USAO Educated, USAO Employed: Mike Coponiti

Headshot of Mike beside the "Educated Here, Employed Here" poster

USAO Educated, USAO Employed: Mike Coponiti


The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Alumni Association is pleased to introduce a new segment highlighting our alumni who are also employed by the university.

“Alumni employees make up a special segment of our alumni family, as they have chosen to spend their post-graduate professional life on this campus serving the institution,” said Misti McClellan, director of alumni development. "These extraordinary alumni get the unique opportunity to show our students and community just how much they love the institution—that is one of our greatest assets.”

As an alumni employee you become a natural ambassador, developing relationships on campus and off; strengthening ties between the institution and alumni, students and our community. Michael “Mike” Coponiti is a prime example of such a person.

Coponiti is a long-time familiar face around USAO. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in accounting in 1992, he went to work for a local software company as an assistant controller. Soon afterward, a position opened in the business office at USAO and a former professor encouraged Coponiti to apply. While working for the university full-time, Coponiti decided to go back to school and received his MBA from Cameron University in 1999.

A Grady County resident since the age of four, Coponiti and his wife, Laura, have two children and three grandchildren. USAO has always been a large part of the Coponiti’s lives. Both Mike and Laura, as well as their two children, have attended the university.

“Attending USAO has taught me that not everything is black or white. We must look at situations from multiple perspectives. Never close your mind to new ideas,” said Coponiti.

Every time a student walks across the stage at graduation, Mike prides himself in the fact he played a very small part in the success of that student.

The mission of the Alumni Association is to unite all alumni with each other and the university through networking, social engagement, sharing of information, and news and giving opportunities through scholarships, volunteerism and other support. In addition to participating in the monthly profiles, all alumni employees are gifted original artwork by another USAO alum, Jerry Bennet. Collaborating with McClellan, Bennet created a poster for employees to hang in their office space that proudly proclaims, “Educated Here, Employed Here, Drover For Life.”

“It is an incredible honor to have alumni who are also employees. I wanted to find a way to honor them as well as support one of our alums. It was a win-win!  It is one of my favorite things hanging in my office,” said McClellan.