Investing in Our Future

Funding Opportunity

Haas couple makes planned gift to help students graduate with less debt

INVEST_QnA-Huhns-0M2A4483

Jim Huhn, BS 52, and Betty Riley Huhn, BS 50

From undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to faculty chairs and research, planned giving supports a range of Haas activities that benefits new generations of business leaders.

Jim Huhn, BS 52, and Betty Riley Huhn, BS 50, of Carmichael, California, are honoring their time at Berkeley Haas by committing a $2 million planned gift to endow undergraduate scholarships. Funds will also support a faculty chair in personal finance. After graduating from Berkeley, Jim served in the Navy, then built a career as a certified public accountant, eventually founding an accountancy partnership. Betty was a claims adjuster for Liberty Mutual Insurance and New York Life. Prior to that she worked in Japan for two years for Army special services, the entertainment branch of the U.S. military.

BerkeleyHaas spoke with the couple about their generous donation.

Why are you making a planned gift to Haas?

Jim: We believe in education, and we are extremely proud to be graduates of Haas and the University of California. That helped us in our careers. I think how fortunate I was to be able to go to the university, and I believe in helping others. As graduates of the University of California, we had a certain element of prestige. That opened doors.

Betty: It’s giving back. Everybody should have an opportunity to go to college, and some of the financial aid requirements are so high for lower-middle-class students. It’s become impossible for them to work and go to school.

What do you hope your gift will accomplish?

Jim: I primarily supported myself through scholarships, working, and saving money, so I graduated from college without debt. I recognize that this is typically not possible today, and I want to help students have the same opportunity to get a Haas education without incurring a large debt. We hope that they in turn can provide the same opportunities to others.

Betty: The fact that I was a woman who graduated in 1950 and that I had a business degree from Haas was instrumental in helping me acquire jobs, and it also was critical to my success. I want the same for others.

You’ve expressed admiration for Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. How have those principles resonated with you?

Betty: They’re extremely critical, especially after this election year. Are we as good as we possibly can be? It’s important to go forth with your ideas with confidence and with an attitude that you’re going to succeed. And I truly believe that we should always be learning, whether it helps us in business, socially, or just for ourselves.

What advice would you give the next generation of business leaders?

Jim: Act with integrity and pride.

Betty: I would tell them to go forth with their ideas and to pursue their dreams with confidence.

—Interview with Andrew Faught

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