March 26, 2001
Wyandotte Distinguished Graduate

Cooper, David J. - 1953
Kuipers, Ph.D., Judith L. (McGeachy) - 1955
Powell, William A. - 1955


David J. Cooper - Class of 1953


Mr. Cooper was the first person on either side of his immediate family to graduate from high school. He then continued his education with degrees from the University of Michigan (B.A., with Distinction, in the Honors Program in English Literature, 1957), and the University of Michigan Law School (Juris Doctorate, 1960).

After a short stint in the U.S. Army (Infantry), Mr. Cooper began a long and distinguished career as a trial lawyer. He joined the Detroit law firm, which became Garan, Lucow, Miller, Seward, and Cooper, P.C., where he specialized in personal injury civil litigation, with a sub-specialty in medical malpractice. Here he remained in an active trial practice for thirty-five years. As a Senior and Executive Partner, he was a significant factor in the firm growing from five lawyers when he joined it, to eighty-five when he retired from the law firm, with numerous satellite offices throughout the state.

During his career, he became the principal defense counsel for many area hospitals, as well as physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Also a specialist in the defense of legal malpractice litigation, Mr. Cooper has often served as the personal defense counsel for other prominent law firms when they were sued. In addition, and somewhat unusually for a "defense lawyer," Mr. Cooper has served as the counsel for plaintiffs in scores of cases, recovering substantial sums for his clients. This background represents a rather varied career as a trial attorney.

Mr. Cooper was admitted to practice in Michigan in 1961, to the U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit) in 1972, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974. He has tried to verdict over two hundred major lawsuits, while resolving in the neighborhood of two thousand others without trial. He has personally handled approximately 30 appeals before the Michigan Court of Appeals and 10 or more before the Michigan Supreme Court (including writing all of his own Briefs.) In 1971, at the age of 35, Mr. Cooper was elected President of the Association of Defense Trial Counsel, a statewide organization. Since the inception of the publication of Best Lawyers in America in 1987, Mr. Cooper has been continuously listed in its Trial Lawyer section.

As of 2001, Mr. Cooper is retired from his law firm but not from the practice of law. He currently focuses his time (when not traveling) to serving as a private arbitrator, mediator, and expert witness in matters that fall into his areas of expertise.

Judith L. (McGeachy) Kuipers, Ph.D. - Class of 1955


The fine education she received at Theodore Roosevelt High School laid the foundation for Dr. Judith Kuipers' distinguished career in higher education. From Roosevelt, she went on as a General Motors scholar to Michigan State, earning a B.S. in Child Development and Teaching. That was followed by a Master's Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Central Michigan and a Doctorate in Human Development and Early Education from Michigan State University.

These beginnings led to Kuipers current position as President of the Fielding Institute, Santa Barbara, California; a graduate school, offering distance learning programs for mid-career professionals worldwide. Prior to joining the Fielding Institute last August, Kuipers held a variety of distinguished positions in higher education: Chancellor, the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse for nine years; Vice President for Academic Affairs, California State University, Fresno, for seven years; Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Oregon State University for five years.

Kuipers also served as Professor and Department Head of Child and Family Studies and an A.C.E. (American Council on Education) Fellow serving as Assistant to the Chancellor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Research Institute for Family and Child Studies, Michigan State University; and teaching/research assistant professor at Colorado State University.

Dr. Kuipers has co-authored a book, written dozens of articles and conducted seminars, and presented papers worldwide. In 1994, she received a Fulbright Award to East Germany to examine higher education in the new German states.

Her demanding schedule has not kept Dr. Kuipers from civic involvement and family life. Volunteerism has ranged from advocating for educational programs within the Hmong Asian community, to helping implement community-wide programs for at-risk children, to organizing informational forums and speaking to numerous civic and service organizations. She and her husband Gerald have three children and five grandchildren.

William A. Powell - Class of 1955


William A. Powell distinguished himself as a nationally renowned National Collegiate Athletic Association, Division I, Swimming Coach, a community volunteer, and a gifted public speaker.

Bill Powell was an outstanding student and athlete during his years at Roosevelt High School. He excelled in both track and swimming, where he was a state meet qualifier, a school record holder, and voted most valuable as captain of the track team. Bill also served as an officer and treasurer of his class, was a member of the Roosevelt Student Union, and was the lead actor in his class play. As sports editor of the Wy-News, he earned a journalism award for his reporting.

After graduation, Bill Powell earned a B.S. at Western Michigan University in 1959, and his M.A. in 1963 with a major in Physical Education. Bill began his teaching career in 1959 at St. Joseph High School (St. Joseph, Michigan). He began a swimming program at the school, and in 1968 was named "Michigan High School Coach of the Year."

In 1969, he accepted the head coaching position at Western Kentucky University, where he again began a swimming program that would soon bring him and the University national recognition. In 1977, he served as Ecuador's National Coach for the Bolivarian Games. In 1982, he received the Master Coach Award from the N.C.C.A. Since then, Bill Powell has compiled 31 straight winning records. His 293-63 (82%) win-loss record ranks him as the third winningest national coach in the N.C.C.A., Division I, men's swimming history.

William A. Powell has also been recognized as a community leader and volunteer. He has unselfishly served in the American Red Cross, the D.A.R.E. program, presented public safety programs for children, was a Life Guard Instructor Trainer, participated in the Community Theatre, and is a much sought after public speaker at numerous civic and professional organizations. Bill is proud that among his alumni swimmers are a military general, movie stars, a world news analyst, Olympian, and a world record holder.

Bill credits that he received his inspiration for coaching and teaching from his dad and mother who were teachers at Roosevelt and McKinley Schools in Wyandotte. William and wife Joanne reside in Bowling Green, Kentucky and enjoy their four children and their families.