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The generosity of John M ’90 and Karen Stolz is helping ensure that student-veterans finish their degrees and succeed in the workplace, through scholarship support and his personal job counseling. The couple have also established a major estate gift that will benefit the School of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

As a former senior vice president with experience in human resources, operations and career management and transition, Stolz is well qualified to offer coaching and résumé reviews. And he can relate to the perspective of a military veteran because he served six years in the U.S. Navy. 

“Student-veterans need to understand that what they did in the military will enhance any business they work for,” he explains. “They have had more responsibility and experience than other applicants. They need to let the potential employer know they will help make the organization better.” 

In May at the annual Hail & Farewell Banquet, Stolz personally gave each graduating veteran a challenge coin, which is a military tradition. “These are inscribed with three words: honor, commitment and courage. If one lives by these words across their career they cannot help but be successful.”

Scholarship recipient Maria Kornfeind ‘16 and Stolz attended the Hail and Farewell Banquet

Maria Kornfeind ’16 is the first student-veteran to receive assistance from the newly established John and Karen Stolz Veteran Scholarship Fund. “My G.I. bill expired,” says Kornfeind, an accounting: corporate major who has been hired in the tax department of RSM US (formerly McGladrey) in Schaumburg, IL. “This helped me make up the difference.” 


Stolz was working at SAFECO Insurance Co. and living in Wheaton in the late 1980s when “it became apparent that I needed an advanced degree for senior management roles,” he explains. “My M.B.A. from North Central positioned me to achieve my vice presidency in human resources for Commercial Union Insurance Company and later, a senior vice presidency in operations for Lee Hecht Harrison.”

John and Karen, who also pursued a multinational executive career, eventually retired and returned to Denver, now their home. They reconnected with North Central when attending an alumni event in 2015. “We began a dialog with Brandon Hoeft ’02/M ’06 (director of planned giving) and about how we might best help North Central and its student population.”