Jeff van Raaphorst '87 B.S., '97 M.B.A.

In which groups or activities were you most involved in at ASU? What did you gain from that involvement?
I was active primarily in athletics, especially the football team, so the majority of my friends were team members.

I did enjoy interacting with the other athletes, and I found the swimmers to be a very interesting bunch, especially the international ones.  Being around a wide variety of different personalities helped me become more flexible in how I interacted with others.

How did your education at ASU prepare you for your current job or business?
When I define education, I would include the academic instruction, the human interaction and the challenges that I faced both in the classroom and on the playing field.  I have found similar challenges in the business world, and the behaviors that I learned at ASU helped me have a strategy for success. 

My undergraduate experience was in sharp contrast to my graduate course load.  My second stint at ASU was much more enjoyable because I was able to bring my work experiences to the classroom.

What personal qualities do you think were most strongly developed in you during your years as a Sun Devil?
The personal qualities that were most developed during my time at Arizona State were my preparation skills and desire.  When I first came to ASU, I was not cognizant of what it would take to be successful both in the classroom and on the field.  I had a number of individuals who worked with me to teach me how to be successful. 

My desire was influenced by two factors, my desire to not let my teammates down and my internal desire to win.  I learned from individuals like Stein Koss that when you think that you are working hard, that there are others who are working harder.  The example of friends and coaches who put in so many hours to help in our success cannot be overstated.

Tell us about your current involvement in ASU athletics and the ASU Alumni Association.
I have just recently joined the board of directors for the Alumni Association.  I was interested in joining the board to be part of the excellent team that Dr. Wilkinson has created.  I have seen Dr. Wilkinson's dedication to the university over the last twenty years and I wanted to be involved. 

There are many challenges facing the university and Dr. Crow is addressing those.  I was interested in finding ways to get the alumni re-engaged so that the full leverage of the Sun Devil nation can be improved.  There are so many alumni, and we can make things better for everyone involved if we will all just do a little something.

How does a strong athletics program benefit other areas of the university?
 It is imperative that Arizona State is successful both in the classroom and on the field.  There are so many benefits to a strong athletic department that enhance not only the college experience but energize the alumni base for decades. 

The name recognition and exposure a university receives from athletics can help increase the recruitment of the brightest students, help energize the support given by the alumni base and enhance the university's reputation and stature in the community. We need to develop graduates who support all the programs and initiatives of the university.

What is your favorite ASU memory?
I have many memories from my time at ASU, but the first one that stands out is the feeling of accomplishment that our Rose Bowl team felt that January evening in Pasadena in 1987. The commitment we made to our teammates and coaches was rewarded with our victory over the Michigan Wolverines. 

A second memory came a few months later when my condominium burned and I lost everything that I owned.  In some ways that is so symbolic of life: God has promised us trials, and we are defined by not only how we handle success but also by how we handle failure.  I learned a lot of lessons that year, and just two months after the fire I met my wonderful wife.

There is one thing that we all have in common as we face life's challenges – we are all Sun Devils.

Year of graduation: 
1987