A gift of $2.5 million from Lynda and Robert Copple of Frisco will create the Lynda and Robert Copple Endowed Chair in Christian School Leadership within the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership.
The gift will enable Baylor to attract a visionary Christian leader to lay the academic and intellectual foundations for an expanded Center for Christian Education (CCE) and establish the Center as the preeminent provider of professional development for leaders of Christian schools and for Christian leaders in non-sectarian school settings.
“Our vision is to provide an avenue to assist educators in realizing their full potential,” Lynda Copple said. “Our experience has shown us that there is a great need for more training and professional development to be made available to Christian educators, especially those in private schools. We want to change that, and we believe Baylor is the answer. We hope our gift, when combined with the gifts of others, will create a number of opportunities for Baylor, with interdisciplinary initiatives helping to break barriers so that Christian leadership is fostered across the academy and then throughout the nation and world.”
The inaugural holder of the Copple Chair will be a distinguished scholar with a record of deep commitment to high-quality Christian schooling and to the flourishing of Christian leaders across private and public school sectors. The Copple Chair will collaborate with the Dean of the School of Education and the CCE’s executive director to develop both a research agenda and a programmatic agenda for the CCE.
Founded in 1985, the CCE is dedicated to advancing evidence-based approaches to educational improvement
and values-driven leadership through a range of programming and resources.
“Lynda and I have a passion for strengthening Christian leadership throughout educational institutions, ranging from teachers, principals and board members at public and private high schools to deans and other administrators at colleges and universities,” Robert Copple said. “Our great hope is that this Chair will become the driving force for greatly expanding the reach and impact of the Center for Christian Education and that other Baylor alumni and friends will join us as financial supporters and eager advocates of this enterprise.”
Lynda Moore Copple earned a BSEd from Baylor in 1979 and an MA in education from Texas Wesleyan College in 1985. She served the Arlington Independent School District (AISD) for 14 years as a teacher in every elementary grade, from kindergarten through sixth grade. She taught as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher in AISD’s formative years of the program and served as a contributor to multiple district curriculum writing committees, as a teacher mentor and as a district-level teacher trainer.
Robert Copple graduated from Baylor with a BBA in 1980 and an MPA in 1981. After beginning his career working with clients in the tax practice at Deloitte and Touche, he spent 20 years at Cinemark Holdings, a Plano-based theater chain with more than 500 locations in the United States and 14 Latin American countries. He served Cinemark as CFO until 2014 and then as president and COO until 2016, when he left to pursue personal interests. He is a director and chairman of the board at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, where the Copples’ children, Lisa and John Michael, attended school. Their son, John Michael Copple, is a current Baylor student.
The Copples’ gift is one of the largest in the history of the School of Education and adds to two previous gifts from 2015 that created the Lynda Moore Copple Endowed Scholarship Fund in the School of Education, benefitting undergraduate teacher-education students, and the Robert D. Copple Endowed Scholarship Fund in Accounting in the Hankamer School of Business.