Keynote Speaker

    Michael J. Copps, Ph.D.

Michael J. Copps served two terms as a Member of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 through 2011 and was Acting Chairman in 2009.

Dr. Copps began his Washington career in 1970 and served for over a dozen years as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings. Following his years with Hollings, he held executive positions in the private sector with a Fortune 500 company and a major trade association.

Copps returned to government following the election of President Bill Clinton, serving first as Deputy Assistant Secretary, and then Assistant Secretary, for Trade Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

After retiring from the FCC, Dr. Copps agreed to found and head a new Media & Democracy Initiative at Common Cause, focused on enabling a national grassroots dialogue on media consolidation, the declining state of America’s news and information infrastructure, and government neglect of its important public interest oversight responsibilities.  Copps also serves on the boards of Free Press and Public Knowledge.  He writes a monthly blog for the Benton Foundation and Common Cause.

A native of Milwaukee, Copps earned his B.A. at Wofford College in 1963 and his Ph.D. in United States History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1967.  He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Wofford in 2005.  Prior to locating in Washington, he taught U. S. History at Loyola University in New Orleans. He and his wife, Beth, have five children and nine grandchildren and reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

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