Peru, Nebraska - As the spring semester closed, Dr. Dan Hanson and Elaine Hanson were recognized for their years of service to Peru State College. Dan Hanson, President of Peru State College, announced their intention to retire in the fall of 2020 with their last day on June 30.

President Hanson was previously recognized this spring by the Nebraska Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) with the Distinguished Citizen Medal. The DAR Distinguished Citizen Medal recognizes individuals who fulfill the qualities of honor, service, courage, leadership, and patriotism. 

A Walk Home

At lunch time, students, faculty and staff lined the sidewalks from Dan Hanson's office to the President's House. The gathered crowd took a moment from their last week of classes to recognize and appreciate Hanson as he walked home from lunch.

The Campus Activities Board event, a surprise for Hanson, drew almost 200 people. The gathered campus community members applauded for Hanson as he appeared for his walk home. At the end of his walk, he was greeted on the steps of his home by his wife, Elaine Hanson.

Dr. Dan Hanson walking between a large crowd.

Dr. Dan Hanson during his walk home.

A New Award

Elaine Hanson was recognized by the Peru State College Student Senate with an award named in her honor. Hanson was the first recipient of the eponymous award that will be given in the future to community members and friends of the College that have shown significant commitment to the College and its students.

Student Senate President for the previous year, Jared Koelzer, read at the event, "A new award created to honor members of the Peru State College community beyond campus. This award is reserved for an individual (or individuals) who goes above and beyond for the Peru State College community, while not being currently enrolled in or employed by the institution."

"Winners of this award show a true dedication to the members of the Peru State College Community through their continued service to students and the institution and prove once more that the motto of 'Once a Bobcat, Always a Bobcat' is more than simply a catchy slogan."

Elaine Hanson with award plaque

Spring Commencement

Dan and Elaine Hanson were also recognized at the Spring 2021 Commencement. The Vice Presidents, Debbie White, Dr. Jesse Dorman and Dr. Tim Borchers, on behalf of the College's faculty and staff, presented the Hansons with a print of the sesquicenntenial painting by Todd Williams and a Peru State flag. 

Kortnie Sheppard, class of 2021, shared, "When [the Black Student Union] held our second spoken word night, I casually asked President Hanson if he would be willing to perform a poem - and without putting any deep thought into it, he said yes. Before he performed the poem, he took a moment to share how much he enjoyed the [poet] Langston Hughes."

"It meant so much that the president of our college was willing to share a poem with the group. I don't know if President Hanson actually knows how much that meant to me. Thank you for all you have done for Peru State and the Black Student Union. We are really going to miss you."

Andrew Pavel, class of 2021, shared, "[My freshman year] Elaine offered to help us bake her famous cookies as a fundraiser for the Science Club. I soon found out just how active she was on campus. Through numerous organizations, I have worked on several projects spearheaded by Elaine to help serve this campus and the community that surrounds it. Such projects included hanging Christmas decorations to helping a community member scoop her sidewalk after the winter snows."

"The Hansons have always been a welcoming and bright light to me on campus."

Haley Reiman, current Peru State student, shared, "[The Hansons] hard work, drive, and kindness has reached many hearts throughout their years of service to this community. [They] truly have helped the campus be a family rather than just a large group of students. [They] remember every name and every detail."

"[The Hansons] welcome each student into their heart and allow for them to have a home away from home. [Their] kind hearts and hard work are admirable and leave each student with a desire to be like them."

Dan and Elaine Hanson on the stage for commencement.

An additional recognition is planned for June 5 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Peru State College campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Michael Evans, previously of Southern New Hampshire University, was named the new president of Peru State College in March. His first day will be July 1.

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