Casper Raybuck Scholarship
For Northwest University alums Gene and Mary Casper (’67/’68), investing in young people has always been a God-given passion and mission. But creating a significant scholarship endowment to help students come to Northwest University did not even seem like a remote possibility for a couple with a lifelong call to ministry.
Gene and Mary have established a scholarship endowment for NU students—the Casper Raybuck Scholarship—and met their goal of $100,000 in January 2021. How did they do it as people without significant financial wealth? They’ve built it year after year, a little at a time. Why did they do it? That’s the real story.
Like many of our alums, Gene and Mary met at Northwest University. Mary was a transfer student, and Gene knew she was the one at first sight! Both were involved in university choirs, and both had a heart for ministry. Gene earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and missions and graduated in 1967. Having traveled with a Northwest University PR team during the summer of 1967, he returned for a fifth year while Mary earned her associate degree in what we would now likely call Christian education. They married with a love for God and each other, a heart for family, and a call to ministry.
Since then, they have served in just about every capacity possible in their church (for 47 years now), yet they did it as lay-ministers. The public speaking part of preaching was just not Gene’s strength, so he took a job with United Parcel Service (UPS) and remained there for the entirety of his career, more than 42 years.
Inspired by a prophecy about being involved with young people and a heart to send students to the Master’s Commission program in Assembly of God churches, Gene and Mary dreamed of helping train up the next generation of ministry leaders. That was the genesis of their idea and commitment. In 2000, while their son, Andrew, was earning his youth ministries degree at Northwest and their daughter-in- law, Cindy, was working in development, the two of them approached Gene and Mary with the idea of supporting students at Northwest by establishing an endowment.
To help them get started and build their endowment, they set an annual goal of $2,500. Gene’s employer, UPS, offered corporate gift matching, so the Caspers were able to fund their endowment and double their personal giving at the same time. In 2009, UPS stopped its gift-matching program, yet the Caspers remained committed to building and growing their endowment over time.
Their endowment has both helped bring students to NU and kept students at NU to complete their education and training. Every one of those students has gone on to make a difference in the world!
According to Gene and Mary, “Some things in life you know you don’t have to pray about; you just do it.” Thank you, Gene and Mary, for your commitment to training up students with a Christ-centered education and for your obedience to fulfill the calling God placed on your hearts, even when it did not seem like a financial possibility. And thank you for trusting Northwest University as the place for your investment, which is both changing students’ lives now and making an eternal impact.