College mourns passing of Maggie Cooper

July 5, 2011
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications
865.981.8207; Karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

Margaret Anne “Maggie” Cooper, a longtime friend and supporter of Maryville College, passed away April 28, 2011, at her home in Placentia, Calif.

The daughter of alumni Finis Cooper ‘18 and Ethel Burchfield Cooper ’19 and the executor of the Finis Gaston Cooper Trust, Maggie supported various projects at her parents’ alma mater, including the renovation of Willard House, the renovation and expansion of Bartlett Hall, the renovation of Carnegie Hall, athletic field maintenance and the endowment of the Bonner Scholars Program.

In 1994, after donating more than $1 million toward the renovation of the College’s physical education building and an endowment for its maintenance, Maggie was a special guest of the College for the dedication of “Cooper Athletic Center.”

She was an educator throughout much of her adult life, teaching at Valencia High School, Orange County Juvenile Hall and Fullerton College. For 55 years, she was a Sunday school teacher at Wilshire United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.

Maggie established student scholarships for women who wanted to study math and science and provided financial support for many other people who sought an education.

Survivors include brother Robert Gaston Cooper, three nephews, numerous friends and adopted families.

Holly Jackson-Sullivan, Maryville College’s vice president for advancement and community relations, traveled to California for funeral services that were held May 6.

“Even though Maryville College was not her alma mater, it always held a special place in her heart and for decades, she and her brother, Robert, have been very generous and faithful in their support of the work that is carried out here.

“Maggie believed strongly in the transforming power of an education, and she made a huge impact making sure that deserving people had access to it.”

Commenting on Maggie’s fun-loving and child-like quality, Jackson-Sullivan said the Californian made friends easily and quickly with young and old.

“She will be greatly missed,” the vice president added.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.