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Spirit of Trinity sweethearts share passions ranging from their alma mater to motorcycles
Carol Mansen ’83, MBA
Dave Mansen ’76, B.S. in Business Administration
by Mary Denny
Bywords for Trinity University alumni Carol ’83 and Dave Mansen ’76 are, “Life is too short to be a spectator. Get involved.” Happily, Trinity has been the recipient of their decades-long passion for engagement.
The two arrived at Trinity seeking different things. Coming from a mega-sized Houston high school, Dave wanted something smaller that offered individual attention. Carol’s very small Dallas high school left her wanting something larger with more options. They both found what they came for... and so much more.
“I met my sweetheart during the first week on campus at the freshman mixer on the Slab,” Dave proudly recalls. They married at the end of their junior year and both graduated in seven semesters. “We now look back and wonder why we were in such a hurry.”
Dave went on to earn his MBA at TCU and began his career in San Antonio with Datapoint, a pioneer in technology that developed the precursor to network processing. He forged a successful 35-year career in marketing and management of small- and medium-sized technology companies.
Carol later returned to Trinity for its MBA program. In one of her first courses with the late professor Darryl Waldron, he noticed that her work on a project had slipped notably. When he called her at home to question her about it, she explained that she was working full time and had conflicts that prevented her from devoting the needed time to her academic work. He replied, “Don’t you know there are scholarships available?” As Carol recalls gratefully, “Those seven words changed my life.” She was awarded a three-quarter scholarship, enabling her to graduate in 1983, debt free. She was also able to take courses in other departments to create her own study program in data analytics with Waldron.
In addition to the many strong friendships and mentors Dave made, he values the “great learning experiences beyond my major that have remained interests over the years. “Trinity created an environment that I’m sure was unique, in flexibly letting me learn broadly in many subjects. Keeping that uniqueness for future students has been the primary driver in my Trinity involvement over the years since 1976.”
Carol, a CPA, enjoyed a 30-year career in finance with a variety of firms ranging from real estate development, telecomm, retail, manufacturing, and consulting. As an adjunct faculty member from 2008–13 in Trinity’s Department of Business Administration, she was director of the internship program and helped more than 100 students with resumes, internships, and career advice. Always ready to serve, she stepped up again in 2016 to serve as interim director of Alumni Relations while a national search was underway to fill the vacancy left after 10 years of service by Mary Kay Cooper.
With their trademark verve and enthusiasm, Carol and Dave became Alumni Ambassadors in 2014 and spent three years crisscrossing the country to meet Tigers and share the University’s plans, programs, and alumni engagement opportunities. Their efforts were motivated by Dave’s philosophy: If your organization relies on volunteers to complete its mission, then you better learn how to manage and reward them.
Throughout their busy and productive careers, this dynamic couple remained active in the Alumni Association, both serving as officers, including president of the Alumni Association Board and several alumni chapters, having lived in Denver and other chapter cities. Additionally, Dave is a long-time mentor and adviser to students in Trinity’s entrepreneurship program and Carol is active in the Trinity University Women’s Club. Having just completed several terms as treasurer and membership chair, she is currently heading a committee to publish a Trinity cookbook to coincide with the University’s 150th anniversary next year. Not surprisingly, the Alumni Association honored the couple jointly with the 2017-18 Spirit of Trinity award earlier this spring.
Now retired, the Mansens show no sign of slowing down. Though their involvement with Trinity hasn’t waned, they undoubtedly welcome more time to pursue their other passions. “We are avid motorcyclists,” Carol says. “Dave has had a motorcycle license for almost 50 years and l have been his co-rider for 45 of them.” Last year, Carol got her own license and motorcycle and is a beginning rider. They usually ride with a group and take several multi-day rides each year. Dave, who learned to ski when his family lived in New York City area for a time, taught Carol to ski before they were married. “It was an interesting bonding experience,” she laughs. They usually hit the slopes in Colorado, where they maintain a condo in Keystone as a year round retreat. Intrepid travelers, they enjoy road trips as well as cruising, and embarked on their 14th voyage in April.
Both remain passionate about volunteerism. They feel that their experiences in that arena reflect the example of volunteerism and philanthropy set by their families and hope that their efforts are an example to others.
You may reach both Mansens at carolmansen [at] gmail.com .