Close this search box.

PYSK: Mike Haggas

Director of Development, MU’s Robert J. Trulaske Sr. College of Business

JOB DESCRIPTION: As Director of Development, I work closely with our alumni and constituents to keep them engaged with MU and the Trulaske College of Business.  These relationships are the foundation that allows us to secure financial support and address the needs of our students and the institution.

AGE: 37 YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: Five ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Omaha, Neb. EDUCATION: 1994 B.A. Marketing – Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: President of Stonecrest Neighborhood Association. Member of Columbia Catholic School’s 2010 Committee.

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: I was hired as an admissions representative at Clarke College after graduating in 1994 and was promoted to development officer and then director of development before leaving in 2004 to become director of development at Trulaske.

A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: Greg Jones of Jones & Watkins LLC.  As a ’92 MU alumnus, Greg and his family were integral to our family’s decision to move to Columbia and begin working for MU.  His family and friends embraced us as we settled in Columbia and provided a welcoming and supportive atmosphere.  His entrepreneurial spirit to begin a law firm took great courage and passion, which I admire most. His involvement with local groups keeps him very engaged with the Columbia community. As a former colleague at MU, he was very professional and respected by his peers.

WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: It’s the students. Every day I am fortunate to walk through Cornell Hall and witness the role MU and the Business School has in our students’ lives.  When we are able to establish a new scholarship, provide funding for a program, or share ideas to perpetuate our growth, it always comes down to how it will benefit the students. It’s a tremendous feeling to be a part of change and progress and match our vision with our donors’ intentions.

IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING, I WOULD… be a public address announcer for the Boston Red Sox.  I have done emcee and public address work for the past 12 years and have enjoyed it tremendously. Last year I participated in a national contest, sponsored by Gillette, to be an on-the-field reporter for the World Series. I ended up as the regional champion for the New England market and made it to the final eight in the country. It was a tremendous experience and one that I would love to pursue again someday (after I retire, per my wife’s request.)

BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME AND HOW: Learning MU. My alma mater had 1,100 students and 9,000 alumni. We didn’t have a Greek system or a football team. After spending 14 years of my life in Dubuque, I had to learn a new institution all over again.

A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: Last year we began a program, the ‘Mizzou Tigers on Wall St.’ Given the economic events that unfolded, these 14 students were witnesses to a snapshot of our economic history that will be written about in textbooks. The experience was designed to take our business students to New York for a week-long immersion into what it takes to get to Wall Street and be successful.  The week was filled with meetings with high-level and prominent MU alums at major firms. At the end of the week, we arranged for our students to participate in half-day job shadow opportunities with our alumni. Two of the students from the trip were hired as interns (at Goldman Sachs and Guggenheim Partners). We began new engagements that have resulted in new donors to MU. The event was so successful that we facilitated a similar event in Dallas this past March and are planning to return to New York this fall.

WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: I love what I do.  I believe we are entering a gilded age of philanthropy; particularly in education. Over the next decade, new ideas will be explored to help bring the real world further into the classroom. Conversely, ideas from inside the classroom need to make it to the street.   Philanthropy transforms a good idea into a great one.  Philanthropy will give institutions and individuals the courage to dream bigger dreams.  It will create platforms for great discoveries and prepare a workforce to be successful.  Although many people say, “no,” to our proposals and ideas, it generally means “No. Not now.” 

WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Anything with my kids. Lots of tee-ball and golf these days as the kids are entering a great age and having a lot of fun. I enjoy my friends and a good dinner party. If we’re not hosting them, we are attending them.

FAMILY: My wife, Jen, and I have been married for 12 years.  We have two children, Cecilia, 10, and Sammy, 6. I come from a family of six (five boys and a girl).  My wife comes from a family of six (five girls and a boy). When I first found this out, I told her, “You have to go on a date with me; that’s too much of a coincidence.”  Fortunately, she said yes.

FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: For dinner, CC’s City Broiler; for lunch, Booche’s; for recreation, Daniel Boone Little League Fields and the MKT Trail; for relaxing with friends, our cul-de-sac around the fire pit.

ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: Other than being a dad, this year I won an MU Excellence in Education Award.  It was in recognition for outstanding contributions to student learning.  I was honored to be nominated and selected by our students and faculty to win this award.  It reminded me once again that it’s all about the students.

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I: Just started playing the guitar and that I was born in Okinawa, Japan, while my dad was in the service.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don’t miss the most interesting places to go, events to attend, restaurants to try, and ideas for living the best COMO lifestyle.

Popular Stories
Steve Moeller of Lone Cottonwood Farms at his spot at the Columbia Farmers marker. Photo courtesy of Columbia Farmers Market