Trustee SungEun Han-Andersen
Member: Campaign Executive Committee, and International Advisory Board
Co-chair: Campaign Kickoff
Campaign volunteer SungEun Han-Andersen (CFA’85) has lived in many worlds, both geographically and professionally.
She grew up in Seoul, South Korea, where—as a child piano prodigy—she attended music schools. She moved with her family to the New York area in 1979, when she was a junior in high school, to attend the Julliard School’s pre-college program. After spending a summer at BU’s Tanglewood Institute, she decided to enroll at BU’s College of Fine Arts. “I loved the Boston area,” she recalls. “When I was young, I saw the movie Love Story. I had pretty romantic ideas about Boston!”
Originally a composition major, Han-Andersen surprised everyone—including herself—by winning a piano competition as a freshman. She became a performance major, spending many hours in CFA’s basement practice rooms. “Half my waking hours,” she recalls. “I was very disciplined, but those practice rooms were terrible.”
A balanced life
After graduating from BU, Han-Andersen enrolled in a doctoral program at the Manhattan School of Music. Gradually, though, she began worrying that her life was too narrow. First taking a research job with Price Waterhouse in London—and not telling her parents for two years that she had stepped off the performance track—she discovered the world of management consulting. “It was a freeing experience,” she says of that momentous change. “I got to have a more balanced life.”
That trend continued after she married investment banker G. Chris Andersen, who encouraged her to give up her five-day-a-week consultant’s travel schedule to manage a new family foundation. Two of the foundation’s major gifts harked back to an earlier phase of Han-Andersen’s life: grants to both the College of Fine Arts and the Manhattan School of Music to build state-of-the-art practice rooms for their students.
“So many BU alumni are grateful for the education they received there, and so many want to be reconnected with the University.” —SungEun Han-Andersen
Han-Andersen has also given freely of her time to Boston University. Elected a trustee of the University in 2007, she sits on BU’s International Advisory Board (IAB) and has helped launch The Campaign for Boston University both in Boston and at the recent Dubai international kickoff. “Dubai was an amazing experience,” she says, “especially the IAB sessions. How often do you get to meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, get driven around in a sensor-driven car without a driver, and then have dinner out in the desert under the stars?”
Han-Andersen officially retired from the concert circuit last year, giving her more time to devote to new artistic pursuits and to the family’s 250-acre farm dedicated to training and boarding horses. “That also closes a circle for me,” she explains. “My BU piano teacher, Maria Clodes Jaguaribe, had a horse at her home. She would take me home before recitals and let me groom the horse, which I found very relaxing. I started to ride in London, and I’ve been working with horses ever since. I love them.”
Person by person
Is she surprised at the success of BU’s campaign to date? “No,” she says. “Not at all. So many BU alumni are grateful for the education they received there, and so many want to be reconnected with the University. That’s how we will succeed: person by person.”