People Helping People
Janssen's make lasting impact on Southeast students
Marjory Janssen summed up the reason her and her husband support Southeast in one simple phrase: "We've always felt that helping other people is an important part of life." While their support comes in different ways, and is directed to completely different areas, they share the common vision of making a difference in people's lives.
John and Marjory Janssen have lived and worked in Cape Girardeau, Mo., for many years, although neither of them ever attended Southeast Missouri State University. However, both had developed strong ties with the University through family activities and business connections. When they married in 1997, they brought together a shared devotion for Southeast.
Marjory worked for more than 30 years at Sears, Roebuck and Co., in Cape Girardeau. With strong ties to the community, her two daughters, son and three granddaughters all decided to attend Southeast. While her son Mark was intent on going to college, he decided to take a break after high school before entering Southeast.
"Mark was determined to go to school. He was so intent on getting an education...and he realized to get any further he needed a college degree," said Marjory.
His determination and interest in mechanics and electronics resulted in Mark's enrollment into Southeast's pre-engineering program in January 1980. Mark would only attend Southeast for a short time. In April, he was diagnosed with a virus in his heart. Mark passed away just a few months later.
The family wanted to ensure that Mark was memorialized not for his tragic story, but for his desire to better himself and his future.
"We just felt it was an opportunity to give something back to the University," said Marjory. "Going to college was something that he really wanted to do and maybe this would give someone an opportunity that he didn't have."
Many memorials were given in Mark's memory, including a donation from his sister's sorority chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. A dance was held and the proceeds were donated to the scholarship fund. With that and the other memorials, the Richard Mark Dunlap Scholarship was established.
With the scholarship established, Marjory would have to look at other sources to obtain the remaining portion of funds required to endow the scholarship. Without having the money readily available, Marjory turned to an insurance policy she held, naming the Southeast Missouri University Foundation as the beneficiary. When this policy comes to fruition, the scholarship will become endowed.
"This policy gave me that opportunity that I probably couldn't have done otherwise," said Marjory. "This is a chance to continue with Mark's scholarship in remembrance to him."
John Janssen's story is much different than that of his wife Marjory. John is originally from St. Louis. After graduating from Washington University, he was employed by a St. Louis County CPA firm. Upon becoming a partner in the firm, he was transferred in 1966 to their office in Cape Girardeau. He retired as a partner in 1998.
Throughout his career, John became increasingly involved and supportive of the Cape Girardeau community. He particularly came to appreciate Southeast.
"The University is so important because of all the economic advantages to the city and the personal advantages," said John. "We like to go to all the plays and musical events. I'm a firm believer that the University has done great things to improve living here."
John's enthusiasm about the impact of the University is really shown through his support of Southeast Public Radio (SEPR).
"Having public radio in our community is a drawing card for Cape, just as all the University programs are," said John. "I think SEPR is a strong thing in getting people to move to the area."
Southeast Public Radio is made up of two stations: KRCU in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and KSEF in Farmington, Mo. John served on KRCU's Community Advisory Board for eight years and has been a member of the Southeast Public Radio Circle for approximately nine years. John has also decided to include SEPR in his estate plan, which makes him a part of SEPR's newly formed Legacy Circle.
"We are just beginning our Legacy Circle to honor all who include Southeast Public Radio in their estate planning at any level," said Amanda Lincoln, director of development for Southeast Public Radio. "John Janssen is one of our charter members since he previously named SEPR as a beneficiary in his estate plan. John and Marjory have been Circle members and volunteers at SEPR for many years, and this bequest adds another wonderful dimension to their commitment to SEPR!"
John and Marjory Janssen have committed themselves to bettering Southeast and their community as a whole. With the establishment of two charitable gifts through their estate plans, their impact on Southeast Missouri State University will surely be felt for years to come.
"We owe it back to the University for what they have done for us and for the community in which we live," said Marjory. "I worked at Sears for over 30 years and I worked with a lot of college students. I saw the struggles that some of those people had coming into work, working long hours and then going home to study. I just thought maybe there might be a student that didn't have to work as many hours if they had some financial help."