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How she is turning her husband's unexpected death into a way to help Central Virginia students

Posted at 7:24 AM, Jan 27, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Andrea Wassmer remembers her husband fondly.

"Mike was a great husband, great father. He had this big persona at Capital One where he managed a lot of people and had been very successful. But really, he was just a dad, a husband at home. He took off the executive hat the minute he walked through the door," Wassmer said.

On June 16, 2022, Mike Wassmer died unexpectedly in his sleep at just 52 years old.

"It's obviously been hard but I've been extremely lucky to be supported by our community. I have amazing, amazing friends, neighbors, family. Capital One has been incredible," Wassmer said.

Mike was the president of Capital One's credit card division.

"He was kind of the face of Capital One to the community," Wassmer said.

In The Richmond community, Mike, who was a New Jersey native, had deep roots in Richmond from physical fitness to philanthropy.

"I wanted to continue his legacy of commitment to the Richmond community," Wassmer said.

Andrea and the Wassmers' three children, along with the help of family, local non-profits and Capital One created the Wassmer Foundation to honor Mike, who was a first-generation college student and who worked several jobs to pay for school, all while playing football.

Now, the Wassmer family is paying it forward to financially help other college students.

"I knew it should be in the area of education because it was so important to Mike and me," Wasmer said.

Through the foundation, five scholarships worth $30,000 are being offered to high school seniors who live in the City of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Henrico and Hanover.

"The $30,000 would be split over the recipient's four years in college, so $7,500 per year," Wassmer said.

The scholarship applications must show the following

  • A financial need
  • Enrollment in a four-year accredited college or university
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.5

"In designing it, I decided to raise as much money as I can in the beginning and make scholarships as large as I can and really be life-changing for the students," Wassmer said.

Andrea said the $2 million raised will allow the foundation to support 100 Central Virginia students over the next 20 years. It's just one more way of keeping Mike's memory and legacy alive for years to come.

"I think he'll be proud of how we kind of persevered the last seven months, trying to turn something really tragic into something really positive to help others. It's exactly what he would want us to do," Wassmer said.

The foundation is certainly all in the family, as the board members include the Wassmer's three children. Since the youngest child is just 15 years old, she is an honorary board member for the time being.

Those who are interested in applying for the Wassmer College Scholarship canclick here.

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