Commencement 2014 Address by Wendy Kopp
Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, and Founder and Chair of Teach For America, will deliver the University of Oklahoma’s Commencement address at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, in The Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, 180 W. Brooks St.
Since Kopp founded Teach For America as an undergraduate at Princeton in 1989 to marshal the energy of her generation against educational inequity in the U.S., Teach For America’s nearly 38,000 participants have reached more than 3 million children nationwide during their two-year teaching commitments in the nation’s highest need urban and rural schools.
“It is a great honor for the University of Oklahoma to have Wendy Kopp speak to our graduates,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Wendy Kopp and Teach For America have made a tremendous positive difference in education in America. Many of our graduates have become Teach For America volunteers.”
After leading Teach For America’s growth and development for 24 years, she moved into the role of chair of the board in 2013.
Kopp is chief executive officer and co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of more than 30 independent organizations working to expand educational opportunity by recruiting and developing their nation's most promising future leaders to commit two years to teach in high-need areas and become lifelong leaders for educational excellence and equity. Teach For All seeks to accelerate and increase the impact of network organizations, including Teach For America, by identifying effective practices and supporting partners in adapting them to their contexts, facilitating connections between partners, accessing global resources for the benefit of the whole, and contributing to the leadership development of staff, participants and alumni.
Kopp has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards for public service. She is the author of the Washington Post bestseller A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All and One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where she participated in the undergraduate program of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Kopp resides in New York City with her husband Richard Barth and their four children.
OU currently has 49 teachers in two-year teaching commitments with Teach For America and a total of 86 OU graduates have taught for the organization.