Campus Currents

Returning the Honor

This journey truly did begin with a single step.

It seemed that everyone wanted Arnold "Arnie" Hanson '48 to become an engineer. In 1947, back from World War II to enroll again at UNH, Hanson stood in line to register for classes and chatted about his studies with a friend, a liberal arts major. The friend suggested that Hanson go see Norman Alexander, UNH's dean of men. He stepped out of line and set off to see Alexander. Within two days, he was a government major.

Hanson went on to a successful 50-year career as an attorney in his hometown of Berlin, N.H. He served his community as a county attorney and also participated in politics on a national level. Active in the state bar association and community organizations, Hanson has been honored by UNH and Boston University. He owes it all, he says, to Alexander, a professor of government at UNH from 1929 to 1948, who helped him to follow his dream. The impact of the special attention he received from Alexander was the inspiration for the first UNH endowment established by Hanson and his wife, Della, the Dr. Norman Alexander Teaching Excellence Fund.

In 2003, reflecting on how much the people of the North Country have meant to them, the Hansons created the Arnold P. and Della A. Hanson Endowed Scholarship Fund to cover the full cost of attendance for students from Coos County, N.H. "I just wanted a kid in the North Country who has the desire to go to college to know there is this opportunity that can help achieve the goals he or she has set," Hanson says. Five students at UNH currently benefit from the Hanson scholarship.

And last fall, to honor the Hansons, the UNH Foundation awarded them the 2004 Hubbard Family Award for Service to Philanthropy. "The impact of these gifts on the students enrolled at the university is immeasurable," says Young Dawkins, president of the UNH Foundation.

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