LA PLUME — David Coppola knows strategic planning and growth. And he hopes to bring that knowledge with him this summer when he becomes the 10th president in the 145-year history of Keystone College.
Coppola, 53, was introduced Monday during a campus ceremony as the man who will succeed Edward G. Boehm Jr.
Boehm, who has served Keystone College for the past 18 years, announced in August he would step down as at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. He’ll transition to the role of president emeritus.
Since arriving at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., in 1998, Coppola has played an integral role in helping the university grow from a commuter institution of about 600 students granting associate and bachelor degrees to an institution now serving 6,200 total students and with a residential student population of 3,200. Sacred Heart now grants bachelors, masters and select professional doctoral degrees.
Keystone College, which had been a junior college until 1995, has seen steady enrollment and curriculum growth. This academic year the school, which straddles the Lackawanna County and the Wyoming County border, reported its largest student body in its history with 1,400.
That growth intrigued Coppola enough to apply for the job, and once he saw the school’s strategic plan and mission, he fell in love.
“The place where I’m at right now, we were pretty much where Keystone is right now,” Coppola said. “I felt like I know the playbook. They want to grow academically, I could show them.” But he quickly cautioned what he is not trying to do.
“I’m not trying to make it into Sacred Heart,” said Coppola, a married father of two young sons.
One of 140 applicants who applied, Coppola was viewed as someone whose experience fit well with Keystone’s mission.
Thomas “Tim” Speicher, the chairman of Keystone’s board of trustees, said “Dr. Coppola has a highly successful record as an educator and college administrator. In addition to his vast skills and experience, he has exhibited tremendous dedication and commitment to the field of education.”
Coppola said he envisions Keystone as a school “that has a real niche and a real appeal” but also as one that wants to grow and expand to meet the evolving needs of students today. He said he shares that vision and looks forward to the challenge.
“I am positive Keystone will continue in its remarkable journey, and I look forward to working with the entire Keystone community as we strive to build upon our proud past and work toward an even more promising future,” Coppola said.