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Richard W. Couper and Katharine Couper Watrous receive University Medals


Katharine Couper Watrous and Richard W. Couper with President Lois B. DeFleur.
Binghamton University awarded University Medals, the highest honor it can bestow, to two long-time supporters earlier this week in recognition of their abiding interest in, and steadfast support of, their parents’ legacy.

Richard Couper and Katharine “Kay” Couper Watrous, son and daughter of Edgar W. and Esther Couper, have both played a supportive and significant role in the continuing development of the University, said President Lois B. DeFleur. “For nearly six decades, the Couper family has been significant both to the region and to the University,” she said.

Edgar W. Couper provided outstanding service to the state and the Southern Tier as a member and chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents. A prominent advocate for the establishment of Binghamton University, he offered strong support as it began to grow and develop, said DeFleur. The University’s administration building was rededicated in his honor following his death in 1988.

Esther Couper shared her husband’s strong support and advocacy for the region and the University while also providing support for the University through the Esther Couper Scholarship. “She would be proud of the multi-talented students it supports,” said DeFleur of the woman, who also served as an honorary co-chair of the University’s first comprehensive gifts campaign and was awarded the University Medal in 1995.

“Kay Couper Watrous and Richard Couper have continued this marvelous legacy and enhanced it,” said DeFleur. “They have provided handsomely for the University, the School of Education and Human Development and, most importantly, for our students. The University appreciates their continuing the legacy for general support and advocacy.”

The medals were awarded in a ceremony preceding the 13th annual Edgar W. Couper Lecture, which brings prominent educators to campus and is funded through the Edgar W. Couper Endowment for Educational Excellence. The lecture this year was given by Andy Hargreaves, the Thomas More Brennan Chair of Education in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, on “Sustainable Educational Change.”

In addition to supporting the annual lecture, the endowment provides support for two Couper Fellows in the School of Education and Human Development doctoral program.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08