Dr. Henry Coppee, LL.D

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Dr. Henry Coppee, LL.D

Birthplace: Savannah, Chatham County , Georgia, United States
Death: March 22, 1895 (73)
Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States
Place of Burial: Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr Edward Coppee and Caroline Eugenia Coppee
Husband of Julia Coppee
Father of Julia de Witt Jenkins
Brother of Eliza Mitchell

Occupation: Civil Engineer
Managed by: Timothy E. Wood
Last Updated:

About Dr. Henry Coppee, LL.D

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

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, and finally graduated from the West Point in 1845. He served in the Mexican–American War as a lieutenant and was brevetted captain for gallantry at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco.[1] During the American Civil War, he edited the United States Service Magazine.

Coppée was Assistant Professor of French at West Point from 1848 to 1849, and then Principal Assistant Professor of Geography, History, and Ethics from 1850 to 1855.[2] After resigning from the army, he was the Professor of English literature and History at the University of Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1866. In 1856, Coppée was elected to the American Philosophical Society.[3] 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 tempore twice: for a few months following the resignation of Lehigh's second President John M. Leavitt (1880), and again, at the passing of Robert A. Lamberton in September 1893 to his own death in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on March 22, 1895.[4][5]

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.



Prof. Henry Coppee, L.L.D. of Lehigh University graduated from West Point in 1845. He was President of Lehigh University from 1866 to 1875 and from 1893 to 1895.

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Dr. Henry Coppee, LL.D's Timeline

October 13, 1821
Savannah, Chatham County , Georgia, United States
March 7, 1851
West Point, Orange, New York, United States
March 22, 1895
Age 73
Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States
Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States