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Winter 2008 Rapport: Development Outlook

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Alumnus Initiates New Scholarsips

Hospital chaplain Larry Cooper (D.Min. 2004) and his wife, Jan, share their passion for ministry and AGTS in a recent interview with Dorothea Lotter, director of institutional and alumni relations. Chaplain Cooper is a staff chaplain at CoxHealth in Springfield, Mo., and an adjunct professor at AGTS. Jan is a financial aid loan coordinator at Drury University.

Dorothea: You just added a revocable trust to your estate plan to establish the Larry and Jan Cooper Healthcare Chaplaincy Endowed Scholarship at AGTS. How did you get into the healthcare chaplaincy field?

Larry: While pastoring in Albion, Neb., I started a weekly Bible study at a nursing home in an effort to reach out to the community. It quickly grew, and I became their volunteer chaplain. Sensing the Lord leading us, I contacted the AG Chaplaincy Department regarding endorsement.

Dorothea: What led you to establish an endowed scholarship?

Larry: I completed the M.Div. and D.Min. at AGTS. Though Jan and I worked hard to pay tuition, someone else helped us financially. I graduated debt free, but that’s not the case for most students. I passionately believe in AGTS, and this scholarship endowment enables us to help students—long-term.

Jan: The seminary has been an integral part of our lives for many years. With Larry teaching as an adjunct professor, we are close to students preparing for the chaplaincy.

I passionately
believe in AGTS,
and this scholarship endowment enables
us to help students—

Dorothea: What steps have you taken to set up the scholarship?

Larry: First we consulted our financial advisor. Then we talked with you and Paul Martinez [director of development] about how to establish a scholarship at AGTS. Finally we met with an attorney who guided us through the estate planning process to establish a revocable trust, which includes this endowed scholarship.

Dorothea: What makes you so passionate about healthcare chaplaincy?

Larry: I love sharing God’s love in a tangible way when people are hurting and where they have the greatest need.

Jan: I see pastors struggle in knowing how to minister to people in the hospital. Taking a course in hospital chaplaincy will better equip them for ministry in that setting.

Dorothea: Would you encourage others to take steps to endow a scholarship?

Larry: If you want to see students equipped to fulfill God’s call without being so debt-laden that they’re stymied in the ministry, this is a way you can help. You can continue to invest in this generation and in those to come. I want my children and grandchildren to be effective wherever God calls them.

Jan: It’s important for people to understand that we are not wealthy. Anything you can do to help students, regardless of the amount, makes a difference. Working in financial aid, I see the struggles students face. You don’t have to be wealthy to establish a revocable trust. For us it’s tithing on what we’ve earned in our lifetime.

Larry: Yes, we expect our estate plan to grow, but that’s in God’s hands. We want to make a difference and invest in God’s people. We encourage others to do something too. An endowment allows us to make a long-term investment.

Updated: Monday, December 10, 2007 4:53 PM

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