Duane Bonifer  |   Published April 25, 2017

New chairman

Mark Kopinski elected chairman of Monmouth College Board of Trustees
  • Mark Kopinski of New York City, left, has been elected chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees, and Dr. Ralph R. Velazquez Jr. of Peoria, Ill., has been elected vice chairman of the board. Both are 1979 graduates of the college.
Mark Kopinski has been elected chairman of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees.

A resident of New York City and 1979 Monmouth graduate, Kopinski succeeds William J. Goldsborough, who has chaired the board for the last five years.

A retired chief investment officer with American Century Investment Management Kopinski has served as a trustee since 2004 and on the executive committee since 2006. He has also served as chair of the board’s finance and endowment committees.

“It’s the culmination of a great experience,” said Kopinski, who grew up in the Chicago area. “I had a great experience as a Monmouth student. The College allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do, encouraged me to explore, and showed me that I could do anything I put my heart and head to.”

Serving alongside Kopinski as vice chairman will be Dr. Ralph R. Velazquez Jr. of Peoria, Ill. Also a 1979 Monmouth graduate, Velazquez is senior vice president at OSF HealthCare Systems of Peoria.

“I have had the great pleasure and honor of serving with an outstanding Board chair in Bill Goldsborough, and I now have the similar great good fortune of working with another exceptional leader in Mark Kopinski,” President Dr. Clarence R. Wyatt. “My wife, Lobie, and I have a close relationship with Mark and his wife, Debbie. Working in partnership with them, and with our excellent new vice chair Ralph Velazquez and his wife, Jane, we see great things ahead for Monmouth College.”

Kopinski said that building Monmouth’s endowment is his “No. 1 goal.” Not including a recent $20 million commitment, Monmouth’s endowment stands at about $100 million.

“A stronger endowment will help Monmouth in many, many ways – not just from a student scholarship perspective, but also from a faculty-enrichment perspective,” he said. “Our faculty is deeply committed to our students and their education, and the board is deeply committed to helping our faculty achieve those goals.”

Kopinski served on the presidential search committee that recommended Wyatt to the board. Wyatt has been the College’s 14th president since July 2014.

“I was really excited when Clarence met with the search committee,” Kopinski said. “I felt that he was a great fit and what we needed. We needed a man of his intellectual measure and his planning ability. I’m so happy that he and (his wife) Lobie are here. It’s going to be great to work with them. It feels good to be part of the process that selected him.”

Kopinski said liberal arts college such as Monmouth offer students opportunities that are not always available at larger universities.

“I have several friends who work at Goldman Sachs, and I when I asked them about the type of people they were hiring, they told me that they stopped hiring MBAs and they were hiring more students from liberal arts colleges because they felt like they brought a deeper experience, they brought problem-solving skills and the ability to write,” he said.

Kopinski said he enjoys serving on the Monmouth Board of Trustees because of the “open exchange of ideas” at meetings.

“I find there is always an openness to a suggestion, as long as the overarching reasoning for it is: Is it benefitting the student? Is it benefitting the College? Is it furthering someone’s education?” he said. “There are a lot of smart people on the board and a lot of great discussions. And I never feel like I need to hold back because I think everyone has one thing and one goal in mind, which is how the make the college better.”
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