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.
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.