Minnesota philanthropist dies at age 86
Lee Kopp, renowned philanthropist and Kopp Family Foundation founder, passed away October 9, 2020. Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College are grateful recipients of his generosity and support through the Kopp Family Foundation.
Lee and Barbara’s commitment to student success at community and technical colleges has impacted thousands of students across the state of Minnesota. Our campus communities are saddened by his passing and extend deep condolences to the Kopp family and friends.
“I have worked at three different Minnesota State institutions, and Mr. Kopp’s generosity was in evidence at each one,” said Michael Berndt, Inver Hills and DCTC president. “I last met him in 2018, and I was impressed by his continued focus on students. Mr. Kopp was a strong advocate for education as a pathway to prosperity.”
Cheryl Frank, Inver Hills president from 1998 until 2009, reported: “Lee helped so many of the institutions in many ways, but at the center of his interests was always trying to help the students. He provided many scholarships and infrastructure that benefited many.”
Since 1996, the Kopp Family Foundation has donated more than $675,00 to Inver Hills.
Since 2003, the Kopp Family Foundation has donated more than $720,000 to DCTC. Kopp Investment Advisors also served as the DCTC Foundation’s long-time financial advising firm.
The Kopp Family Foundation received the Lasting Legacy Community Partner Award in 2020. The award recognizes an external individual, couple, or business that has displayed longstanding and extraordinary support for Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College through their philanthropy, partnership, engagement in the community, and the promotion of educational opportunities at two year institutions.
Below is Star Tribune’s LeRoy C. ‘Lee’ Kopp obituary
Kopp, LeRoy C. “Lee” 86, passed away peacefully on October 9th. He is survived by his devoted wife Barbara of 61 years, sons Terry (Debbie) and Brian, daughters Debbie and Kristin (Chris), grandfather to 12 grandchildren (Shaun (Erin), Angela, (Bryce) Jennifer (Joe), Christopher, Matthew (Justina), Monica (John), Alex (Sam), Stephen, Gabriel, Peter, Henry and
Leah, 17 great grandchildren, brother to loving siblings, sister Donna (Owen) Kane, brothers Bill (Connie) and Ron and sister-in-law Pat, uncle to many nieces and nephews, countless friends and colleagues (his devoted assistant Lindsey Lang, John Flakne, Adam Engebretson, and Jill Martin) and loving caregivers.
He was a remarkable man who truly lived a remarkable life. He will never be forgotten. All those who knew him knew him as a man of tremendous integrity, kindness, generosity and great wit. He was born in St. Cloud Minnesota on September 23, 1934, son of Wilmont and Irene. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School with honors and then went on to graduate from University of Minnesota’s Business School in 1956.
Upon graduation, Lee spent 3 years of active duty in the Navy. He met the love of his life, the charming Barbara, in Washington D.C. They were married in 1959. He then joined J.M. Dain (now RBC Dain Rauscher) where he served as branch manager. In 1990, he established his own company, Kopp Investment Advisors, which was recognized as one of the top money managers in the nation. He was a great philanthropist who established the Kopp Family Foundation in 1986. His generosity has touched the lives of thousands. He will be truly missed. Funeral arrangements pending.
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Natalie Lawrence: Kopp Family Scholarship recipient
Natalie Lawrence completed her Psychology Transfer Pathway A.A. in June 2020 and will graduate with an A.S. in Biology in June 2021. Natalie has plans to continue on to Metropolitan State University to major in biochemistry with a minor in anthropology.
Natalie’s career goals are centered on obtaining her master’s degree in dietetics and becoming a dietitian.
Dear Kopp Family,
Thank you so much for the Kopp Family Scholarship. It is such a huge help in my educational journey.
I’m a single mom returning to school for a better life for my 7-year-old daughter, Vicki. It is my dream that we live in a house someday, and I can’t do that with my current education and income. When Vicki was born we were homeless. I worked two jobs to afford our first apartment. I work at a hospital currently and pay for college on my own. This scholarship is such a huge help.
I’m working on a degree in biology with a minor in chemistry and anthropology. I hope to be a dietitian one day. I used to be a clinical assistant for one—and I loved it.
I’m looking forward to continuing my educational journey. Thank you for your help!
Current Biology Major
Inver Hills Community College
Learn more about the Kopp Family Foundation’s contributions to Inver Hills Community College and Dakota County Technical College by contacting:
Interim Executive Director
Inver Hills Development Director
Foundation Business & Accounting Coordinator