- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
Charitable giving, and encouraging others to give, has always been at the core of Ralph and Diane (Danner) Mueller's lives. Inspired by the acts of their parents and motivated to help the causes that are dear to them, the Muellers `58 `57 have been making a difference since graduating from Lakeland College over 50 years ago.
They got their start in fundraising and volunteering at Lakeland. When Ralph took a job in admissions with the college after graduating, it was the beginning of a 16-year stay that saw them support numerous causes in the area, and create some of their own. The couple lived on Lakeland's Prof Row, and Ralph had jobs leading Lakeland's admissions, public relations, alumni and development off ices before leaving to create a development department at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Michigan in 1974.
Giving your time and money was something my folks and Ralph's folks both did," said Diane, who graduated with a degree in biology. "My mom and grandmother were full-time volunteers, so maybe I'm evidence that volunteering is hereditary."
"It really started here at the college," said Ralph, who retired as the president of the Marshfield Clinic Foundation in 2001. "We really believed in Lakeland and the needs that it had. We were very close to the college - there were some lean years when we were out knocking on doors trying to balance the budget."
The Muellers, who were honored in 1978 at the Homecoming Banquet for their support of the college, currently serve as co-chairs of the fundraising cabinet of Lakeland's Sesquicentennial Campaign. Splitting their time between Marshfield and Arizona, they're busy recruiting fellow alumni to help raise funds for the Sesquicentennial.
They came to Mission House from the Milwaukee area, Ralph through his church connections, and Diane because three cousins had all attended Mission House. They knew each other casually from summer youth camps, and became better acquainted when they shared the stage in several Lakeland dramatic productions and when Ralph would give Diane rides home to Milwaukee.
Ralph credits his Lakeland experience for his impressive career.
"I didn't care much about education when I arrived, but this place turned me on to it," Ralph said. "Lakeland has done everything for me. I wouldn't be where I am today and still enjoying it if not for the college."
The Muellers are gratified when they see the growth of the college, and they're motivated to get others involved in this next important milestone. "We're really looking forward to the Sesquicentennial," Ralph said. "Events like this re-charge us every once in a while. It's an opportunity for all of us who attended here to recognize that this place is for real, and after 150 years going stronger than ever."
The Muellers, who are members of Lakeland's Founder's Society in addition to their annual giving, hope to use the Sesquicentennial as a platform to educate other alumni that the college needs their support.
"Some of us can do average giving every year, some can do above average giving every year, or maybe a one-time big gift," Ralph said. "We need more alumni to understand how important it is to give back to an institution that has given us all so much in terms of learning, career preparation and life-long friendships."