The great American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said, “No man can become rich without himself enriching others.” But what EXACTLY prompts a person to generously support a cause? Is it a “pay it forward” mentality? Or, is it an inclination to “pay it back” upon receiving the good deed of another? Actually, it is a little bit of both. We asked these questions of two Marquis Society donors whose graduation years may be nearly 50 years apart yet their reasons for being philanthropic are very much in sync.
Trustee emeritus Roger B. Hansen ’65, explains that Lafayette was always part of his DNA. Since his mother was born in Easton, Hansen spent many years visiting the area before attending Lafayette. As an industrial engineering major, Hansen followed in his father’s footsteps who also graduated from the College in 1933.
“My father was always very philanthropic,” explains Hansen. “I think you learn from your parents. He supported many causes that he felt were important, especially scholarships. He felt, as we have always felt, that we are better off supporting students who cannot afford the type of education that Lafayette delivers.”
In addition to Lafayette, a philanthropic priority of the Hansen family is connected to their family foundation—the Hansen Foundation, which supports recovery and sober living for individuals overcoming heroin addiction. This cause falls close to home for Hansen as his daughter, Jennifer, is a former heroin addict. After eight rehabilitation attempts, Jennifer finally recovered. She was successful after residing for two years in a clean and sober environment in California. Upon returning to her home in New Jersey, Jennifer recognized the lack of support services for individuals overcoming drug addiction. She embarked on a mission to give others the tools and opportunities that made her recovery possible. “What Jennifer has achieved is unbelievable,” explains Hansen. “It takes more than a year for an addict to be able to live in a clean and sober environment. What she has created truly works and is phenomenal.”
Since the first Hansen House opened, there are now more than 105 beds available for individuals seeking recovery at New Jersey-based Hansen Houses, Serenity Houses, and a Serenity Estate. “She also opened Hope Farm, which offers employment opportunities, horse therapy, and organic food for clients,” explains Hansen. “The food is delivered to Enlightened Café, an all organic café staffed by clients. The profits support scholarships for clients.”
With such extraordinary efforts invested in a worthy and personal cause like the Hansen Foundation, it is even more remarkable that Roger Hansen found time to give back to his alma mater, both through volunteer efforts as a member of the Board of Trustees and by generously supporting the College for nearly 50 years.
“Giving is a habit,” explains Hansen. “Get in the habit of giving back. As long as you believe in the cause, make sure you support the initiatives that you are passionate about.”
For young alumna Julissa Muschlitz ’13, the reasons for supporting the College relate back to all that Lafayette afforded her. Born and raised in Easton, Muschlitz never imagined attending Lafayette because it was so close to home. “I visited campus because I was interested in track and cross country,” explains Muschlitz. “I was immediately impressed by everyone I met including my track coach. Within 24 hours I was convinced that this was my new home. I applied early decision and was accepted.”
During her time as an undergraduate, Muschlitz worked in the Office of Alumni Relations, where she was instrumental in collaborating to create the Alumni Relations Council (now the Lafayette Student Alumni Council). This experience sparked the philanthropy bug in Julissa. “It helped me to see firsthand what it is like to be an alumna,” explains Muschlitz. “I noticed that so many alumni were attending events and wanted to give back. I realized that I never wanted to disconnect myself from Lafayette. Just because I graduate does not mean that I am separated from this amazing family.”
Muschlitz graduated with a B.A. degree in math and economics and has worked for the global consulting firm Accenture for the past four years. She credits this employment opportunity to a Lafayette alumna and Accenture employee who forwarded the opportunity to one of her professors, Rose Marie Bukics, the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of Economics. “I applied and got the job,” says Muschlitz. After working for Accenture’s federal consulting practice in Washington, D.C., Muschlitz transitioned to the commercial arm of the business based in New York City.
Over the past year, Julissa has had the opportunity to travel the world, while maintaining her position at Accenture through a program called Remote Year. A separate company not connected to Accenture, Remote Year has built a platform that brings together 50-80 professionals to live and work in a different city around the globe each month. “As long as you can work remotely you are eligible,” explains Muschlitz. “Since January of this year I have been traveling with over 60 people from all over the world with different careers and backgrounds. I pay Remote Year to coordinate where I will live, work, and how I travel there and we just go.” Remote Year has allowed Muschlitz to continue to accelerate in her career yet fulfill her itch for adventure and cultural immersion. By the end of this year, she will have traveled to Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Argentina, Czech Republic, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and many more cities and countries.
“Accenture supports me in doing this. If I didn’t attend Lafayette, I may not have had the opportunity to work for Accenture and participate in Remote Year,” explains Muschlitz. “I wouldn’t have all of these experiences if it weren’t for Lafayette. For me, I feel like I need to return the favor. What I contribute will have an impact on someone else’s future. That is important because Lafayette impacted who I am today.”