Wednesday December 20, 2017

Alumni Profile: William Copeland Jr.

University of Dayton alumnus William "Bill" Copeland Jr. '79 is a health care industry leader who serves as vice chairman for Deloitte LLP and writes about issues related to health care reform, governance and medical management. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Modern Healthcare and Managed Healthcare Executive.

But when Copeland returned to campus this fall to give the keynote address at the 2017 Business as a Calling Symposium, his focus wasn’t on how to launch a business career. Instead, he focused on servant leadership in the business setting and how it is consistent with the values of being a Christian.

Copeland holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Dayton, with a minor in economics. He leads Deloitte’s U.S. life sciences and health care national practice, which includes health plans, health care providers, biotech and medical device companies, and federal health agencies.

He also is Deloitte’s corporate champion for RightStep, the professional service firm’s promise for educational innovation to help low-income students succeed. In that role, he oversees partnerships with five nonprofits that focus on education for underprivileged children and teens. Only about 8 percent of children who grow up in poverty achieve a college degree.

“I have 5,000 Deloitte people who contribute their time to working with these nonprofits or working with students directly,” Copeland said.

For example, Deloitte works with California startup Strive for College to offer its employees as mentors for students. They connect via an online mentoring platform on their smartphones. Last year, Deloitte had 700 employees mentor 1,100 students through that platform. In September, 97 percent of those students enrolled in college.

Deloitte has 65,000 employees in the U.S. and 250,000 worldwide. Copeland’s division provides clients with audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, and tax and legal professionals to help them navigate the complexities of the U.S. and global health care systems.

“We enable our clients to get stuff done,” Copeland said. “Because business is so complicated and you need so many different skills, it is hard for them to assemble that kind of talent. A lot of projects are only a year long, so many times the best way to access the talent market is to turn to a firm like Deloitte and ask for help.”

After graduating from the University of Dayton, Copeland received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame. He was a senior consultant at Arthur Anderson Management Consulting before joining Deloitte, where he made partner. He left to found a medical group management company that was bought by United HealthCare. He worked for United, then formed another consulting company and finally returned to Deloitte in 2000.

Copeland’s Business as a Calling address was his first campus visit in more than a decade. He was impressed with the many new and renovated buildings, and praised the University for continuing to invest in its educational environment to create a campus-focused community.

He also lauded his undergraduate experience in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business Administration, which gave him the communication, critical-thinking and technical skills to excel in his career and as a servant leader.

“You don’t really appreciate your education until much later in life,” he said. “I felt like Dayton was the perfect place for me. The people here, the culture and having the opportunity to work with some of the professors I had were just amazing.”

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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