She was there at the school's start, and she continues to be a part of its future.

As a member of Concordia University Ann Arbor’s first graduating class, Ruth Koch (’65) says she holds a special place in her heart for her alma mater. It’s partially why she’s committed herself to regular campus visits—despite the fact she lives more than 1,200 miles away in Colorado—to serve on the Michigan Committee of Overseers for CUAA, giving thoughtful consideration to some of the University’s weightiest issues, as well as its most exciting opportunities.

Q: What is one of your fondest memories of CUAA as a student?

A: Probably one of the things that comes to mind most readily is the dedication of the faculty. I had a wonderful Old Testament professor named William Hoerger, and I met Christ in the Old Testament through him. I had classes with that faith focus, and that was a wonderful, wonderful part of being at CUAA.

Q: You’ve worked as a mental health educator most of your life. What does that work look like?

A: Over 45 years of teaching, training, and consulting, I developed a number of topics in the area of mental health and how sound mental health principles cross with our Christian faith. I also specialized in conflict management and healthy boundaries. One of the joys of my working career was when I could help church workers find some healthy balance to their work and their family life, and really enjoy living and serving.

Q: Why is it important to you to serve on the Michigan Committee
of Overseers?

A: I’m so excited about CUAA, and how they serve and truly prepare students with a foundation—a faith-based education, a Christian education. My husband was senior pastor at St. Luke in Ann Arbor from 1994 until he retired in 2001, so it was kind of interesting, after having been a student there and then coming back 30 years later, to see the changes. Now, skip forward to the time since the merger and what’s happening now, it’s exciting to see the changes once
again. I feel like I’ve been a part of the CUAA story for decades. It’s a place where Christ is really at the center.

Q: What do you anticipate for CUAA’s future?

A: I think students, faculty, everyone involved with CUAA, they’re all excited and anticipating the future in a way that’s very hopeful. We can see God at work; He is the reason for our hope.

This story was first featured in the spring/summer 2016 issue of Arbor Light, the official magazine of Concordia University Ann Arbor.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Ann Arbor and Wisconsin. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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