Charles J. “Bud” Koch, a member of the Case Western Reserve University Board of Trustees since 1999 and its chair since 2008, has been awarded one of the highest honors the institution can bestow, the University Medal.
“I am humbled by this award,” Koch said. “I considered it a privilege to lead this board and support efforts to advance Case Western Reserve. To also receive this recognition truly touches me and my wife, Katie.”
Koch is the former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Charter One Financial Inc. During his 16 years of leadership, the financial institution grew dramatically through strategic acquisitions and creative advances. In 2000, Charter One became the first U.S. financial institution to offer online banking, a practice that is now considered standard. The bank also inked a deal to include Starbucks Coffee in some of its branches, and its reach ultimately spanned nine states in the Midwest and Northeast. In 2002, American Banker named Koch its innovator of the year.
Koch stepped down from his leadership position at Case Western Reserve this summer, but will continue to serve on the board. At a presentation made during the his final meetings as board chair, university President Barbara R. Snyder cited Koch’s considerable financial acumen and insight as key elements of his work as chair. She also noted his advocacy of capital projects, including a $5 million commitment that he and his wife, Katie, made to the Tinkham Veale University Center. Koch’s dedication to these issues is so great that he has agreed to serve as vice chair of the board’s investment and campus planning committees.
As chair, Koch was an ambassador for the university in countless public ways, including the launch of the first capital campaign in nearly two decades. Snyder added that he also provided university leaders invaluable advice and advocacy.
“[His] service to this board and the university truly made a difference for everyone who calls Case Western Reserve home,” Snyder said.
The trustees established the honor of a University Medal in 1971. It is given to acknowledge exceptional leadership, dedication and service to the university, to higher education and to society. The solid silver medal bears the university seal on one side, while the reverse cites the recipient’s name and the date the medal was awarded.
Bud Koch’s father, Charles Joseph Koch, was a 1941 graduate of Case Institute of Technology. His sons, Charles Brian and John P., each earned MBAs from the university’s Weatherhead School of Management.