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Copenhaver Chair

The John T. Copenhaver Jr. Chair at WVU unifies the principles of public health with the law.

WVU Law and School of Public Health

The law, through legal rules, regulations and institutional reform can provide a powerful tool for advancing global health, preventing diseases and saving lives.  However, the intersection between law and public health remains underutilized and poorly understood.   

With the generous support of the Hon. John T. Copenhaver, Jr., the WVU School of Public Health and the WVU College of Law are collaborating to bring  nationally recognized health law scholars to campus in 2020 and 2021. 

The goal of this collaboration will be to highlight the crucial value of law in advancing global health with justice. The Copenhaver Chair will help build strategic linkages between health and law and the professionals who work in both fields.

John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

John Thomas Copenhaver, Jr. is an senior status (Article III) federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. He joined the court in 1976 after being nominated by President Gerald Ford. He retired from full-time service, assuming senior status, on November 1, 2018. 

Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Copenhaver served on active duty in the United States Army from 1944 to 1946 before attending West Virginia University and earning his bachelor's degree in 1947. He graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1950. 

Copenhaver was a law clerk for Judge Ben Moore in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia from 1950 to 1951. From 1951 to 1958, he was in private practice. From 1958 to 1973, Copenhaver served as the bankruptcy mediator for bankruptcy cases in the Southern District of West Virginia. He has also served as an adjunct professor for WVU Law and as a faculty member for the Federal Judicial Center.

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