Alumna: ‘I Wanted to Pay it Back, and Pay it Forward’

Abigail Kiefer’s link to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay began as a toddler. While both of her parents were students, she attended the campus daycare. When she was 5, Kiefer’s family moved to Madison, but she didn’t forget about UW-Green Bay.

As she finished high school, an interest in urban planning drew her back to the Green Bay campus. “I knew they had a great urban planning program,” says Kiefer, who quickly became involved in student government where she crossed paths with Kurt Kober.

A few years older, Kober, a graduate of Sheboygan South High School, came to UW-Green Bay to study business. He became active in student government, eventually serving as president of the Student Government Association for two years in a row.

The two married in 2007 and both went on to successful careers — Kiefer works at Airbnb as its policy and product development lead while Kober is the global vice president for commercial strategy and planning at The Honest Company. The couple never forgot their years at UW-Green Bay, and those good memories and excellent preparation for their careers were the motivation to support the campuswide Ignite the Future campaign. The $20 million campaign focuses on four key areas: student support, emerging academies, creativity and the arts and athletics and recreation.

“UW-Green Bay is part of my origin story. Everything I’ve done in my life goes back to it,” says Kiefer, who earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois-Chicago. “The University influenced how I think. I wanted to pay it back and pay it forward.”

Kober agrees, adding that both of them are quintessential products of Wisconsin.

Abby Kiefer and Kurt Kober
Abigail Kiefer (’03 Urban & Regional Studies and Environmental Policy & Planning) and Kurt Kober (’01 Business Administration) remember their UW-Green Bay days fondly and want to support future generations.

“We both attended public schools and attended UW-Green Bay,” says Kober, who later earned his Master’s of Business Administration from UW-Madison.

Although their careers keep them in separate cities during the week — Los Angeles for Kober and San Francisco for Kiefer — they get together on weekends. The couple also has a home in Sheboygan.

Kiefer’s parents live in Door County and she aims to get back to campus every 12 to 18 months where she has stayed in touch with some of her instructors and sometimes likes to “take a walk down memory lane.”

She fondly recalls cross-country skiing to her classes and the underground tunnels that connect different buildings. “We used to listen for each other in the tunnels,” Kiefer says.

The couple have had the opportunity to meet Chancellor Michael Alexander and “were impressed with his vision for the university,” Kiefer says.

Founded in 1965, UW-Green Bay also has campuses in Manitowoc, Marinette and Sheboygan.

“When you think about the history of UW-Green Bay, it’s relatively new. Older schools have already built that culture of giving,” Kober says. “It’s an exciting time on campus and an ideal time to build that culture of giving at UW-Green Bay. The chancellor’s vision and growth plans are easy to get excited about.”

One thought on “Alumna: ‘I Wanted to Pay it Back, and Pay it Forward’”

  1. I’m hoping the GB campus will start funding RN programs like the Madison campus is doing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *