Father Albert P. Koppes, O.Carm., Dean of LMU SOE from 2000-2004 and LMU Associate Chancellor, has announced his retirement from Loyola Marymount University. Father Koppes, whose influence has been felt deeply in the LMU School of Education, will retire as of Dec. 31, 2018, after 43 years with the university.
Father Koppes, a Carmelite priest, began his tenure at LMU in 1975, where he supported the secondary education program, supervised student teachers, and taught math/science methods and educational psychology. In the spring of 1981, he was elected Chair of the Education Department, received tenure, and was promoted to Associate Professor. In 1982, he was appointed Acting Academic Vice President, and the following year, after a national search, he was appointed Academic Vice President. He held that position until 1990, when he took a year sabbatical before returning return to the Department of Education as a faculty member and Chair of the Department.
When the Department formally became a School in 1992, he served as the School’s first director, and then became SOE’s first dean in 2000. During his tenure, the SOE grew tremendously in student enrollment – from 350 to 850 graduate students – and faculty and staff grew as well. Father Koppes served on and chaired numerous state accreditation visits and initiated the SOE’s successful accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 1998. In 2001, he was invited to become a Board of Examiners (BOE) member of NCATE and participated in several NCATE reviews of universities nationally. During his leadership, SOE also created a partnership with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to establish the PLACE Corps program to prepare teachers to work in inner city Catholic schools. He also established a partnership with Teach For America, and in the summer of 2004, SOE successfully initiated the first research doctorate at LMU – the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice.
In 2004, Father Robert Lawton, S.J., LMU’s president at the time, asked Father Koppes to return as Acting Academic Vice President for a second time while a national search was conducted. In 2005, Father Koppes moved to semi-retirement as Dean Emeritus and Associate Chancellor.
“God’s grace put so many good people in my life and career at LMU,” said Father Koppes. “The variety of positions I’ve had allowed me the privilege, notably in the School of Education, to work with many remarkable people. I’m especially proud of the accomplishments of PLACE Corps, which has had great influence on Catholic education in Los Angeles and deepened our relationship with the archdiocese. That a devoted Carmelite worked so well with the Jesuits is a very good thing.”
“We are very grateful for Father Koppes’ vision, leadership, and contributions to LMU and the School of Education in particular. We would not be the SOE we are today without him,” said Mary K. McCullough, interim dean of the School of Education. “Father Koppes is a mentor, colleague, and friend to so many and he will be missed. On behalf of the SOE, I wish him a blessed retirement.”