Upgrades to athletic facilities designed to better support student-athletes

Editor's Note: This story was written for the 2018 Spring/Summer Arbor Light magazine, a biannual publication of Concordia University Ann Arbor. Catch the newest edition dropping in mailboxes at the end of April. For your free subscription of Arbor Light, email arborlight@cuaa.edu.


A new competition-grade track and turf field project, called the Thunder Sports Complex, is coming to the Concordia University Ann Arbor campus. Aptly named for Keturah (Kay) Thunder-Haab, a treasured friend and supporter of CUAA, the Thunder Sports Complex will be a significant upgrade for the many student-athletes who compete in collegiate-level track and field athletics and for the greater Ann Arbor community.

“The improved track and field will enhance our recruiting efforts,” says Lonnie Pries, athletic director. “Increased enrollment is a significant goal; developing and growing our student-athletes as ethical servant leaders is our ultimate goal.”

For Thunder-Haab, a track is a natural project to get behind; and not just because of her perfectly apt name. As a longtime Lutheran educator at St. Paul Lutheran School, located just north of campus, she has been a champion of the sport of track and field for over two decades. Among her many roles with the nearby PK–8 school, Thunder-Haab was the official record keeper for the school’s track and field events, which were hosted at the old CUAA facilities.

“Students who compete in track are always working to improve on their own time and distance,” says Thunder-Haab. “They’re part of a team, but really representing and competing against themselves.”

Thunder-Haab is a familiar name and face at Concordia. The Haab School of Business bears the name of her late husband, Oscar W. Haab, in recognition of his generous support of Lutheran education and the Concordia campus. While neither attended CUAA (Thunder-Haab is a 1959 graduate of Concordia, River Forest), both actively and faithfully served the Lord as members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor and volunteered throughout the community. They believed strongly in Lutheran education and were committed to increasing access for more students.

“Smaller colleges, like Concordia, help students gain the confidence to speak up in class and try new things,” says Thunder-Haab. “Students at Concordia get to grow and learn in a place filled with God-fearing people who want to love and serve the Lord.”

“Smaller colleges, like Concordia, help students gain the confidence to speak up in class and try new things,” says Thunder-Haab. “Students at Concordia get to grow and learn in a place filled with God-fearing people who want to love and serve the Lord.”

The new track and field facility will also include a pro turf field. It’s just one of the priorities identified in A Heart for Concordia, the most significant comprehensive campaign in the history of Concordia University Ann Arbor. Announced in 2017, a cornerstone of the campaign is The Maier Center for Evangelism and Apologetics. The Maier Center is envisioned to help fill a critical need within the greater Church: the need for men and women who have a passion for sharing the Gospel and are seeking the tools to defend the faith in our modern culture. Serving more than just the CUAA campus, The Maier Center will provide programming and resources that will have an impact far beyond the campus proper.

Other campaign priorities include a student scholarship fund and an endowment fund that will support students, faculty, and innovative programs. For more information about A Heart for Concordia, contact Rev. Dr. Roy Peterson, vice president of advancement, at roy.peterson@cuw.edu.

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