Raquel Hansen ('94) made her first $15 donation to UW-River Falls the same year that she graduated with her B.S. in Business Administration and minor in Ag Business. She's barely missed a year since, gradually increasing her gifts as possible. Like many UW-River Falls students, Raquel grew up on a farm and came to college seeking independence and personal growth. Her experience here did not disappoint and she's decided to help others relish that same opportunity.
Raquel chose UW-River Falls after a campus visit "where everyone was friendly and welcoming" in a small community with strong agricultural ties. Raquel's 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. 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 by giving back. "I give to the UW-River Falls Foundation knowing that it allows other people to enjoy their experience at UWRF."
Raquel's career moved through the business sector (commercial underwriter; lead computer programmer; sales and marketing) eventually taking her to an MBA at St. Thomas University. Her true motivation, however, has been her passion for agriculture. Raquel is now VP of North American Ingredients and Sunflower Products Sales and Marketing at SunOpta in Owatonna, MN, a healthy products company specializing in organic and identity preserved corn, soybeans, and sunflower. "I enjoy the diversity that my position brings me along with the flexibility, responsibility, and commitment to sustainability and agriculture." When not working, Raquel helps out on the family farm raising corn, soybeans, and 4-H livestock. She also has a family, a daughter studying nursing and a son who's considering attending UW-River Falls. Raquel doesn't hesitate to tell him it's a "wonderful university".
Raquel has donated to agricultural scholarship funds, the College of Business and Economics Fund for Excellence and the Fund for UW-River Falls. "It is not about the money or the recognition. It is about the gift you give someone, so they can experience their education in a way they otherwise couldn't without your help."
If you were to ask Raquel whether or not you should give back, she would be happy to tell you: "It is worth it! A person is enhancing the lives of our youth with every donation."