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About 50 years ago, Ron Kabitzke was ready to settle down and hoped to meet a young woman who shared his faith and values. Enter his mother, who met Kathleen and immediately thought Ron and Kathleen might make a good match. She arranged an introduction to find out for sure. In this case, it turned out mother really was right!

Ron and Kathleen of Newburg, Wis., recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary.

The couple are members of Pilgrim Evangelical Lutheran Church in West Bend, Wis., which frequently helps support pastoral and deaconess students at the Seminary. The Kabitzkes, both now retired, travel frequently to Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) gatherings and conventions and often attend worship services when they’re out of town.

During their life journey together, the couple has remained committed to family and faith. “Even when we were just getting started and our kids were young, we saved and went without certain things so we could support the church in whatever way we could,” Ron says. “Through the years, our priorities have remained consistent — family, education and church.”

Although interested in attending the Seminary as a young man, Ron pursued a different path. Even so, he committed himself to helping others who were pursuing ministry careers. “I thought if I’m not going into the ministry, I want to help those who are, those who have the calling,” he says. That commitment continues today.

“We’ve been so impressed by these students from abroad who want to spread the Gospel and decided to help them. We … want to pay it forward to the Lord.”
— Ron Kabitzke

While the couple supports the church in many ways, Ron and Kathleen have focused their efforts on students, and Concordia Seminary has been blessed by their gifts and support.

The couple has supported international students in need and enjoyed fellowship with others from all around the world. They want to help ensure the LCMS continues to enhance its global presence.

“We’ve been so impressed by these students from abroad who want to spread the Gospel and decided to help them,” Ron says. “We are blessed and want to pay it forward to the Lord.”

As part of their estate planning process, the Kabitzkes recently established a scholarship endowment at the Seminary that is earmarked specifically to help offset tuition costs for international students. While some of these students will return to their home countries to spread the Gospel, others may be called to serve those within one of the many growing ethnic communities in the United States.

Ron and Kathleen Kabitzke enjoy the vista from Kilauea Crater in Hawaii. Photo: Courtesy the Kabitzkes
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the Seminary is funding operations — including generous amounts of student aid — through current giving and endowment income, with the intent to grow total endowment to $200 million by 2025.

The vast majority of the Seminary’s endowments have been established to honor esteemed pastors, faculty or family members. Their earnings have been earmarked to provide student financial aid or support Seminary operations.

“Some donors ask whether their gift really makes a difference. The truth is that all gifts — each gift — regardless of the size truly make an impact,” says Vicki Biggs, senior vice president of Seminary Advancement and chief communications officer.

“Endowment gifts such as the one the Kabitzkes have provided benefit students for generations to come. Such gifts also support operations, and in so doing, keep the Seminary strong in its mission. We are deeply grateful to the Kabitzkes and all of the Seminary’s many donors, whose gifts — whether large or small — make an impact every day for the sake of the Gospel.”

To learn more about establishing a new endowment or contributing to an existing one, contact Seminary Advancement at 800-822-5287 or advancement@csl.edu, or visit csl.edu/support.

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