Kellie Kohler Ester ’86
Brief bio: Kellie Kohler Esters is the senior director of development for the University of Nebraska Foundation. The vast majority of her career has been spent in higher education, including seven years at Monmouth College and 13 years at Western Illinois University, where she attended graduate school. Esters was planning to become an elementary teacher before being offered an admissions position at Monmouth by former administrator Drew Boster.
Her gift: Esters is a regular donor to the Annual Fund, making unrestricted gifts. “I like waiting for the students to call and having great conversations with them,” she said. Esters did make one restricted to the College when the Huff Athletic Center was being built, and she is also planning to make an estate gift that will involve scholarship assistance for students looking to pursue an elementary education major.
Why she gives: “I was one of seven kids, and the other six went into the military. I was fortunate enough at Monmouth to receive a really nice financial aid package. I am so grateful for the help I received, and it’s given me a very, very strong pay-it-forward mentality. Also, as a development officer, it’s a lot easier to ask, ‘Would you join me in giving?’ It’s important that I give, too.
What Monmouth means to her: “I have an enormous affinity for Monmouth. It was a transformative experience for me. ... What stands out to me is not as much the classroom, but my experiences outside of it. I was in Pi Beta Phi, and I was a cheerleader. I had experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to have at a larger school. I also made wonderful friends, even with the faculty.”