Donor Spotlight: Carol Burgener - Ashland Theological Seminary

Donor Spotlight: Carol Burgener

 mary deitz, carol burgener, ashland theological seminary
Mary Dietz: Carol Burgener's mother

Twelve Ashland Theological Seminary students have been blessed with the gift of an advanced education, all thanks to a student who earned her degree 27 years ago. 

Carol Burgener’s mother, Mary Dietz, married at 19, started a family just a few years later, then began working on her college degree when Carol started kindergarten in 1959. In 1986, after years of parenting children and moving to various locations for her husband’s Air Force career, Mary received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron. Then, in 1992, she earned her MSW from Ashland. She was 63 years old. 

"Other than her children, I don’t think anything thrilled my mother more than Ashland,” explains Carol. “So I wanted to honor her by helping other people realize their dreams.”

After Mary Dietz passed away in 2018, Carol made a donation to the scholarship fund in her name. The generous gift was enough to send a dozen students to seminary. 

“Education was highly important in our family, so I wanted to honor both my parents with educational gifts,” says Carol, who has also made donations to other colleges and universities important to her family. “My mother was very proud of her degree from Ashland.”

Mary applied her education in social work to volunteer positions at Emerge Ministries, a ministry in Akron that provides counseling to low-income people, and Akron General Hospital, in the chaplain’s office. She also served in a number of church ministries.

Carol, who is in her fifteenth year of administrative staff at Grace Bible Church in Ann Arbor, carries on the family spirit of generosity and service, gifts that will resonate in the Ashland community for generations to come. 


Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world. The seminary offers certificate, master’s and doctoral level programs in Ashland, Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit. Learn more at seminary.ashland.edu.

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