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Bethlehem, Pa., January 4, 2008—Moravian Theological Seminary received $6.1 million from the estate of Charles D. Couch, a long-time friend of both the Seminary and Moravian College. Couch passed away at the age of 91 on December 31, 2006.
The Couch bequest is the largest single gift in the history of the Moravian Theological Seminary. In July of 2007, the Seminary received a gift of approximately $3.2 million from the estate of prominent Bethlehem businessman and philanthropist, Adam Brinker, who died in 1928.
“We are most grateful for this thoughtful and generous gift from Mr. Couch which strengthens the long-term viability of the Seminary, enabling us to prepare students for ministry for many years to come,” said Christopher M. Thomforde, president of Moravian Theological Seminary. “This wonderful gift from Mr. Couch coincides with the Seminary’s 200th anniversary celebration. It is my hope that his support will help us to provide outstanding theological instruction for the next two-hundred years.”
The funds will be used to support the priorities of the Seminary’s strategic plan which is currently being finalized. “Mr. Couch’s generosity will enable the Seminary to increase financial aid to students, enhance faculty development, and expand the use of educational technology,” Thomforde noted.
The roots of Charles D. Couch’s family run deep into Moravian history. Couch is a direct descendent of Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf and his daughter, the Countess Benigna von Watteville. Benigna established the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies in 1742 which is recognized as the founding date of Moravian College. Couch’s family has been involved in the other streams of tradition that have flowed together to make up the modern-day institution. His niece is Rt. Rev. M. Blair Couch ’78, an ordained pastor and bishop in the Moravian Church, who serves as a teaching associate for Moravian Theological Seminary.
Members of his family tree are the Rev. Paul de Schweinitz, men’s college Class of 1884, and a president of the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America, and The Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz, who served as president of Moravian College and Theological Seminary from 1867 to 1885. In all, more than a dozen members of Couch’s family have attended Moravian.
During his life, Couch treasured his Moravian roots. A long-time benefactor, he established numerous charitable gift annuities throughout the years with appreciated securities. His generosity was motivated by a desire to ensure that Moravian would continue to train future generations of students at both the Theological Seminary and the College.
About Charles Daniel Couch
Charles Daniel Couch, formerly of Alapocas, Delaware, and a resident of the Methodist Country House, died on December 31, 2006 at the age of 91. Mr. Couch was a 1938 graduate of Lehigh University. After 39 years of service, he retired from the treasury department of the DuPont Company in December 1979. During World War II, he served four and one-half years as an officer in the Army infantry, from 1941 to 1945, three years of which were spent in the South Pacific Islands. He was a member of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Fairfax, Delaware, and also of several other organizations. He enjoyed bowling, golf and bridge. His first wife, Elizabeth Mims Couch, died in January 1960, and his second wife, Nancy Wright Couch, died in April, 1994. Charles Couch was a strong supporter of many organizations, including Lehigh University, Moravian College, Moravian Academy, and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. (Published in The Morning Call, 2007).
About Moravian Theological Seminary
Moravian Theological Seminary is the seminary of the Moravian Church in the United States. The Seminary offers graduate degrees and continuing education programs to prepare men and women for effective leadership and service in congregational, counseling, teaching, and other ministries. The Seminary is rooted in the Moravian faith tradition – centered in Jesus Christ, grounded in Scripture, ecumenical in spirit, committed to community, and focused on missional leadership. For more information visit the Seminary on the Web at: http://www.moravianseminary.edu.