The ambitious goal of $77 million established in 2005 by Concordia Seminary for its comprehensive How Will They Hear? Campaign has been exceeded. Ending June 30 of this year, the total of received and pledged gifts during the five years of the Campaign is just over $80 million. Recognizing God’s goodness to the Seminary through the Campaign, a Celebration Luncheon was held on the campus September 3.
“God has been especially good to the Seminary through congregations, organizations, and individual donors including alumni, faculty, and staff,” said Dr. Dale A. Meyer, president of the Seminary. “Given some of the challenges faced during the Campaign such as the economic downturn, the results are significant, indeed. We are so grateful for the very strong support we have seen for the important work being done here and the optimism regarding the efforts the Seminary has planned for the future. The need for support continues to be great and we pray many throughout the Synod will continue to remember the Seminary with their gifts.”
The Campaign was the first conducted by the Seminary since the capital campaign to fund the construction of the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the campus of the Seminary in the late 1980s. As a comprehensive campaign, How Will They Hear? was the first campaign of its type in the 171-year history of the Seminary. It included all facets of the Seminary’s mission.
The PASTORS component of the Campaign that provided support for student aid and the ongoing operation of the Seminary ended with a total of $49.5 million. Gifts and pledges to the PLACE component were designated for capital improvements to the St. Louis campus. The total was more than $11 million, thanks in large measure to a $4 million matching grant from the Charles E. Benidt Foundation. The PROMISE component, with gifts and pledges designated for endowments, reached a total of some $19.4 million.
More than 200,000 gifts were received during the Campaign. Congregations became involved in a variety of ways. More than half of St. Louis alumni provided gifts through the Campaign, and 100% of the Seminary faculty made gifts or pledges. “So many have been so supportive,” said Sheryl Ray, who served as campaign director. “I can’t thank our board, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors enough.”
Leading the Campaign was the National Steering Committee, comprised of individuals from around the country who worked with Seminary staff, volunteered time and effort, and provided support in a variety of ways. “Reaching the goal seemed to be an uphill challenge, but this was God’s project, not ours,” said Dan and Sandy Clark, who live in Colorado and who served as co-chairpersons of the committee. “We can’t rest now that the Campaign is over,” they said. “We encourage our fellow Christians to support the work of the Seminary as a regular part of their giving to our loving Lord.”
Pastor Daniel Tews, a 2010 graduate of the Seminary who is now serving as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, S.D., commented on the benefit of the Campaign. “Without the generous support of Seminary donors, I could not have afforded my seminary education. What a blessing it is to have the many who supported the Campaign. They helped make it possible for me to attend the Seminary. I know my fellow graduates would join me in saying ‘we love our Seminary donors.’”
Earlier this year, Concordia Seminary was selected to receive a top award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), recognizing the exemplary support of donors and friends of the Seminary. The Council annually grants awards to those institutions that have had notable accomplishments. The awards are made independently by CASE. Schools do not apply for awards. Of the 253 colleges, universities, and seminaries considered by CASE to be finalists in 2009, only 20 were chosen to receive an award. Concordia Seminary was one of the 20 selected to receive a top honor for “Overall Performance” in 2009. It was the only seminary in the United States to receive the award.
“We are convinced,” said Mr. James Ralls, outgoing chairman of the Seminary’s Board of Regents, “that the involvement of so many in the Campaign was a major factor in receipt of this award.”
“The award and the wonderful results of the Campaign are testimonials to God’s blessings through all those who join the Seminary in providing pastors, church leaders, and resources to nurture Christians and proclaim Jesus Christ to the world,” said Rev. Dr. Paul Devantier, senior vice president for advancement, whose division lead the Campaign. “May this award, the Campaign results, and all that the Seminary and its supporters do always be to His glory.”
For more information, please contact seminary advancement at 1-800-822-5287.