State Chamber Award Goes to Copelands; Annual Dinner Features Dogfish Head Founders

Accepting the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Josiah Marvel Cup Award last night, Tatiana Copeland said her background as an immigrant to the United States serves as a daily inspiration for the philanthropic efforts she and husband Gerret have become known for across the state. The Chamber awarded the Copelands with the Marvel Cup at its 183rd Annual Dinner.

Tatiana Copeland, who was born in Europe to Russian parents, reflected on her experience being welcomed as an immigrant to America and that she and her husband believe giving to worthy organizations is a way to pay back the hospitality that she has received coming to this country.  The Copelands have been major supporters of arts, education and conservation groups, giving millions to the Delaware Art Museum, The Grand Opera House, ChristianaCare, the Delaware Humane Association and more.

The Copelands have been The Grand’s most generous individual donors for more than a decade. Tatiana Copeland has been a member of The Grand’s Board of Directors for more than 20 years, during which time she brokered The Grand’s acquisition of The Playhouse on Rodney Square.


Executive Director Mark Fields says The Grand is deeply indebted to the Copelands for decades of generosity. “But they are even more impactful through their commitment to providing thoughtful advice, endorsement among their extensive personal and professional networks, and all-around cheerleading for The Grand and other important cultural institutions,” he said.

The event, held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, attracted more than 1,000 business leaders, elected officials and state dignitaries, including US Senators Coons and Carper, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester, Governor John Carney, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.

Established in 1951, the Marvel Cup – named in memory of Josiah Marvel, who reorganized and became the chamber’s first president in 1913 – honors Delawareans who have made an outstanding contribution to the state, community, or society.


Gerret, a member of the du Pont family, helped establish the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and is active with Longwood Gardens, The Mount Cuba Center for Piedmont Flora, and serves as chairman of the Delaware Art Museum.  

After getting degrees at UCLA and the University of California, Tatiana worked for Price Waterhouse and the DuPont Company’s European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. She is fluent in five languages.


Visitors to the Kalmar Nyckel will note the striking Copeland Maritime Center, named in honor of the substantial contribution Gerret and Tatiana made toward its construction (opened in 2014) and for their notable support since the launch of the replica of the official Tall Ship of Delaware. “Their legacy of generous support for so many organizations in our community is unparalleled,” said Kalmar Nyckel Foundation Executive Director Cathy Parsells. “There is no doubt that the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation would not be the organization that it is today without these two remarkable people.”

A highlight of the state business community’s largest annual gathering were remarks by Sam and Mariah Calagione, founders of Dogfish Head, which became Delaware’s first brewpub in 1995. The Calagiones shared the experience of building a tiny commercial brewery into a national powerhouse, now part of the Boston Brewing Company.

The Calagiones delighted attendees with courtesy cans of their newest and fastest-growing beer, Slighty Mighty, a low-calorie IPA – Dogfish’s answer to Michelob Ultra.

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.


  • The leadership and vision and generosity the Copelands have given to our community are awesome by any standard and unquestionably deserving praise and recognition. The Marvel cup could not go to worthier recipients. The award is named for Josiah Marvel, a similiar visionary who did great things for our State. In addition to other accomplishments, Mr. Marvel was one of the great American lawyers of the 20th century and a great authority on business law. He is the only Delawarean to be elected President of The American Bar Association. Many years ago, the Marvel cup was awarded to his son, William Marvel, who spent the last part of his career as a public servant as Vice Chancellor in the Delaware Court of Chancery, and then as Chancellor of the State of Delaware. In addition to writing important decisions on the subject of the Delaware corporation law, he also wrote very important decisions of national importance on civil rights, which were affirmed by the United States Supreme Court. The civil rights cases held unlawful segregation attempts by local businesses. Some of Josiah Marvel’s descendants still live in Delaware, such as Margaret Marvel Sanger.

  • The Copelands also give invaluable support to the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, the organization maintaining and promoting the Kalmar Nyckel, Delaware’s official Tall Ship. The original was to the Swedish as the Mayflower was to the English, and their sponsorship of the current recreation ship and the new Marine Foundation on the Wilmington waterfront is incredible and highly appreciated.