensity for the positive at such a young age is not simply a loss, it’s a tragedy.”

He was remembered for his academic prowess, his belief in what Marshall University could become and all the sides the public didn’t see, like his sense of humor and caring spirit. Menus Ketchum, a member of the State Supreme Court, was a member of the Marshall Board of Governors that hire Kopp in 2005. When Kopp arrived enrollment numbers were down and he set out to change that.

“He held meetings with high school juniors and seniors at every high school that he could get into throughout the state to tout Marshall University. He went to Parkersburg, he went to Moundsville, he went to Wheeling, he went to Clarksburg, he went to Martinsburg, he went to Charlestown and he recruited,” Ketchum said.

Kopp is credited with moving the University in a positive direction. Setting records for freshman enrollment during his time, developing new colleges like physical therapy and pharmacy and rejuvenating relations with the Huntington community. Kopp’s visions for the University became realities. Paul Hill is the Chancellor of the Higher Education Policy Commission and an Alum of Marshall University.

“As a graduate of Marshall University and someone that will forever hold this campus to my heart, I’m profoundly thankful for President Kopp and Jane, that they chose to make this their home and make a lasting difference in West Virginia and here at Marshall University,” Hill said.

Kopp was 63.