A Wonderful Life

jeff-guascoJeff Guasco had a wonderful life, full of family, friends, travels, art, and success. A hard worker, he excelled in his career in international investing and marketing, firmly believing that cultural understanding and dialogue create not only business success but also make the world a smaller more peaceful planet.

In the fall of 2001, Jeff placed a call to Eric Hauber at that time was Dean of Enrollment Services at Soka University of America, after reading an article about the Soka University of America Student Scholarship Endowment Fund. The call enabled Eric and Jeff, who had known each other in New York, to renew their friendship, now, as fellow Californians. Jeff explained that he would like leave his entire estate to the SUA Student Scholarship Endowment. Jeff's bequest was set up as a scholarship "endowment," which means only the interest earned will be used to fund scholarships in Jeff's name in perpetuity.

On a subsequent visit to the campus, Jeff was accompanied by his friend, Ulli Neumann, from Germany, who was so impressed with the campus and students that he volunteered to recruit more students from Germany to SUA. Jeff and Ulli met with two students who were studying international marketing - one from the U.S. and the other from Africa. One student planned to be the organizer of international events promoting violence prevention and conflict resolution. He planned to benefit the citizens of the communities where his events take place, rather than to exploit them, as sometimes happens. The other student hoped to take his economics training, invest to grow his wealth, return home, infuse capital into the economy and elevate the standard of living for his country.

Jeff's thoughtful planning will allow dreams such as these to come to fruition. It is important to note that Jeff managed melanoma for some years, and took the time and energy from his busy personal and business life to work with an estate planning attorney and to notify SUA of his plans.

Jeff, a humble man, did not want his story told, until we convinced him that his story might illustrate to others the importance of notifying their designated charity (in this case, SUA) of their plans. Such donor notification allows the university to plan scholarship funds for incoming students and provides the opportunity for the university and students to honor and personally thank these donors.