Henry Coppée

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Henry Coppée
Henry Coppée.jpg
Born October 13, 1821 (1821-10-13)
Savannah, Georgia, U.S.
Died March 22, 1895 (1895-03-23) (aged 73)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality United States
Ethnicity French
Occupation Educationalist, Author

Henry Coppée (13 October 1821 – 22 March 1895) was an American educationalist and author.

Biography[edit]

Henry Coppée was born in Savannah, Georgia, to a family of French extraction that had formerly settled in Haiti. He studied at Yale University for two years, worked as a civil engineer, graduated at West Point in 1845, served in the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant and was breveted captain for gallantry at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco during the Mexican–American War.

He was professor of English at West Point from 1850 to 1855 (when he resigned from the army), was professor of English literature and history in the University of Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1866.

He was selected by Asa Packer as the first president of Lehigh University, an office he filled from 1866 to 1875. He also served as the university's president pro tem from the death of Robert A. Lamberton in September 1893 to his own death in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1895.

Lehigh University's Coppee Hall (built in 1883) was named for him; it was first a gymnasium, later the home of the Department of Arts and Science, and now is home to the Journalism and Communication program. During Coppée's tenure, much building was done on the new campus. A Moravian church on Packer Avenue was remodeled into Christmas Hall, a house for the president was erected, and Packer Hall, the university center, was built. Coppée lectured in history, logic, rhetoric, political economy and Shakespeare.

He published elementary text-books of logic (1857), of rhetoric (1859), and of English literature (1872); various manuals of drill; Grant, a Military Biography (1866); General Thomas (1893), in the Great Commanders Series; History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors (1881); and in 1862 a translation of Marmonts Esprit des institutions militaires, besides editing the Comte de Paris's Civil War in America.

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Preceded by
none
President of Lehigh University
1866–1875
Succeeded by
John McDowell Leavitt