Largest gift in 146-year seminary history will help complete capital campaign and endow library operations
The Rev. Dr. John Augustus Kaufmann enjoyed a nearly 70-year affiliation with The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), an institution of higher learning that he loved dearly. Now, in death, the late registrar emeritus has left the school the largest donation in its 146-year history – a $2 million bequest.
"The history of the seminary, like the history of the church, is a history of challenge and change, but it is also a history of grace and generosity," reflected the Rev. Dr. Philip Krey, LTSP president. “John Kaufmann saw the challenges and changes facing the school. He also watched the grace and generosity of others who cared about the seminary, and he was inspired to do what he could to help the school in this crucial time. He gave me and other seminary presidents here invaluable advice and counsel over many years, and his approach to that counsel was likewise a great gift.”
Kaufmann graduated from LTSP with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1944, served on the faculty, and retired as registrar in 1990. He continued to serve on the seminary Board and in his cherished advisory capacity while living on the campus. He was a trusted friend to Board Chairs and worked with seminary legal counsel for more years than any other person on campus. Kaufmann died December 5, 2009, at the age of 89. His wife, Doris, died in 1993.
“This largest single gift in our history is truly a sustaining gift,” Krey said. A significant portion of the legacy will be directed toward the Brossman Learning Center campaign, Krey stated. The balance will be placed in a restricted fund called the John and Doris Kaufmann Fund for the Krauth Memorial Library, a historic building on the campus. The school celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Krauth Library building last year and is in the process of renovating its heating and air conditioning and making it handicapped accessible. “The income from the fund will pay a significant portion of the library’s annual budget,” Krey said. “This remarkable gift could not have come at a better time."
LTSP, as is the case with other institutions, has seen its endowment and resources diminished by the recession, and as those funds rebuild with the recovery, this endowment gift will add to that recovery, Krey said. He added that historically Kaufmann was also a generous contributor to the seminary's annual Leadership Fund, most of which goes to provide financial aid to students. "Dr. Kaufmann has insured that his generosity will continue in perpetuity,” Krey said. “John was clear in his account of why he has done what he has done. He valued theological education and the contribution that a learned clergy can make to the church and society. He loved the church and was grateful that it gave him grace and meaning in what for him was a challenging life full of challenge and change. He thrived by reading, studying, and adapting to the changes that God provided and gave back and forward in an amazing way."
"John always spoke of how important estate gifts have been in the history of the seminary and wanted his example to encourage others to invest in the seminary,” says Krey. “He simply loved the students and alumni who pass through here."
Kaufmann will be remembered during the seminary's Spring Convocation at matins on April 27 at 9:30 am in the seminary chapel, located on the seminary’s East Mt. Airy campus in Philadelphia. Memorial gifts may be made for the John A. Kaufmann Enrollment Services Center at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, or online www.Ltsp.edu/give.