Just before this school year began, I (Rev. Emily Tveite) was blessed to gather with a small group of self-proclaimed “Old Campus Ministry Geezers” here in Madison the day before the memorial service for the Rev. Tom Loftus. I got to know Tom just a little bit over the past few years, chatting with him about campus ministry over coffee in the narthex of St. John’s Lutheran, where he served as pastor in the 60s and 70s and where he became a member after he retired from ministry in 1997.
During his life, Tom advocated for campus ministry in many ways, first serving on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Campus Ministry in Madison while serving at St. John’s, and later by taking on the role of Regional Director for Campus Ministry for Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. While in that position, Tom would travel to the many campus ministry sites, offering encouragement and oversight, caring for campus ministry leaders, and sharing the story of campus ministry’s impact with donors and churchwide staff. Eventually, Tom would go on to serve as a member of the National Lutheran Campus Ministry staff, advocating for campus ministry at the national offices of the ELCA and it’s predecessor bodies.
Tom continued to support Lutheran Campus Ministry in Madison throughout his life with financial gifts, encouragement for campus pastors, and by participating in campus ministry alumni and congregation events. When Tom died in 2020, he gave a part of his estate to Lutheran Campus Ministry in Madison and another bequest for Lutheran Campus Ministry at the national level. Tom’s gift will continue his support for campus ministry in perpetuity. For generations to come, Tom’s lifelong work of reaching college students with Christ’s grace will live on. I am grateful for Tom’s life, and for his legacy. Well done, good and faithful servant.