Enriching the Intellectual Life of Stanford GSB

As both a donor and volunteer, Copses, MBA ’86, sees clear benefits in staying connected to Stanford GSB.

March 20, 2012

Many prospective students come to the GSB for its intellectual rigor, to gain broad exposure to different professional disciplines, and to forge new connections on a global scale. For Peter Copses, MBA ’86, these benefits continue to accrue long after graduation through his engagement with the school.

Judy and Peter Copses, MBA ’86

Judy and Peter Copses, MBA ’86, invest in faculty at the GSB.

As both a donor and volunteer, Copses sees clear benefits in staying connected. “Stanford GSB offered me critical skills and allowed me to reposition myself for a rewarding career,” says Copses. “I consider my current contributions as further investment in a brand that has served me well.”

As a cofounder and senior partner at Apollo Global Management LLC, he recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the firm, which began as an investor in distressed securities during the meltdown of the high-yield bond market in the early 1990s and has evolved into a leading private equity firm and asset manager with over $75 billion of assets under management. He leads Apollo’s private equity effort in the consumer retail sector and serves as chairman of the board of Claire’s Stores Inc., a 3,000-store specialty retailer of jewelry and accessories, and of CKE Restaurants Inc., a quick service restaurant operator of the chains Hardees and Carl’s Jr.

Based in Southern California, he regularly engages with the the school both regionally and on campus. As a member of the school’s Management Board, Copses plays an advisory role in considering new ideas that impact operational issues.

In 2006, he and his wife, Judy, made a financial commitment to the intellectual vitality of Stanford GSB by endowing a fellowship to support PhD students through the Copses Family Foundation. More recently, in commemoration of his 25th reunion, the foundation created a second fund to support the teaching and research activities of faculty working in finance and investment.

“Stanford GSB is unmatched in terms of the quality of the education offered,” Copses says. “It was my good fortune to be able to take advantage of this as a student. My family and I are proud to be able to provide financial support to a potential Nobel laureate from Stanford GSB’s outstanding faculty.” The Copses Family Foundation’s recent gift supports finance faculty broadly, including course development, production of case studies, and academic research. An investment such as this not only impacts students in the classroom but also generates insights that influence management practice and drive the school’s intellectual capital as a leader in academic scholarship.

For Copses, one of the additional incentives for making this commitment was the opportunity to take advantage of matching funds. Both the fellowship and faculty gifts qualified for a 1:2 match from funds that other donors had established to encourage gifts to the school as part of The Stanford Challenge. Copses recognized a good deal when he saw one and appreciated the benefits of maximizing his contribution to make an even greater impact at the school.

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