UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Raquel Hansen made her first $15 donation to UW-River Falls in 1994, the same year that she graduated a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a minor in Ag Business. She's barely missed a year since, gradually increasing her gifts. Like many UWRF students, Hansen grew up on a farm and came to college seeking independence and personal growth. She's decided to help others have that same opportunity.
Hansen chose UWRF after a campus visit "where everyone was friendly and welcoming." Hansen said her education was rewarding, as much under the disciplined skill of professors like 1989 Distinguished Teacher, Dr. Lewis May (Ag Econ), as on the intramural softball field and broomball rink.
"My years at River Falls taught me a lot about responsibility, independence and accountability," she said. "It reminded me to set my goals high, work towards them, but yet have fun and enjoy what you do in life."
These are lessons that she hopes to share with today's students through her donations.
"I give to the UW-River Falls Foundation knowing that it allows other people to enjoy their experience at UWRF."
Early in her career, Hansen worked as commercial underwriter, a lead computer programmer and sales and marketing professional. Eventually she earned an MBA at St. Thomas University. Her true passion, however, has always been agriculture. Hansen is now vice president of North American Ingredients and Sunflower Products Sales and Marketing at SunOpta in Owatonna, Minn. SunOpta is a healthful products company specializing in organic and identity-preserved corn, soybeans and sunflowers.
"I enjoy the diversity that my position brings me along with the flexibility, responsibility, and commitment to sustainability and agriculture."
When she's not working, Hansen lends her hand to the family farm, where they grow corn, soybeans and 4-H livestock. She also has a family, including a daughter who is studying nursing and a son who's considering attending UWRF. Hansen doesn't hesitate to tell him it's a "wonderful university."
Hansen has donated to agricultural scholarship funds, the College of Business and Economics Fund for Excellence and the Falcon Annual Fund.
"It is not about the money or the recognition," she said. "It is about the gift you give someone, so they can experience their education in a way they otherwise couldn't without your help."