Acknowledging that Michigan Technological University has been “instrumental in their lives,” a couple with a long history of philanthropy to their alma mater has established the Faculty Fellows in Business at Tech’s School of Business and Economics.
Richard and Joyce Ten Haken were high school sweethearts in east central Wisconsin in the 1960s. The couple came to Michigan Tech to study business, first Richard in 1966 and Joyce a year later. They married in 1968, the summer before Richard’s third year, and lived in Daniell Heights.
Although Joyce came to Tech a year after Richard, she finished her degree in three years, and they graduated together in 1970. Both were accounting majors with bachelor’s degrees in business administration.
To help cope with out-of-state tuition, Richard says he worked on campus. “I worked at the computer center in Fisher Hall. Think six-feet high tape machines and punch cards.” He also was helped out financially by a two-year Air Force ROTC scholarship, which paid dividends beyond tuition. “This led to a career as a military pilot for nine years and then as a captain for a major US airline for 27 years,” Richard says.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
Joyce made the most of her Michigan Tech experience as well. “Professor Sam Tidwell played a critical role in my decision to pursue a career in public accounting. He gave me the encouragement to break the ‘glass ceiling,’” she says.
Despite the limited opportunities available in the male-dominated field of public accounting at the time, she was hired by a CPA firm early in her career and earned her Certified Public Accounting certificate. “In celebration and in observance of a tradition, I sent Professor Tidwell a red tie to wear in class,” Joyce says.
Subsequently, she kept advancing in her career and became a partner at a relatively early age and eventually became a managing partner in the CPA firm of Ten Haken, Hinz and Co., CPAs in Yuba City, California.
Throughout their careers, the Ten Hakens have maintained their relationship with Michigan Tech. The establishment of two Faculty Fellows in Business is the latest example of the culture of philanthropy they have embraced. “Based on our experiences, blessings and beliefs, we wanted to contribute to Michigan Tech where and how we could help, financially and in other ways,” Richard says.
For nearly 20 years the couple has annually funded scholarships for students in the School of Business and Economics. Richard says they wanted to do more.
“This past summer we started talking about other ways to help the SBE. In the fall we traveled to Tech so that Joyce could attend a series of meetings for the Presidential Council of Alumnae, of which she’s been a charter member for 20 years,” Richard explains.
During that visit, Richard Ten Haken met with Dean Johnson, who at the time was the interim dean of the SBE. Johnson has since been appointed dean. Richard says he learned from Johnson the need for faculty support in the School. As a result of those discussions, the Ten Hakens established two Faculty Fellow positions, one specifically for accounting and another that can be awarded to accounting or non-accounting faculty.
"This past summer we started talking about other ways to help the SBE."
Johnson says the initial Faculty Fellows are accounting faculty members Dan Eshleman and Peng Guo. The Faculty Fellows will assist the SBE to retain faculty and produce quality research streams. “The Ten Hakens’ support will enable the Faculty Fellows to acquire the databases required to conduct research in the accounting, finance and management areas,” Johnson explains. “These Faculty Fellows will also recognize the experiential student engagement by faculty members within the accounting and business disciplines.”
Johnson says, as witnessed in the School’s strategic goals, SBE has developed a strong reputation for providing experiential education.
Accounting Faculty Fellows
Eshleman, who came to Michigan Tech in 2015, says the Faculty Fellow position is important to SBE. “This fellowship will be very helpful for the accounting unit.”
Guo explains how the Faculty Fellow in Accounting is important to her work. “This fellowship will support the acquisition of an accounting database, which will allow me to perform my research.”
The Ten Hakens are members of Michigan Tech’s McNair Society. A major portion of their estate plan endows student scholarships and Faculty Fellows. They encourage others to consider including the University in their estate planning.
Richard Ten Haken says, “We are very happy we are able to support the students and faculty as we have done. We believe faith, family and education are the pillars forming the foundation for a fulfilling life. Don’t ignore or waste them. We look forward to additional opportunities to help the SBE as they may arise.”
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.