A creative way to give
His parents funded his college education, so you wouldn’t expect Robin Clark Mueller to be so tuned into the financial constraints students face. But the 1978 interpersonal communications grad is so eager to help that he set up a scholarship.
“It’s time to give back,” Mueller explains. “I’ve been blessed.”
Mueller is endowing a scholarship for juniors majoring in communication studies — the first award for that discipline. He and his family members will stay involved in selecting recipients by conducting face-to-face interviews.
Mueller is excited at the prospect of making a major difference in a student’s life. “You never know when a student may be on the fence and an award like this could rein them back in,” he explains.
Mueller was so impressed with candidates when selecting the first recipient this spring that he awarded three scholarships instead of one.
Eventually, the award will fund even more students. Mueller has made the UWL Foundation the beneficiary of a $100,000 life insurance policy. The arrangement provides him a tax benefit while funding the policy. When the policy is cashed in, it will boost the original $25,000 endowment and provide additional annual awards.
This isn’t the first time Mueller has thought about his alma mater. In 2003, he funded a living memorial around Wittich Hall to honor his dad, who traveled from Milwaukee often to see Mueller compete in gymnastics.
Mueller encourages others to think about endowing scholarships by using a life insurance policy or other creative financial planning. “Their smiles on recognition night say it all,” he says. “What are you leaving behind?”
This story appeared in the summer 2017 Lantern alumni magazine. Read the issue.