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September 18, 2015

Nicholas Coppola '90, '15 to Attend White House Reception for Pope Francis

Nicholas Coppola was selected as a student speaker for the 2015 commencement ceremony held on Long Island.
Nicholas Coppola was one of three students who spoke at the 2015 commencement ceremony held on Long Island. Photo/Empire State College

Alumnus Nicholas Coppola ’90, ’15, will be attending the White House reception for Pope Francis.

The event is scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23.

He attends as a member of the delegation from GLAAD, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy organization, which, along with several Catholic LGBTQA leaders, received invitations.

Coppola, a devoted Catholic, experienced two significant life-changing events in 2012.  He married David Crespo and was then confronted by his church.

“When we returned from our honeymoon, my pastor informed me that Bishop Murphy directed him to remove me from any and every church ministry,” said Coppola. “I was not permitted on the altar. The reason? I married someone I love. It is that simple. That was a very significant moment in my life. Sure, I have dealt with some nasty comments that come from ignorance, but never had an injustice affected me in such a personal way.”

At that time, GLAAD supported him in many ways, including by sharing his story.

Today, Coppola is president of the SUNY Empire State LGBTQA Student Alumni Club, the college’s first club to represent lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students and alumni and community allies.

He also serves on the board of directors of GMHC, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.

This year, he was selected as one of three student speakers for the college’s commencement ceremony held on Long Island.

More about Coppola’s story is available on the college’s website at

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