Robert Koopmann to be inaugurated as 12th president of Saint John's University

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September 11, 2009

The inauguration for the Rev. Robert Koopmann, OSB, as the 12th president of Saint John’s University will occur during a campus ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 1 in Collegeville.

The day will begin with a public Mass, celebrated by St. Cloud Bishop John Kinney, at noon in Saint John’s Abbey Church.

The inauguration ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. in Saint John’s Abbey Church, with prelude music starting at 2 p.m., and is the formal beginning of the new presidency and a celebration of the intellectual mission of the university.

A reception will be held after the ceremony from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Guild Hall. A public dinner is scheduled for the Refectory from 4:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., with an evening concert at Sexton Arena in the Warner Palaestra, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Scheduled performances include Koopmann (a concert pianist), the student band Mister, professional illusionist and SJU student Jared Sherlock, the CSB/SJU Jazz Ensemble and Tonic Sol-fa.

Koopmann, a 1968 graduate of Saint John’s University, became the 12th president of Saint John’s University on July 1, 2009.

Koopmann has been a professor of music at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University since 1975, and served as fine arts division head from 2006-09. For the past four years, he has served on the Saint John’s Board of Regents, and served nine years in a previous term (1994-2003) on the board.

A native of Waterloo, Iowa, Koopmann professed as a monk of Saint John’s Abbey on Sept. 21, 1971, and was ordained a priest on June 6, 1981. He has advanced degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (master of music), the University of Iowa (doctor of musical arts) and a master of divinity degree from Saint John's School of Theology•Seminary. Koopmann did post-doctoral study with faculty of the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. Koopmann is active as a concert pianist both in the U.S. and abroad, and has released a number of recordings since 1994. He was the director of music for Saint John’s Abbey.

He was chair of the CSB/SJU music department from 1977-83 and 1985-86. He has been a faculty resident in the student residence halls at Saint John’s since 1981, most recently in Saint Benet Hall since 2002. Since 1998, he has led a men’s spirituality group, and since 2000 has worked with the Saint John’s Benedictine Volunteer Corps. Koopmann also served as director of international studies programs to Salzburg, Austria and South Africa.

Additional information on the inauguration can be found at

Image: Life in Community, Aidan Hart in collaboration with Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.