Office of the President
March 12, 2019
Dear LMU Community:
I am saddened to share that Reverend Albert P. Koppes, O.Carm., retired associate chancellor of the university, former academic vice president, founding dean of the School of Education, and a member of the Faculty Hall of Fame, passed away this morning, March 12, 2019. He was 85 years old.
Father Koppes’s monumental 43-year career at LMU, from 1975 to 2018, accompanied the most expansive period of growth in the university’s history, and he was at the center of it all. His knowledgeable hand is seen in the myriad high-quality professors he hired; his keen sense of education is instilled in the bold programs he developed; his devotion to our Catholic mission is seen in the success of PLACE Corps—which he often called his signature accomplishment. During Father Koppes’s tenure as dean, the School of Education launched the first LMU research doctorate, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice. Six LMU presidents benefited from his wise and thoughtful counsel.
Father Koppes served LMU as an assistant professor of education and assistant director of secondary education; academic vice president; inaugural dean of the School of Education; interim director of Campus Ministry; and associate chancellor. In each of those roles he applied his fierce intellect, his loving heart, his generous spirit, and his sharp wit to make our university the best it could be.
Among the scores of committees on which Father Koppes served are the LMU Heritage Association of Retired Faculty and Staff, organized to maintain connections to those who have retired and still love LMU, and the Faculty Hall of Fame, which honors those educators who have left a lasting impact on LMU.
Before joining LMU in 1975, Father Koppes taught classes at California State University, Northridge and Pepperdine University. He was the first Catholic priest hired at Pepperdine.
Father Koppes was born in Prescott, Arizona and was raised in the Chicago area. He joined the Order of the Carmelites in 1947, when he was 14 years old, and was ordained in 1959. Father Koppes came to Southern California in 1960, taking his first assignment at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino. He served as a mathematics, science, Latin, and religion instructor from 1960; he then became principal, from 1966-71. Many of the Crespi students of those years remained Father Koppes’s lifelong friends.
Father Koppes earned his doctorate in education in 1973 at USC, his master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Notre Dame, and his bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and mathematics at St. Bonaventure University in western New York.
A funeral will take place at Sacred Heart Chapel. We will announce the details when they are available.
Please keep Father Al, his family and his multitude of friends and admirers in your thoughts and prayers.
Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.