In Memory

Remembering Dean Emeritus Dr. Glenn Koponen (1943-2021)

August 12, 2021

News arrived last evening that Nyack College School of Music Dean Emeritus, Dr. Glenn Koponen, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 10, 2021 while in Palliative Care at a New Jersey hospital.

His remarkable half century of service to Nyack College was captured in correspondence to Nyack College donors with these words.

September 1967 at Nyack College, new faculty members arrive on campus. One of them, a man with a quiet demeanor and an outstanding pedigree, is offered a contract by President Harold Boon to be a part-time lecturer in brass instruments. Thus began the teaching career of Glenn Koponen at Nyack—the beginning of a calling that has stretched over five decades and touched countless lives.

From the very start it was clear that Glenn Koponen’s musicianship would serve students well. But who could have foreseen the impact that Glenn would have on students and on Nyack’s Music Department for the next fifty years? Glenn Koponen became a full-time instructor in 1970. His appointment to the position of assistant professor had the personal endorsement of School of Music patriarch Dr. Lee Olson. Seven years later, he was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure from President Thomas Bailey. He earned his doctorate from Columbia University in 1980 and was appointed head of the Department of Music and Fine Arts in 1986. Dr. Koponen was appointed the dean of the School of Music in 2009.

In May 2017, Dr. Koponen was a recipient of the Rick Santiago Commitment to Mission Award which is presented to one faculty member and one staff member at the annual faculty/staff luncheon. Prior to being presented the award, he was honored with these words: “Dr. Glenn Koponen consistently exemplifies academic excellence and demands it of his students, challenging them to embrace their God-given gifts. He starts investing in students even before they enroll, and once they enroll, he faithfully advises, teaches and prays with them. He models what it means to be a Christian musician and to celebrate faith in Jesus Christ through music. He is a master teacher, accomplished performer, recognized arranger, dedicated department head and dean, and a beloved colleague.”

Dr. Koponen and his School of Music colleagues

At the year-end faculty/staff luncheon in May 2018, when Dr. Koponen’s retirement was announced, he was praised for 50 years of stellar service. At Homecoming Weekend in October of the same year, the Annual Alumni Concert paid tribute to the School of Music patriarch, who was adored by faculty, staff, students and alumni.

His family has shared that due to COVID restrictions, at a date yet to be determined, a private family burial service will be held in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.

Please keep the Koponen family in your prayers as they grieve this tremendous loss.

American historian Henry Brooks Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Dr. Glenn Koponen’s Nyack family knows well that his influence endures in the lives of his students and colleagues.

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