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|AEB Profile Coppedge|
BOB COPPEDGE AEB PROFILE
I majored in physics in ’76 for two years but then I took a twenty-five-year long vacation before I came back and finished a degree in business management with the weekend college.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Cleveland Heights.
Where do you currently live?
3 words to describe yourself?
Crotchety old geek, business owner and a Renaissance man.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
I am a graduate of the Second City conservatory of improvisation. I was a member of the last graduating class in Cleveland and I ran my own improv group in Cuyahoga Falls for thirteen years. I’ve also recently run some Improv workshops in Hiram.
How did you find Hiram?
My sister went, she was three years ahead of me.
What clubs were you involved in?
The first time, I was the general manager of the radio, in a physics student group and spent a lot of time in the observatory.
Your favorite Hiram traditions?
I think a strength of Hiram is that you can always try anything, no matter how outlandish, crazy or unpopular that thing is. I did an independent research project my freshman year, studied nuclear physics down in Oak Ridge, I got to work with holography, laser light shows… all cutting-edge technology at the time. I spent a good amount of time at the observatory as well. I did lots of gaming stuff too.
Larry Becker in physics.
What is your favorite location on campus?
The Colton Science basement. I hear there were other floors…
What is your favorite Hiram memory?
Singing with Harry Chapin—absolutely inspirational. He used to do half concerts for charity and was always a tremendous storyteller. He came as a one-man show to sing at Hiram and I was able to join him on stage.
Also playing “Horatio” in the production of Hamlet (and staging the fencing scenes).
What is the most important thing that you learned from Hiram?
Trying new and many things. As Robert Heinlein said, “specialization is for insects”.
Do you feel that Hiram prepared you for your future?
Absolutely. I work in technology, a constantly changing field, so if you are not learning and trying new things or developing new thoughts, you are obsolete. Sometimes what you must try is not an obvious extension, you think you may go from “option a” to “option b” but instead “option iguana” is what works. Hiram teaches its students how to handle those situations and to be open to these changes.
What is your current employment? Retired? What are you doing now?
I worked and wore many hats in the IT world before starting my own company, Simplex-IT in 2007. I wrote a book this year, A CEO’s Survival Guide to Information Technology.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
I retired from improv last year to finish up my book. I am now working on a game design. It is going to be either fantastic or something we will never speak of again. I also have three daughters and six grandchildren. My youngest went to Hiram for nursing and it is possible that the oldest grandson might go to Hiram as well.
What brought you back to Hiram and why the Alumni Executive Board (AEB)?
I have been on the Alumni Executive Board for four years.
I have worked with several schools on their IT curriculum because I have learned, that if you do not know how to educate yourself, you are horribly positioned. Hiram can be its own worst enemy in some ways, but it has many great opportunities to lead and educate people in new ways, so I saw this as an opportunity to help out. So far, my favorite experience has been the times I have interacted with current students to exchange ideas.