Lee Coppola, dean of St. Bonaventure’s journalism school from 1996 to 2011, will be inducted into the Buffalo Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame this month.
Adding to the St. Bonaventure flavor at the Sept. 20 dinner ceremony will be Shannon Shepherd, ’12, who will receive the Tim Russert Medal of Merit, the third straight year a St. Bonaventure alum has won the award. Shepherd is a sports reporter/anchor at WSAW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Wausau, Wisc. The honor includes a $1,000 award.
Joining Coppola in the 2012 class are legendary Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, VH1 President Tom Calderone, CNN’s Southeast Region Bureau Chief Mary Lynn Ryan, former WIVB-TV photographer Bill Cantwell and the late Mike Roszman, WGR-AM operations manager and traffic reporter.
The BBA Hall of Fame ceremony begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner program at 7 p.m. in the downtown Buffalo studios of WNED-TV. WYRK-FM’s Clay Moden and YNN’s Katie Morse will serve as masters of ceremony.
Tickets are $60, or $400 for a corporate table of eight. For information on buying tickets, email Herb Flemming at email@example.com.
Of all the honorees, Coppola had the most varied career. He was a newspaper reporter, a TV investigative reporter, and an assistant U.S. attorney before becoming dean at the place his storied career began as a student. He graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1964.
Following two-and-a-half years of military service, Coppola was hired in 1967 by the Buffalo News. His articles on organized crime and the Witness Protection Program were the inspiration for the 1980 movie “Hide in Plain Sight,” starring actor James Caan.
Coppola left the newspaper after 16 years to pursue a career as a TV journalist. In 1983, he was hired as the “troubleshooter” for WKBW-TV’s “Eyewitness News” and later served as an investigative reporter for WIVB. As a television reporter, he won the prestigious George Polk Award, as well as awards from the Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Press Club.
Coppola received his law degree from the University at Buffalo’s School of Law in 1983. He eventually left TV news in 1991 and became an assistant U.S. attorney in Buffalo, where he spent five years prosecuting drug dealers.
As dean at his alma mater, Coppola created a thriving program in broadcast journalism. A gift from the family of the late Bob Koop, who was a colleague at WIVB, was used to build and equip a broadcast journalism laboratory named in Koop’s memory.
Coppola and his wife, also named Lee, have three grown children and several grandchildren.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.