Northampton Community College is mourning the passing of a longtime president.
Robert J. Kopecek died at his home in North Carolina on Thursday, the school announced.
Kopecek, who served as NCC's president between 1977 and 2003, is remembered as "a visionary and hard-driving leader, determined throughout his presidency to expand access to education, to foster economic development, and to make Northampton a world-class community college," according to a school statement.
NCC's enrollment under Kopecek's leadership grew from 7,900 students a year to close to 25,000, and the academic offerings expanded to include programs in more than 100 fields of study, officials said.
Kopecek, 76, twice served as president of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and once as chairman of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities.
In an interview for the college magazine in the spring of 2003, Kopecek was asked how he hoped people would remember "the Kopecek years" at NCC.
"I hope [people] remember that students got a good education here, that we served them well, and that they came out proud of the institution they went to," he replied.