Marcia Mueller and friends: Gather annually to honor ‘paying it forward’

Distance is no deterrent for Marcia Mueller when it comes time to return for the annual Named Scholarship Reception at UW-Green Bay.

“I’m living in Seattle now,” she says, “but I come back for this event every fall to be with this great group of young people and see how they’re continuing my brother’s legacy.”

Her brother, Craig Mueller, passed away in 2007 after pledging to endow scholarships for students in communication, the arts and design. His $1 million gift remains the largest ever by a UW-Green Bay alumnus and generates nearly $50,000 annually to be divided among dozens of recipients.

Craig started college at the old two-year UW Center in Green Bay. By necessity, he took a roundabout path to earning his bachelor’s in 1971 as a member of the new University’s second graduating class.

“It took him ten years to graduate,” Mueller recalls, “because he always had to stop to work to pay tuition. It became his goal to have scholarships for kids so they don’t have to work as many jobs as he did, so they can concentrate on their studies and get done faster.”

She says that among all his achievements — her adventurous brother was an America’s Cup racer and a commercial airline pilot based in San Diego — he was particularly proud of his UW-Green Bay degree and his philanthropy on the institution’s behalf.

“I like meeting with the students because this was so important to Craig,” says Marcia (front and center with recipients in October 2012, above). “It’s important they know his story, that someone just like them chose to ‘pay it forward.’ I hope that when they have the chance, when they’re successful, they’ll return the favor.”

Marcia, a professional photographer, has also given generously to the University, most recently to create a Visiting Artists Lecture Series organized by the Art Agency student organization.