The Geisler family was forever altered by their years spent living and working in Bangkok, Thailand. They've since cultivated a mission to share the benefits of global exploration with others. The Minnesota family supports scholarships that put global experiences within reach for Carlson School students who might otherwise lack the resources to study abroad.
"Our family lived, worked, and went to school in Bangkok for three years. That experience shaped our family. We met people from all over the world and embraced the Thai culture. We learned how important it is to see the world from a new viewpoint," says Jean Geisler.
Corporate Vice President and CIO of Cargill John Geisler ('78, BSB) and wife Jean never studied abroad -- international experiences were too expensive for the two undergraduate students. But the couple sees the benefits of global immersion for personal development in their three daughters, who lived in Bangkok as young children. Today, they "carry their passports in their purses," and integrate themselves seamlessly into unfamiliar environments.
"To this day, I never hesitate to say living and working in Thailand was the most rewarding, exciting, and fulfilling career assignment I've ever had," says John.
International exposure accelerates knowledge
As part of his role at Cargill, one of the world's largest producers and marketers of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services, John is concerned with shaping globally-minded college grads. He says students who glimpse how business is done in countries unlike the United States will hone a new understanding of theories and lessons they obtain in the classroom.
"We chose to support study abroad because we can provide financial support that a lot of students need, and it has a purpose. The purpose here happens to fit what we believe is important -- for students of all kinds to get a sense of just how small the world is," says John.
Funding scholarships with impact
The Geisler family's gifts enable several students to study abroad each year. As evidenced by letters from scholarship recipients, these experiences have a lasting impact for students.
"We love getting notes from the students our gift supports: they tell us how their trip went and which countries they visited. It's a great thing to support because we get to hear firsthand from students how meaningful it was," says John.