Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
The World is her Parish
Martha Marie Orphe's ministry has taken her to every continent but Antarctica. She has visited twenty-one countries to date and has visited Africa University at least four times that she can recall.
Martha is the youngest of six children born to Joseph and Dolores Orphe. She and her siblings were reared in St. Martinville, Louisiana. She graduated with honors from St. Martinville Senior High School in 1977; she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Computer Science from Clark College (Atlanta, GA) in 1982; her Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) in 1985; and her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington, DC) in 1993.
Martha was ordained a Deacon in the Louisiana Annual Conference in 1984 and an Elder in the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference in 1987. She served for more than twenty-one years in Western Pennsylvania, including seven years as district superintendent of the Pittsburg District.
In 2006, Martha returned home to Louisiana to serve as the Conference Mission Zone Director to supervise the rebuilding of fifty churches and communities in New Orleans and West Louisiana that were severely impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In the midst of her new ministry, Martha grieved the death of her beloved mother, who died one week after Hurricane Katrina, and her beloved sister, who died two weeks after Hurricane Rita.
Martha currently serves as senior pastor of First Street Peck Wesley United Methodist Church and Williams Ross United Methodist Church located in New Orleans.
Martha has been actively engaged with Africa University since its inception in 1988. She has raised awareness, made friends, and raised funds for the new university. Martha was district superintendent when the General Conference of The United Methodist Church was held in Pittsburgh in 2004. She arranged for the AU choir to perform in concert in the district. She also hosted the choir members in her home for a fabulous meal prepared by her parents, who traveled from Louisiana to do so. "It was one of the high points of my parents' lives to meet those young, vibrant, engaging students from Africa University," Martha reflected. "The meeting was especially poignant for my dad because he had traced his roots to Ghana through DNA testing," she continued.
In 2010, Martha was formally inducted into the Richard E. "Dick" Reeves Legacy Society because she has included Africa University in her estate plans. In explaining why she chose to leave a bequest to the university, Martha said, "I love Mother Africa, and I want to invest in her future. I firmly believe that the most effective way to do so is by investing in the higher education of Africa's young women and men. Africa University is the perfect institution to allow me to do so."
Martha's dream for Africa University is that one day it will become the premiere university for all of Africa and produce the next generation of African leaders.
Deacon Alice Ann Glenn
Alice Ann Glenn is a deacon serving the United Methodist Church as a Christian Education consultant, writer, and health advocate. Alice Ann, a UM preacher's kid, was reared in small, rural congregations in the State of Washington. Her parents were both teachers, and education was always highly esteemed in their home. Alice Ann was an only child, but her parents also cared for foster children. Education for all of them went without question. Foreign exchange students were also a part of Alice Ann's growing up experience, thus launching her interest in education outside the United States.
Alice Ann attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. During her college years, she studied in Europe on a student exchange program. Her graduate work was done at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. After completing her Masters degree, Alice Ann worked in Tucson, AZ for several years. Thereafter, she returned to work in the CA-NV Annual Conference. While working in Paradise, CA she married Joseph R. Turner, III, an artist and musician who also valued education.
Alice Ann served as director of Christian Education in large churches for 15 years before becoming a contract writer for the UM Publishing House, a position she has held for the past 20 years. Most recently, Alice Ann has been writing for her annual conference, editing books for colleagues and college classmates, teaching Bible studies, and tutoring high risk Hispanic elementary age children.
Alice Ann has had a life-time interest in multi-cultural and cross-cultural education. Having been reared in a family that valued education so highly, and knowing that women are often change makers, Alice Ann said it was a logical next step to endow a scholarship for African women at Africa University.
Alice Ann lives in Monterey, CA where she works with churches building cross cultural church partnerships. When she isn't working, she is gardening, reading, traveling, and attending lectures and concerts.
Rev. Warren E. Covell
Warren E. Covell was born in Barre, Vermont in 1932. He is a graduate of East Hartford High School (Connecticut). He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut in 1954 and his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Hartford Seminary in 1959.
Warren was married to the late Phyllis Storrs Covell for more than 52 years before Phyllis stepped into eternity on November 16, 2010. Four children were born of their marriage.
Warren was ordained an Elder and full member of the former Southern New England Annual Conference in 1959. A year later, he transferred his membership to the former North Central New York Annual Conference (which merged with several other conferences in 2010 to form the new Upper New York Annual Conference) where he served until his retirement in 1996.
In 2000, the Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference challenged the annual conferences in the jurisdiction to raise funds for endowed scholarships at Africa University. With Warren serving as chair of the Conference Global Ministries Committee, the NCNY Conference accepted the challenge and raised approximately $70,000.00 between 2001 and 2004 to endow a scholarship. Jesualdinho Domingos of Angola, a 2009 graduate of the Faculty of Management and Administration, was the first scholarship recipient. The current scholarship recipient is Mukalay Loris Banza, formerly of the DRC and now of Tanzania. Loris is enrolled in the Faculty of Health Sciences and anticipates graduating in 2014 with his Bachelor of Health Services Management degree.
Warren currently serves as a member of the task force spearheading the Upper NY Annual Conference campaign to raise $1 million for endowed scholarships at AU.
Bill and Debbi Iwig: Breaking Down Barriers Through Education
Bill and Debbi Iwig have a deep heritage, both having been born and reared in the Midwest. Bill grew up on a dairy farm owned and operated by his father and uncles and located near Topeka, KS. Here he learned to appreciate hard work and a supportive extended family. Debbi grew up primarily in Kansas and Missouri, developing an adventurous spirit from her family's frequent moves.
Education was an integral part of their young adult years. Bill and Debbi met while students at Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas. Both graduated with degrees in mathematics. Subsequently, Bill earned his Masters degree in statistics from Texas A&M University, and Debbi completed her Masters in business administration at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Bill and Debbi made their connection with Africa University through their local church and through one of their close friends, the Rev. F. Lloyd Rollins. Rollins' enthusiasm was infectious. In 2002, Debbi travelled to Africa University with a small group led by Rollins. This was Debbi's first trip to the continent of Africa, and it made a lasting impression upon her. She was also very impressed by what Africa University had accomplished in only ten short years.
This new university quickly captured the Iwigs' imagination. "We believe that education can break down barriers, and we loved the idea of a place in Africa where students could come from all over the continent to receive an education grounded in Christian values," they shared.
Bill and Debbi have not only been generous annual supporters of Africa University, but they have also included the university in their estate plans. They plan to celebrate Africa University's 20th anniversary on campus with a group led by Rollins.