In recognition of his service, Dr. Coppoc was named a Sagamore of the Wabash, which was presented by Sen. Ron Alting. R-Lafayette; Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette; and Rep. Randy Truitt, R-West Lafayette. The Sagamore of the Wabash award is a high civilian honor granted only by the governor of Indiana. It is bestowed as a personal tribute to those who have rendered distinguished service to the state or governor.
Dr. Coppoc joined the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine in 1971 as an assistant professor of veterinary pharmacology. He was department chair from 1979 to 2008 retaining that position through a merger of two departments to form what is now the Department of Basic Medical Sciences. He joined the IU School of Medicine faculty when he began teaching medical pharmacology 34 years ago, and he was named director in 1998.
Since he joined the faculty at the state’s two largest universities, Dr. Coppoc has taught 544 medical students and 3,000 veterinary students.
Present at the retirement reception to honor Dr. Coppoc were Craig Brater, M.D., dean emeritus of the IU School of Medicine; Peter Nalin, M.D., executive associate dean of the IU School of Medicine; Regina Kreisle, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the IU School of Medicine-Lafayette; Willie Reed, DVM, Ph.D., dean of the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Laurie Jaeger, DVM, Ph.D., chair of the Purdue Department of Basic Medical Sciences.
“Gordon also has left his mark on the greater Lafayette community by spearheading the expansion of the medical student enrollment here to encompass four years of training and to include clinical education,” Dr. Nalin said. “New physicians frequently return to where they received their training when they set up practice; if that pattern continues, the newly expanded program should help bolster the number of doctors available to residents in Tippecanoe County.”
In addition to teaching and serving as director at IUSM-Lafayette, Dr. Coppoc took an active role in the design of Lyles-Porter Hall, a dream he had for a state-of-the-art space for IU School of Medicine and Purdue University students. It was fitting that the celebration of his academic career achievements were in this new building.
Dr. Reed praised Dr. Coppoc’s dedicated service to both Purdue and IU.
“Dr. Coppoc’s true passion is ‘One Health’ — the powerful interdisciplinary approach to medical discovery that combines veterinary medicine and human medicine through scholarship that recognizes the interconnected reality of human and animal health,” Dr. Reed said. “Thus, the opportunity to have one foot in the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the other in the Indiana University School of Medicine provided the perfect arrangement for Dr. Coppoc.”