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Kenneth Plummer, Sr., One of AU’s Most Successful Advocates, Dies at 89

Mr. Kenneth Plummer, Sr., a founding member of the Africa University Advisory Development Committee and former Central Pennsylvania lay leader, passed away on November 28th in his hometown of Chambersburg, PA. Kenneth Plummer Senior head shot    

In 2011, Mr. Plummer and his wife, Mrs. June Orndorf Plummer, made public a secret that they’d kept for almost a decade. They revealed the source and story behind a $10.2 million gift to Africa University, the largest in the institution’s 20-year history.

Robert and Jean Curtis, the couple who made the gift, were close friends of the Plummers and had requested anonymity until their deaths.

“Ken Plummer was a good friend and he and his wife, June, were a real team,” said James H. Salley, the university’s chief development officer. “Once he’d completed work on the chapel at Camp David, Ken put Africa University at the forefront of his life until his death and in so doing he has left a living legacy.”

In 1991, Mr. Plummer was brought into the effort to raise funds to get Africa University off the ground by Bishop James Mathews. He and his wife talked about the institution and its vision with many people, including their friends, Robert and Jean Curtis. Robert Curtis, a political science professor at Wilson College in Chambersburg, had many Africans among his students. Moved by the stories, their desire to help Africa University grew and in 1992, the Curtises made their first gift, albeit anonymously.

Kenneth and June PlummerThe Plummers kept their friends abreast of Africa University’s development and impact. In 2002, they were instrumental in securing a second gift—a farm in Illinois that Mrs. Curtis inherited and gave to Africa University. Although it was initially appraised at $3.7 million, the university did not dispose of the property immediately. The gift was managed and it appreciated in value. When it was sold, proceeds of $10.2 million were added to the Africa University Endowment Fund.

“Ken has shown us what we can do by simply sharing a story and a vision that God put into his heart,” said Mr. Stephen Drachler, an advisory development committee member who represented the university community at Mr. Plummer’s funeral service.

“We know Ken’s story will help inspire others to learn about Africa University and to support it in their prayers and with their gifts,” said Drachler.