• The Bill Coplin Endowed Policy Studies Scholarship

  • The Bill Coplin Endowed Policy Studies Scholarship will provide support for students majoring in the Maxwell School’s undergraduate policy studies major.

    The scholarship honors one of the School’s most distinctive and influential faculty members, and the unique undergraduate program he has directed for more than 40 years.

    A Campaign is Underway

    Creation of the Bill Coplin Policy Studies Scholarship was prompted by alumna Elysa B. Wolfe, a 1993 Maxwell graduate who herself majored in policy studies (as well as political science). Wolfe and her father, Ralph G. Wolfe, recently committed a major bequest gift to the Maxwell School in honor of Coplin.

    To honor the Wolfes and the intention of their eventual bequest, the University immediately initiated a campaign for a Coplin fund, so that other policy studies graduates may contribute. 

    As of May 1, 2019, in just the first few weeks of the effort, more than $650,000 has been committed to the fund. In this campaign chaired by Elysa Wolfe, our goal is to raise $1 million to make this a historic celebration of Coplin while supporting deserving policy studies students. 

  • Make your gift using our online form.

    Give to the Coplin Fund
  • Alumna Elysa B. Wolfe Inspires Creation of Coplin Fund

    elysa wolfe and bill coplin
    Elysa Wolfe '93 and Bill Coplin

    The idea for the Bill Coplin Scholarship started with Elysa B. Wolfe, a 1993 policy studies graduate. Recently, she and her father, Ralph G. Wolfe, built a major bequest gift, which honors Coplin with a scholarship fund, into their estate plans.

    Wolfe describes herself as one of the many Maxwell graduates beholden to Bill Coplin’s positive influence on their career choices. Wolfe chanced upon policy studies during her first year at Syracuse and, she says, “instantly I knew.” Wolfe rose to the pragmatism and emphasis on results taught in the introductory policy studies course.

    “What I especially appreciated was how the program encouraged me to get out into the community, roll up my sleeves, and make a difference,” she says. During her undergraduate career, she joined community-oriented organizations on campus and participated in countless acts of volunteerism and service.

    Wolfe, an attorney in New York City, has met dozens of alumni who share an appreciation of Coplin and the program with which he is identified. The Coplin Scholarship, she says, will “help assure that the clan of policy studies alumni — and Bill Coplin disciples — continues to grow.”

    Bill Coplin

    bill coplinAt Syracuse University, few professors are so deeply linked with a program they have created — and vice versa — than Bill Coplin and the undergraduate policy studies major.

    Coplin was named director of the undergraduate Public Affairs Program at Maxwell in 1976. Two years later, he introduced the policy studies major, which provides conceptual background, plus analysis and policy-formulation skills, appropriate to careers in government, nonprofits, law, and management.

    He received the Chancellor's Citation for Distinguished Service from Syracuse University (1993) and was among inaugural appointees to the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship for Teaching Excellence at Syracuse (1995), among several other awards for excellence in teaching and advising.

    Coplin has written extensively on the need to reform both high school and college education to better meet the needs of students who see education as a path to more valuable employment opportunities in the fields of international relations, public policy, political risk analysis, social science education, and citizenship.

    Coplin’s books include Ten Things Employers Want You to Learn in College, 25 Ways to Make College Pay Off : Advice for Anxious Parents from a Professor Who's Seen It All, and Public Policy Skills in Action: A Pragmatic Introduction.

    He has consulted with more than 40 high schools throughout New York State on curriculum to develop career and citizenship skills.

    The Policy Studies Major

    bill coplin in classroom teaching students

    Its emphasis on practical outcomes and transferable workplace aptitudes has proven broadly applicable to a range of careers and to citizenship in general. The Policy Studies program integrates direct, hands-on community service and policy fieldwork, making policy studies students among the most visible and impactful on campus.

    The program’s creed is that to provide benefit to the world in which you live, you must actively participate in it. Coplin’s students follow this creed from day one. According to client estimates, Coplin’s students provide more than $100,000 of research services and more than $60,000 in direct services to the clients of nonprofit agencies each year.

    In his role as educator, Coplin also follows this creed, making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of students. More than 6,000 Syracuse University students and 10,000 high school seniors at 65 high schools participating in Syracuse University’s Project Advance Program, have taken Coplin’s course, Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy.


    If you would like more information, email Norma Shannon, director of Development.

  • Make a Gift

    Support the Coplin Fund

  • Give online or by mail.

    Mail your gift to:
    Coplin Scholarship
    Office of the Dean, Maxwell School
    200 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244.

    Questions?
    Email Norma Shannon, director of Development.