Lee Kopp, Longtime Minneapolis College Benefactor, Retires
Kopp Investment Advisors recently announced that Lee Kopp will retire as Chairman and close the investment firm in November.
That Kopp will continue to devote time and resources to The Kopp Family Foundation, one of the lifeblood contributors to Minneapolis College students, was received with a great deal of interest and applause.
Kopp Was First-Gen College Student
“Like many of our students, faculty and staff, Mr. Kopp was the first in his family to graduate from college,” said Sharon Pierce, Minneapolis College President. “His commitment to our campus has helped students who, otherwise, would be unable to pursue their higher education goals. We are grateful for his generosity of spirit.”
That spirit has enabled hundreds of students to attend Minneapolis College.
“Hats off to the college for picking the students – we are not in the selection process,” Kopp said in a recent interview, “but I am pleased to see the crop of students chosen, usually coming from needy backgrounds with hard-working parents or hard-working single parents. Minneapolis College has a great student body with worthy students needing assistance for tuition and books.”
Minneapolis College One of First Colleges Kopp Embraced
Minneapolis College was one of the first colleges that Kopp and the Foundation embraced. Now, the Foundation “looks forward to continuing to invest in the community and achieve its primary goals to (1) help individuals achieve success by continuing education, (2) support non-profit organizations that encourage youth development, address women’s issues and provide for the care and quality of life for the elderly and (3) provide emergency assistance in the form of shelter and transportation for those in need.”
A void seems to have existed for 2-year college students.
“Minneapolis College and other 2-year colleges are not getting enough credit for what they bring to the table to create learning opportunities,” Kopp said.
The college recognizes the influence that Kopp and the Foundation provides its students. In appreciation and recognition, Minneapolis College introduced the Lee and Barbara Kopp Building on the 1501 Hennepin Avenue campus.
The Kopps are proud of their education and upbringing in low income families. “Lee and Barbara spent their childhoods with families that were very hard-working but did not earn a lot of money,” said Lindsey Lang, Kopp Family Foundation Administrator.
“Lee talks about his father getting up at 4 or 5 a.m. in all kinds of weather for his job as parking lot attendant.” Kopp proudly made that point during this interview about his educational roots – as an alum of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis and a graduate from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s Degree with Distinction in Business Administration in 1956. Lee met Barbara in Washington, D.C., while serving in the U.S. Navy 1956-59.
Kopp founded Investment Advisors in 1990 after a highly successful 30-year career with Dain Bosworth Inc. The Kopp Family Foundation was established in 1986.
Kopp Will Continue Charitable Foundation
“While Kopp Investment Advisors continues to enjoy success, the work of the family’s charitable foundation and the family office has become a much larger focus for Kopp and his family,” Lang said. “With Lee’s retirement from Kopp Investment Advisors, there are even more members of the community that will benefit from what Kopp and his wife Barbara continue to give back.”
The Kopp Family Foundation has been giving to Minneapolis College since July of 1995 with gifts totaling over $2.2 million.