WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH | Coplan reflects on rewarding career, public service in Macomb


MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) — A woman who moved to Macomb 36 years ago has accomplished much for the community in that time.

Jane Coplan moved to Macomb in 1985 to work at Western Illinois University. She was hired as a food service worker for SAGA, what is now known as Sodexo, in Wetzell Hall.

Coplan decided to further her education and pursued her master’s at WIU. She graduated in 2003 with a master’s degree from the college student personnel program. She continued to work at WIU as an academic adviser who helped students during their first year on campus.

“It was a very rewarding career,” Coplan said.

Coplan’s career wasn’t only as an adviser. In 1998, she heard that a seat was opening on the Macomb City Council and decided to run for election.

“I had some concerns about some things in my neighborhood, ” Coplan said.

Even though she had no experience, she ran for that position and was elected to the City Council as an alderwoman.

Coplan served on the council for six years. During that time, she was able to implement a systematic inspection program. Because she lived on the edge of campus near a lot of student rental property, she knew about the living conditions. At that time the city did not inspect properties unless someone filed a complaint.

“I didn’t think that was safe enough because I’ve been in some of those rental units and seeing some things that were pretty unsafe,” Coplan said.

Besides learning about serving as a city council representative, there was one other thing that she came to learn about her local government.

“Most of the people who run for office on a local level really care about their community and want to make things better,” she said.

Coplan retired in 2017 and wanted to continue being involved with the community where she raised her family. She is currently the president of the League of Women Voters of McDonough County. She is proud to help provide the resources necessary for people to know how to vote and when to vote.

This month is Women’s History Month, and Coplan said she has seen much advancement toward women’s rights in her lifetime but also believes there is still more to accomplish.

“I believe that equality is still yet to be reached.”

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