Kalamazoo College has announced a $5 million gift in support of its Brighter Light Campaign from alumnus Robert J. Kopecky ’72.
The gift will establish the Ervin J. and Violet A. Kopecky Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Kopecky’s parents, and the Robert J. Kopecky ’72 Endowed Study Abroad Fund, as well as support other study abroad funding, current-use scholarships and the Kalamazoo College Fund.
The new funding will support the College’s strategic plan, Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023, by providing need-based scholarships and awards to expand student access to all aspects of a Kalamazoo College education.
“Through my life after leaving Kalamazoo College, I have had an ever-increasing appreciation for the value of liberal arts education,” said Kopecky. “I wanted to help the College make that educational opportunity available to students with limited economic resources and to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate fully in the study abroad program, which is such an essential part of the K College experience.”
Kopecky graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1972 with a B.A. in physics. While at K he studied abroad for six months in Nairobi, Kenya, where he also had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa—an unforgettable experience for Kopecky. After graduating from K, Kopecky earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. Kopecky has spent over 40 years practicing law at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, trying cases in state and federal courts and arguing appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as numerous federal appellate courts and state supreme courts. During his years at Kirkland & Ellis, Bob represented numerous pro bono clients in both criminal and civil matters. He also served for several years on the board of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, including one year as Chair of the Board. In March 2021, he published his first book, The Season of Living Dangerously: A Fan’s Notes On Baseball’s Strangest Season.
Kopecky has been a longtime supporter of Kalamazoo College, as both a donor to the Center for International Programs and as a recent member of the Board of Trustees, where he currently serves on the Risk Review Committee. His daughter Catherine (Katie) Kopecky is a 2013 graduate of the College.
President Jorge G. Gonzalez noted that endowed funds such as these can open up transformative opportunities for students. “Our goal as an institution is for talented students to be able to choose K regardless of their financial need, and for students to be able to participate fully in all aspects of K’s experiential education,” said Gonzalez. “We could not be more grateful to Bob, whose generous gift will be opening doors for students for generations to come.”
The Brighter Light Campaign is raising $150 million to provide endowed and annual support for students, faculty and staff, curricular and co-curricular activities, athletics and campus facilities. For more information, visit the Brighter Light Campaign page: www.kzoo.edu/brighterlight