Alumna Carol Cope leaves $1M to support music, business

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Alumna Carol Cope leaves $1M to support music, business

Carol Cope
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Carol Cope has directed a $1 million gift through her estate to provide permanently endowed support for UNL faculty professorships in business and music.

University of Nebraska alumna Carol Cope has directed a $1 million gift through her estate to provide permanently endowed support for faculty professorships in business and music at UNL.

The gift made to the University of Nebraska Foundation and announced today establishes two $500,000 endowed funds. The Ron and Carol Cope UNL College of Business Administration Professorship will provide annual stipend awards to outstanding business faculty members, and the Ron and Carol Cope UNL School of Music Professorship will provide awards for outstanding music faculty members.

Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, said: “This most generous gift represents the lasting legacy of Ron and Carol Cope at the University of Nebraska. The magnitude of its effect will be felt on generations of students and educators.”

In addition to the UNL gift, the Cope estate directed $11.6 million to support the University of Nebraska at Kearney, representing the largest gift ever to that campus. The gift provides support for the university’s Campaign for Nebraska, a comprehensive fundraising initiative with priorities that include increasing permanent support for students and faculty.

Carol Cope and her husband, Ron, were longtime residents of Kearney, where they owned shoe stores. They provided support to the University of Nebraska for more than 50 years, endowing funds for student scholarships and faculty professorships. They were regarded for their philanthropic and volunteer service in Kearney, and facilities throughout the city and UNK campus are named for them in honor of their generosity to the community.

Carol Cope grew up in Pawnee County and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1934 with a bachelor of fine arts in education. She taught music in North Platte and Lincoln before moving to California, where she was a professional accompanist and completed a master’s degree at UCLA.

The Copes were married in 1939 and operated Claussens Shoes and Famous Shoe Stores for 30 years. They developed their estate by investing in farmland and early Berkshire-Hathaway stock.

Ron Cope was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 1974. He died Jan. 12, 1992. Carol Cope was involved in numerous organizations and foundations at local and state levels. She died on her 103rd birthday on Sept. 13, 2012.

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