On behalf of Wartburg Theological Seminary, President Kristin Largen is pleased to announce the naming of the new auditorium in the soon to be remodeled Fritschel Hall. The Rev. Ron and Mrs. Mary Ellen Koplitz of Tempe, AZ generously stepped up to become lead donors to the $28 million Lead Boldly campaign which includes the $7 million remodel of the seminary’s main academic building. In recognition for their generosity, the WTS Board of Directors approved naming the greatly expanded auditorium, “Koplitz Auditorium.”
The Rev. Ronald Koplitz is a 1969 graduate of Wartburg Seminary, and he and Mary Ellen are graduates of Wartburg College. Mary Ellen was a schoolteacher who supported Ron during his years at Wartburg Seminary. The Koplitzs have also contributed a large endowed scholarship fund at Wartburg Seminary. In 2018, WTS honored them with the first ever Life Together Award, in recognition of their generosity.
Ron’s years of ministry included 17 years of parish ministry in Wisconsin and 18 years of chaplaincy in governmental correctional facilities in Wisconsin and Arizona. Since retiring in Tempe, AZ, Ron and Mary Ellen remain active members of University Lutheran Church on Arizona State University’s campus and actively encourage students interested in ministry to attend Wartburg Seminary. The Koplitzs consider the students they support at Wartburg College and Wartburg Seminary their legacy.
In June, the seminary will begin a year-long major reconstruction of Fritschel Hall that will include expanded classrooms, centralized student services, and a modernized library. The 100-year-old building will also receive new, efficient electrical, heating, cooling and plumbing systems, including new windows and a host of other improvements. Several naming and dedication spaces remain available for those wishing to leave a legacy in this place that has shaped so many church leaders.