A Message from Chancellor Nancy Cantor

Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,

I write to share the saddest of news about the loss of one of Newark’s and Rutgers-Newark’s greatest champions, Al Koeppe, who has passed away following a sudden illness. It is impossible to overestimate the impact that Al had on our city, state, and university across his careers as a leading public servant and visionary chief executive in both the private and nonprofit sectors who was revered for the breadth of his knowledge, depth of his expertise, and expansiveness of his wisdom.

A beloved alumnus of the College of Arts & Sciences (B.A. in English and history, 1969), Al was an invaluable advisor to Rutgers-Newark for decades, including to me personally, never hesitating to marshal resources and forge relationships on behalf of our university. His unwavering advocacy was informed by his having been a first-generation college student in his family, the son of a longshoreman, and his having experienced first-hand the era that transformed our university into a place defined by the intersection of inclusive excellence and opportunity. Whether as an advocate for those without the means to hire an attorney or as the leader of Bell-Atlantic New Jersey and, later, Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G), he brought to his work the fundamental sensibilities that all people ought to have a chance to succeed and that recognizing our interdependence is critical in making that a reality. As Al would say: “We are all in this together.”

It was these sensibilities that positioned him after retirement from PSE&G to be a “dean,” of sorts, among his former peers, as he helped create and then served as CEO of the nonprofit Newark Alliance, an organization founded by leaders from some of New Jersey's major corporations to support the broader needs of the Newark community, where he tenaciously led efforts to advocate for strengthening educational opportunity for all.

I will be forever grateful for Al’s gracious welcome to me and I will forever miss the combination of great humor, serious commitment, and wicked smarts that made him so amazing to watch in action and so endearing a friend. He was a true Newark devotee and leader who was all in for Newark.

We have learned that a wake will be held this Friday, December 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Colonial Funeral Home at 2170 Highway 88 in Brick, NJ; the funeral is to be Saturday, December 10, at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Denis, 90 Union Avenue in Manasquan, NJ.

Our hearts go out to Al’s wife, Ann, their children Adam and Allison and their families, and to the countless others who have been profoundly influenced by Al’s example of leadership and profoundly touched by his warmth, sincerity, and caring.

In shared sadness,

Nancy Cantor

Al Koeppe’s Video Reminiscences about RU-N

The Star-Ledger pays honor to Al Koeppe