Elmhurst University Receives Significant Gift from Business Leader and Trustee Alfred Koplin

February 2, 2021 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

An exterior photo of Circle Hall with a student walking outside.Elmhurst University has received a record-setting philanthropic gift from business leader and longtime trustee Alfred Koplin, who with his late wife, Jean, have supported and served the University for more than 40 years.

Koplin’s gift represents the largest made by a living donor in the University’s history, and is the latest of at least 50 significant gifts that he and his wife have made to Elmhurst over the past 30-plus years. He also has served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 1981.

Over the years, the Koplins’ philanthropic gifts to Elmhurst University have supported faculty endeavors, student scholarships and curriculum development. In appreciation for their generosity and years of service, the University will rename the Circle Hall building in honor of Jean Koplin, who passed away on Oct. 6, 2020, at the age of 97.

Over several decades beginning in the 1960s, Al and Jean Koplin built their company, the Hinsdale Management Corp., into a hugely successful commercial real estate and property management company whose portfolio would include the management of more than one million square feet of property.

Al often called Jean the brains behind their enterprise. A voracious reader throughout her life, Jean learned architecture and design by reading books at the Chicago Public Library. With her designs and business acumen, the Koplins built more than 300 homes and apartments, and more than a dozen office buildings and shopping centers throughout Chicago’s western suburbs.

Philanthropy also has been an important and consistent part of their lives. They have been major donors not only to Elmhurst University but also to Amita Hinsdale Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and many other charitable organizations.

“On behalf of Elmhurst University, I want to express our deep gratitude to Al and Jean Koplin for their extraordinary generosity and the impact it has had, and will have, on so many lives,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor Jean Koplin, whose life of learning, vision and purpose is an inspiration to us all.”

A dedication ceremony will be held at a later date for Circle Hall, which is home to Elmhurst University’s Office of Admission, Department of Education, Elmhurst Learning and Success Academy, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

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