Valparaiso University has received a significant gift commitment from Karl and Shirley Kreft to establish the Karl and Shirley Kreft Endowed Fund for the LCMS Pastoral Ministry and Chapel Programs.

The Krefts are longtime supporters of Valparaiso University. In 2007, they established the Kreft Endowed Chair for the Advancement of Nursing Science, currently held by Theresa A. Kessler, Ph.D., RN. From 2000 through 2010, Karl served as an active member of the University’s Board of Directors, and he is now an emeritus member of the Board.

“This commitment aligns with the deep respect Shirley and I have for Valpo’s tradition of excellence at the intersection of faith and learning,” Karl said. “It is our intent to contribute to an enduring witness to Jesus Christ, which is consistent with the mission and foundation of the University.”

University Pastor James Wetzstein, who has been working with Valpo students in their spiritual lives and growth since his arrival at the University in March 2003, will manage the programming supported by the Kreft Endowed Fund. Pastor Wetzstein is actively involved with student groups and programs, such as LCMS-U and the Social Action Leadership Team. This endowed fund will provide the resources to strengthen the impact of the ministry for the benefit of Valpo students and the broader community.

“By establishing this endowed fund, Karl and Shirley have strengthened our campus ministry and its programs in perpetuity,” said Susan VanZanten, Ph.D., assistant vice president for mission and spiritual life and dean of Christ College — The Honors College. “We are blessed to have them as friends, benefactors, and advocates for the University’s Lutheran heritage. On behalf of the entire University community, I want to thank them for their continued support and belief in the value of a Valpo education.”

The addition of the Kreft endowment now creates endowed funds in support of both University Pastor positions. The permanent resources generated by the funds will, in perpetuity, ensure Valpo students, faculty and staff are provided with support in issues of faith, relationships, vocation and any other personal challenges they face.

The Krefts’ gift supports Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign that will secure permanent resources for student scholarships, faculty development and programs that prepare students for lives of leadership, service and generosity. Forever Valpo was officially launched on Sept. 23, 2016, and has raised more than $260 million.