The Legacy of LeRoy “Lee” Kopp

man smiling
11/3/20

The legacy of the LeRoy “Lee” Kopp and family remains visible throughout the Minneapolis College campus, even with his recent passing October 9.

You can see it in Kopp Hall which was constructed with funding from $2.3 million in contributions to Minneapolis College made by The Kopp Family Foundation since 1995. You can also see it in the look of determination on the faces of Minneapolis College students who learn—thanks to scholarships from the foundation—to achieve goals that will jumpstart careers. Many of these students will go on to ‘give back’ to across a myriad of Minnesota’s industries and community services.

Minneapolis College students have been awarded $1.1 million in Kopp Presidential Scholarships participating in the Random Acts of Kindness program. This emergency fund helps students meet basic needs such as one-time emergency expenses, transportation costs, food insecurities and the cost of taking specific exams to become certified in their field after graduation.

The Kopp Family Foundation has a long and steadfast commitment to encouraging students to attend college as demonstrated by having provided nearly $1 million in scholarships each year to high school and college students.

In a 2019 interview, Kopp said, “I am pleased to see the crop of students chosen, usually coming from needy backgrounds with hard working couples or single parents,” he said. “Minneapolis College has a great student body with worthy students needing assistance for tuition and books.”

Sharon Pierce, Minneapolis College President, said, “Lee Kopp’s 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.

“Minneapolis College and other 2-year colleges are not getting enough credit for what they bring to the table to create learning opportunities,” Kopp continued.

kopp hall exterior

To recognize the influence that Kopp, his wife Barbara and their foundation provides students, Minneapolis College introduced the Lee and Barbara Kopp Hall on Campus in 2004, renaming the existing "C" building.

“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 recalled his father getting up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. in all kinds of weather for his job as parking lot attendant.”

Kopp graduated from Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis and  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.

Kopp founded Investment Advisors in 1990 after a successful 30-year career with Dain Bosworth, Inc. The Kopp Family Foundation was established in 1986.