Employee celebrates 40 years at Excelsior College

Donna Copper celebrates 40 years with Excelsior College on August 11, 2015.
Donna Copper celebrates 40 years with Excelsior College on August 11, 2015.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014, U.S. workers stay in one job for an average of 4.6 years. Donna Cooper is currently the longest standing Excelsior employee, celebrating 40 years with the College on August 11. She recently sat down with Excelsior Life to share her journey.

Excelsior College: In a society where people switch jobs more frequently, what is it like to celebrate 40 years with one employer? Cooper: For me, 40 years has been an exciting journey. I know some people might think that working for one employer for 40 years might be boring. However, that is not true. The College lives up to its motto and name, “Excelsior College… Ever Upward.” For example, when I started our name was The University of the State of New York Regents External Degree programs, then Regents College, and now we are Excelsior College. At the time I started, we would only evaluate other college’s credits and now we develop and offer our own courses. I personally have worked in five different buildings, and have held seven different positions. It was never boring, always changing, and I loved the benefits….you even get snow days.

Excelsior College: What is your current job?

Cooper: Two years ago, I was approved to work 50 percent. I work in the office two days a week and half time from home. My title is VA certifying official and I work primarily with the military.

Excelsior College: What has changed in your job since you started?

Cooper: Two things come to mind. First, the College offering courses. Second, President John Ebersole,  has moved the College forward. His leadership, I believe, has kept the College thriving.

Excelsior College: What has stayed the same? Cooper: Our mission never changes, to best serve our students.

Donna and cupcakes

Donna's colleagues show support by wearing pink.
Donna’s colleagues show support by wearing pink.








Excelsior College: What is one of your favorite memories at the College?

Cooper: There are so many. But this one in particular touches my heart. When I returned to the office on May 3, 2011, after 4 months of chemo and radiation, 90 percent of the people in my building were dressed in pink to welcome me.

Donna and colleagues have fun while dressing up for Halloween.
Donna and colleagues have fun while dressing up for Halloween.



Excelsior College: What advice would you give to others about careers in higher education?

Cooper: Stay balanced. Yes, education, career, and work satisfaction are important. Family, friends, and self are too…time is limited.



Excelsior College: Are you doing anything special to celebrate this anniversary?

Cooper: I don’t have anything special planned. But in closing, I have been blessed to work for Excelsior for 40 years…and I thank God.


Alicia Jacobs
About Alicia Jacobs 298 Articles
Alicia Jacobs is Excelsior College’s Director of Communications and Community Engagement. She responsible for internal communications, public and media relations, employee and community engagement. She assists with special projects, events, committees on behalf of the President's Office. Jacobs career includes television production, broadcast media, healthcare, renewable energy, sports & entertainment, hospitality and higher education. She is also an Emmy Award-Winning TV Producer. During her career, she has worked for three international charities. Her work with non-profits continues today as she leads community engagement initiatives for the College including the Annual Excelsior Cares Volunteer Week. Outside of work, Jacobs is community-minded. Jacobs is a graduate of the University at Albany and earned her Master of Arts, communication with concentration in public relations from Western New England University. She is also a graduate of Excelsior College's Leadership Academy.

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