Bryan Kopko ’18, MBA ’20 Serves as Graduate Student Speaker for William Paterson University's 2020 Commencement

Bryan Kopko ‘18, MBA ’20, of Colonia, New Jersey, was the graduate student speaker of William Paterson University’s 2020 commencement ceremony.

Kopko earned a master of business administration summa cum laude with a concentration in human resource management from the University’s  Cotsakos College of Business.

In 2020, University officials decided to rotate the selection of our undergraduate and graduate commencement speakers through William Paterson’s five colleges. Students were selected by their respective college deans from among their highest-achieving graduates.

“I am humbled to be giving the commencement address and speaking to all the graduates,” Kopko says. “Regardless of the current events of the world, these individuals deserved to be recognized and acknowledged for their academic achievements.”

A 2018 graduate of William Paterson with a bachelor of science degree, magna cum laude, Kopko is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. He was a four-year pitcher for the University’s Pioneer Baseball team and was named to the New Jersey Athletic Conference All-Academic Team in 2016, 2017, and 2018. 

As an undergraduate, Kopko served as an intern in the William Paterson University Office of Human Resources, where he assisted in the creation and implementation of a campus-wide professional development and training program for staff members. He also served as a graduate assistant for the University’s Office of Alumni Relations. 

Entering the University’s MBA program directly from his undergraduate career, Kopko says he was initially intimidated by the seasoned business professionals in his classes. That all changed when a professor saw his potential and took him under his wing. “I cannot thank Dr. Stephen Betts enough,” Kopko says. “His mentorship and passion were the driving force in me getting the most out of this program.”

Following commencement, Kopko will continue to work at Success Academy Charter Schools as a talent consultant. He plans to use the knowledge he acquired while pursuing his MBA and working at the University to build on his interests in HR and employee relations. 

And while this year’s virtual commencement experience will differ from previous ceremonies, Kopko’s message to his fellow graduates is steadfast: Do not focus on material possessions, rather concentrate on impacting someone’s life in a positive way.