One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Halle Johnson, Student Public Relations Writer

Nearly 18 years ago, Kary Oberbrunner scribbled “10-23-05 Cedarville?” next to Psalm 75 in his Bible. Now, 12 books, two companies, and one doctoral degree later, this Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author and entrepreneur is serving as the Berry Chair of Entrepreneurship.  

Joining the faculty at Cedarville University is a dream come true for Oberbrunner.  

As the Berry Chair of Entrepreneurship, Oberbrunner can cultivate his passion for ministry and business in a way that will impact the trajectory of students in Cedarville’s Robert W. Plaster School of Business. In this role, he will identify, attract and recruit Christ-centered, competent entrepreneurs-in-residence who will mentor students. In addition, he will teach digital marketing and entrepreneurship courses and lead the Entrepreneur Accelerator program to assist students in bringing their business ideas to life.   Kary Oberbrunner at the Cedarville Christmas party in December, 2022.

Oberbrunner's position is the result of the Berry Family Foundation's endowment of a chair of entrepreneurship, and this position will be supported by their continuing support of the Center for Free Enterprise.

The Berry family supports free enterprise and entrepreneurism and seeks to foster initiatives that improve the quality of life for people in the Dayton area, having contributed more than $100 million to more than 100 local organizations over the past 60 years. 

Since 2004, Oberbrunner has published 12 books, including Christian fiction and nonfiction, self-help, business, technology, and poetry paired with photography. He has reached over one million people with his content through book sales, podcasts, speaking events, and online training. He launched one of his books, “Day Job to Dream Job,” at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, with Hollywood celebrities on the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”  

As a child, Oberbrunner never expected to become a successful author and businessman. As the son of a pastor, he always planned on following in his dad’s footsteps in Christian ministry. After he earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and a Master of Divinity from Grace College and Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, he moved to Powell, Ohio, to become the student pastor and later associate pastor at Grace Powell Church. But in 2012, he felt God’s call to leave full-time ministry and enter the business world.  

“Business was a big mystery to me, and I was incredibly nervous,” said Oberbrunner. “But I knew that I felt called to impact others’ lives, to influence businesses, and to create value for customers. I’m grateful for several key mentors including John Maxwell, Dan Miller, and Dan Sullivan.” 

Oberbrunner started two companies, Igniting Souls, a writing, publishing, and marketing firm, and Blockchain Life, which allowed him to invent a patent-pending, proprietary process for protecting intellectual property through digital assets, smart contracts, and blockchain technology. Together these companies publish, protect and promote intellectual property and turn it into 18 streams of income 

Still, even with the large list of successes, Oberbrunner’s significant accomplishments have come with his share of disappointments. 

“As a young person I struggled with self-hatred and anger at God,” said Oberbrunner. “I worked hard to do everything right, and yet I felt like God allowed a lot of disappointments in my life. I struggled with low self-esteem and stuttering, depression and, ultimately, self-harm beginning when I was 10 years old. I just couldn’t find an outlet for my anger and the many questions I was wrestling with.” 

It wasn’t until college that Oberbrunner met several key college professors who mentored him and encouraged him in his passion for writing, which allowed him to stop self-injuring.  

Post-graduation, Oberbrunner felt he was called to teach. He first heard about Cedarville from his wife, Kelly, a Cedarville alumna. While studying Scripture in October 2005, he decided to apply for a vacant faculty position in the Bible department at Cedarville University. He was so sure of the calling that he wrote down the date (10-23-05) in his Bible so he would be able to look back and see how God provided.  

To his surprise, that door was closed. He didn’t get the position, only a rejection letter from the dean. 

Now, 18 years later, after changing careers, receiving a doctorate in transformational leadership, and gaining international recognition as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Oberbrunner has made an unexpected entrance into the classroom at Cedarville University.  

“I had let go of my dream of teaching,” said Oberbrunner. “But in December (2022), I attended a Christmas party at the International Creativity Center in Dublin, Ohio. There I met Travis Smith, a member of the business advisory board at Cedarville. Upon hearing about my passion for entrepreneurship he told me I needed to pursue a faculty position at the University. I thought he was joking!” 

Within three weeks, Oberbrunner had interviewed and written the curriculum for his Future of Digital Marketing course. By January 31, he was in the classroom teaching Cedarville students as a part-time instructor.   


Oberbrunner’s course centers on technological innovations in the realm of digital marketing, covering topics such as the metaverse, NFTs, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, social media, and much more. He aims to teach by giving practical experience and building connections with professionals in various disciplines.    

“Entrepreneurs are not a small group anymore,” said Oberbrunner. “Today’s marketplace requires everyone to think like an entrepreneur. I believe God uses people on fire for him in every discipline, not just full-time vocational ministry, so it is important to give students the tools to be excellent in every area of study.” 

Despite the unusual career path and 18 years of waiting, Oberbrunner is thankful for the journey that has allowed him to bring his expertise to Cedarville. 

“I am so excited about what God is doing on this campus,” added Oberbrunner. “I believe God is working in young people and is doing incredible things in Cedarville students. I am thankful to be a part of it!” 

Listen to hear Oberbrunner share his story on the Cedarville Stories Podcast.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and high school dual-enrolled students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement rankings. For more information about the University, visit

Share This Article

Interested in Cedarville?

Request Information

Are You Looking for an Expert?

Cedarville University is known throughout the country for its faculty experts who speak into national and international topics. You can find the expert you are seeking by searching our "Media Experts Guide" for detailed profiles and contact information.

Media Experts Guide »