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President D. Mark McCoy

A biography of DePauw's 20th President.

D. Mark McCoy

D.  Mark McCoy was appointed DePauw University’s twentieth president on March 7, 2016, and began his term on July 1, 2016. 

The product of two national searches, as dean in 2011 and as president in 2016, he served as dean of the DePauw University School of Music from 2011-2016.  

A first generation college student and the son of a coal miner, Dr. McCoy has committed himself since his arrival in Greencastle to making DePauw an even greater place to learn, live and work, with an emphasis on building new bonds between the campus and the city to create what he calls a “communiversity.”

An advocate for ensuring that America’s finest educational opportunities are available to all, the president has written opinion pieces on the subject for the Washington Post and The Hill. “I know firsthand the transformative power of higher education in America,” McCoy wrote for the latter newspaper. “I have witnessed how it breaks the cycle of poverty and dependence to develop leaders in all walks of life.”

In 2018 President McCoy created the DePauw Gold Commitment, which formally guarantees something that has been a hallmark of the DePauw experience since its founding in 1837 – that all graduates will find jobs or be admitted into graduate programs after receiving their bachelor’s degrees. He created the DePauw Centers Council and united it under the leadership umbrella through a $20 million dollar gift to create the Sanger Leadership Initiative.

As dean of the DePauw School of Music, Dr. McCoy led a reinvention which included the launch of the bold 21st-Century Musician Initiative, a complete re-imagining of the modern-day music school.  The innovative restructuring drew national attention, and $23.5 million was raised for DePauw’s music programs.

To address the changing landscape that schools of music (and liberal arts institutions) face, McCoy assembled a diverse and national panel of leaders, authors, composers and performers into a board chaired by internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma to examine the world of higher education in music.  McCoy led three years of faculty discussions that led to a complete curricular overhaul, a new focus on 21st Century musical skills, increased globalization of the music school and abundant contact with change agents and successful musicians.

McCoy was a key driver behind the opening of Music on the Square, a venue in the heart of Greencastle’s courthouse square which offers music instruction for local students and performances that are open to all, developing new campus-community connections.

With degrees from Shepherd College, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University and Texas Tech University, McCoy has taught at the primary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate levels.  His diverse educational background makes him a firm believer in and product of both the professional school and the liberal arts tradition.  

As a conductor, Dr. McCoy has performed around the world with a 2005 debut at Carnegie Hall.  He has composed a symphony, an opera, operettas, musicals, and many chamber works and is currently revising his novel, Curtain Music, concerning the relationship of Brahms and the Schumanns.

Inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi multidisciplinary honor society and Phi Beta Mu, Dr. McCoy was honored as National Arts Associate by Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity.  McCoy is a contributor for the National Association of Schools of Music and served on the National Commission on Accreditation.  He is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, Who’s Who in Collegiate Faculty and the International Who’s Who in Music and Musicians.  Shepherd University named a hall on in his honor.  He has been selected for several executive leadership development programs and has completed additional executive education coursework at the Kennedy School at Harvard.

Dr. McCoy’s wife, Lisa, is a former teacher in Greencastle who serves on the Putnam County Library board and the Greencastle School Board, and is a member of the Greencastle Civic League.  They are the parents of preteen triplet daughters, Hadley, Savannah and Madison.  The family is a collection of avid readers, musicians, travelers and seekers of ways to positively influence their community.