Dr. Stephen J. Kopp is completing his ninth year of service as president of Marshall University. Under his leadership, Marshall has experienced unprecedented growth and development. The strategic vision and priorities that have guided Marshall University under President Kopp’s leadership have stressed the importance of student success and developing the tools and resources required to advance this success. The Marshall Commitment ©, an eleven-element action plan for advancing academic quality at Marshall, expresses and embodies this action agenda.
Since Dr. Kopp became president in 2005, $200 million in new buildings and building renovations have been completed with more than $110 million in new infrastructure development under way in 2013, which will include the $55 million Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, the downtown Fine and Visual Arts Center, a high-tech classroom building, a new soccer stadium, and a three-building indoor practice complex, which will include an indoor practice facility, student –athlete academic center and the Sports Medicine Translational Research Center.
Marshall's academic profile has grown dramatically with new high-demand majors and degree programs, including digital forensics and the new schools of pharmacy, physical therapy and public health. Under his leadership, the four-year undergraduate engineering program has been re-established and is now fully accredited.
External funding for research has doubled and a $30 million research endowment has been established at Marshall, following the successful mini-campaign to raise $15 million in private gifts. President Kopp was the architect for the West Virginia Research Trust Fund legislation, which has matched dollar-for-dollar the private gifts to Marshall in support research. In addition, during his tenure, Marshall has become a leading university for advanced, high-performance computing and Internet-2 connectivity. The evolution of this platform is positioning Marshall University to partner and compete globally anytime, anywhere with anyone at any level.
Marshall University continues to excel as the nation's leading, accredited graduate DNA forensics program and has added to it the only accredited digital forensics program in the world. In response to the needs of local, state and federal intelligence and law-enforcement communities, the University recently launched an undergraduate major in digital forensics. In conjunction with these developments, the Rahall Transportation Institute at Marshall has advanced to become one of the top university transportation centers in the country.
Besides its continued progress in infrastructure development and academic innovation, Marshall is also growing in enrollment and in the geographic area it serves. Under his guidance, Marshall has welcomed the largest freshman classes in its 175-year history and undertaken a groundbreaking initiative in international student recruitment.
Dr. and Mrs. Kopp are proud to call West Virginia home and quickly became endeared with the people and beauty of Huntington. Dr. Kopp has been honored by Create Huntington for his efforts to help improve the livability of Huntington and he is frequently sought after for his candid and thoughtful approach to business and community matters.
He lends his expertise to a variety of area economic development organizations, including the Huntington Area Development Council and the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church and the Rotary Club, and he is a contributor to local charity fundraising efforts.
Dr. Kopp has a true appreciation for the arts and he recognizes their importance in building a strong and vibrant community. His support has helped make possible the Old Main Corridor and Fourth Avenue beautification projects. Kopp led Marshall through the purchase of the former Stone & Thomas building, which will become a downtown visual arts center and an anchor of the new city landscape, bringing Marshall and downtown Huntington closer together. In addition, Kopp proudly lines the president’s office suite with student artwork – hand-picked to highlight the immense artistic talent he sees within the Marshall community.
The president regularly visits area high schools to instill in students the importance of not just starting college, but completing their degrees, if they expect to compete in the global marketplace. He’s a champion for raising educational standards because he strongly believes our students are capable of higher level achievement.
President Kopp joined Marshall in 2005 following leadership positions with Midwestern University, Central Michigan University and Ohio University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame, and his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He served as a postdoctoral fellow at the St. Louis University Medical Center, and a research fellow and NIH Fellow in the department of biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago prior to joining the faculty of Midwestern University.
He and his wife, Jane, have two grown children, two grandchildren and two dogs.