Hans E. Tausig '89

Alumni, Veteran and Military



May 1, 2012

Hans E. Tausig '89


Hans E. Tausig served in the U.S. Army, entered the global shipping business, and retired before returning to college to open the door to a second life in arts and letters.

After his 1984 retirement, his college journey—begun decades earlier as a self-described “college tramp”—was resurrected while he attended his daughter’s graduation. “I was sitting in the crowd, thinking to myself, ‘This is ridiculous! My oldest child has her first degree and I don’t,” he says.

“So I enrolled at Adelphi, and then went on to a graduate degree at New York University, and a summer at Oxford. It’s been a personal renaissance, a second life,” he says.

Mr. Tausig, who earned a B.A. in English literature, fondly recalls his years at Adelphi’s University College, when known as ABLE (Adult Baccalaureate Learning Experience). “The ABLE program fulfilled all of my needs,” he says. “There was a real emphasis on learning in all my classes. My teachers were superb, very concerned with each of their students.”

Originally, he selected Adelphi for its proximity. “Adelphi offered me a chance to be part of a strong liberal arts university close to home,” he says.

After the Army, he renewed a boyhood fascination with ocean-going ships by apprenticing with a global steamship brokerage company at age 25.

He says, “I enjoyed knowing that the business I conducted in New York had a direct impact on the lives of people from England to Australia.”

He worked in all areas of the international shipping business, as a cargo broker, an owner’s representative, and an ocean transport executive for a major American corporation before founding Nantucket Navigation, Inc. “We were ocean freight contractors carrying ore and minerals around the world,” he explains. “Back then, shipping was a unique business; your word was your bond. We did millions of dollars of business on a handshake.”

After retiring, he also rekindled his love for music, books, and the arts. A love of chamber music brought him to the Violin Society of America,where he is a past president. His love of literature led him to the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City and the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School, where he is a current board member and a former chairman.

For Mr. Tausig, a devoted violinist and rare book collector, the joy of collecting comes not from acquisition, but from appreciation. “There is great beauty and craft in the way things used to be made,” he says.

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