By Donna Parker
You know Eric Hansum ’97 is a loyal alumnus because right after he reveals what he does for a living (labor and employment lawyer at Thompson Coe), he launches into his leadership role in the Austin Alumni Chapter of the Trinity University Alumni Association.
“As president, I meet many alumni from various backgrounds and maintain contact with all different people, making for closer post-graduate connections,” says Eric, who adds, “Life is difficult. Your choices really do control your destiny and have a lasting impact on you and others around you.”
He adds that selecting Trinity was one of his best choices and provided him with positive relationships and role models.
“In fact, Tucker Gibson in the department of political science recently spoke to our group on past gubernatorial elections at the State Capitol. We try to keep our alumni events as varied as possible to attract a broader cross-section. You can’t just do one type of event or target just one group and meet with any success.”
So far, Eric has helped host a summer sendoff event for first year students at Deep Eddy, a popular Austin swimming hole for the younger crowd. In addition, this year, Eric will spearhead the first wine-tasting event – a variation on the traditional happy hour.
“I’m passionate about Trinity and remain involved because the school taught me that if you really wanted to get better, you really could. The emphasis was to learn in as many areas as you could and you were encouraged to dream. Professors such as Frank Harrison in the department of speech and drama really cared. If you did badly, he’d tell you not to worry. He cared about how you developed as a person and wasn’t just concerned about the academics.”
Eric is also passionate about his new marriage (September 2006) to wife Suzanne.
“We’re really having fun hiking and playing with our two dogs, Dixie and Bauer,” he says, adding enthusiastically, “We also took the antique piano out of storage, so that I can start lessons. My roommate at Trinity was a great pianist and I’ve always wanted to learn to play.”
In his spare time, Eric serves his community as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, delivering lunches to the elderly.
“It’s great because these people are very appreciative that you took the time to bring their meals. The smiles on their faces make it all worthwhile. I think life is all about improving yourself and assisting those around you every single day. If you are determined enough, nine times out of ten, you’ll achieve.”