WMU News

Copeland leads U.S. Latvians

May 10, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Dace Copeland, administrative specialist in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, has been elected president of the American Latvian Association. She is the first woman to serve as the association's leader in its 51-year history.

Copeland was elected April 27 at the ALA Congress in Covington, Ky. She will serve for one year as president of the national organization that was founded in 1951 to represent the more than 100,000 Latvians who live in the United States. As president, her primary focus will be lobbying -- particularly on behalf of the drive to secure membership in NATO for Latvia as well as the other two Baltic states: Estonia and Lithuania.

Copeland, a WMU staff member for more than 20 years, is a longtime leader in the Kalamazoo Latvian community. The daughter of two Latvian immigrants, Copeland grew up learning the Latvian language and has spent much of her adult life transmitting that knowledge to others. She taught at Kalamazoo's Latvian Saturday school for 25 years, serving as the principal for 10 years during that time.

Copeland became active in the ALA's national organization three years ago when she was elected to the first of three consecutive terms as director of the ALA Education and Scholarships Division.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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