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Hanson honored as new BSU-NTC president

Richard Hanson, left, president-elect of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, finishes his opening remarks at BSU Thursday with a smile and a thumbs-up. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James McCormick, right, gives Hanson his applause. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Meet Richard Hanson, president-elect of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

He plays guitar and violin and describes his taste in music as "eclectic." His favorite food is pasta, enjoys watching baseball and looks forward to living in a place where forests are plentiful. He says his wife, Dianne, is "one of the nicest persons you'll meet." Together they have three grown daughters and a cat named "Henri."

Hanson received a warm welcome from students, staff, faculty, alumni and others Thursday as they stood, applauding him before he made his opening remarks. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' Chancellor James McCormick shared a few words, as well as Lori Lamb, BSU's vice chancellor of human resources.

Hanson comes to Bemidji from North Dakota State University, where he has served as interim president since December 2009. He will officially take office in Bemidji July 12.

"I'm very pleased to have been given the opportunity to take this university to its next place," Hanson said. "I don't know where that is. Our vision is one we'll construct together. It's not just one person who takes an institution anywhere. It takes a group of like-minded people."

As a gift to help Hanson and his wife transition from being NDSU "Bison" to BSU "Beavers," each was given a "Bucky" bobble head doll and a BSU sweatshirt, presented by Bill Maki, BSU's vice president for finance and administration.

Hanson drew laughs from the audience when he held up his sweatshirt, which was at least two sizes too small for his broad frame.

Vice Chancellor Lamb chuckled as she said, "We'll work on the sizing of things some other time."

When asked how he felt after his first public remarks as the new president, Hanson said, "This is cool. I feel really good. I'm glad people came out."

Hanson's wife, Dianne, who is retired, said her husband "is really a gentle man."

She hopes to volunteer her time interacting with school children in the community and maybe join a book club.

"I look forward to settling in and enjoying this wonderful journey," she said. "I will be out and about."

Richard Hanson said while he thinks it will take time to meet so many new people, the real challenge will be dealing with a new state and a new budget.

"Minnesota has so many budget challenges. I'm worried about that," he said. "But I'm less nervous and more giddy. I have a lot of experience. I've been around the block."

While they were in Bemidji, Hanson said he and his wife did some house-hunting. He said he hopes to find a new home as soon as possible. Hanson will be working at NDSU through June. He said he will be busy working to make the transition for NDSU's new president go as smooth as possible.

MnSCU Chancellor McCormick said he is confident Hanson is the right person to lead BSU and NTC.

"We're going through some rocky, challenging times," McCormick said. "Being a president is never an easy job. (Hanson), who stepped up to the plate during a very difficult time, needs the full support of students, faculty and staff."

The search for a new president began in December after current BSU and NTC President Jon Quistgaard announced he will retire this summer.

In his closing remarks, Hanson said he sees BSU and NTC as places of transformation.

"As we come together with this journey, I want you to remember to believe in all this place is, behave like a champion, not arrogantly, but with pride, and become that place where students can show up and be transformed, literally," Hanson said.

Y awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

Meet Richard Hanson, president-elect of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

He plays guitar and violin and describes his taste in music as "eclectic." His favorite food is pasta, enjoys watching baseball and looks forward to living in a place where forests are plentiful. He says his wife, Dianne, is "one of the nicest persons you'll meet." Together they have three grown daughters and a cat named "Henri."

Hanson received a warm welcome from students, staff, faculty, alumni and others Thursday as they stood, applauding him before he made his opening remarks. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' Chancellor James McCormick shared a few words, as well as Lori Lamb, BSU's vice chancellor of human resources.

Hanson comes to Bemidji from North Dakota State University, where he has served as interim president since December 2009. He will officially take office in Bemidji July 12.

"I'm very pleased to have been given the opportunity to take this university to its next place," Hanson said. "I don't know where that is. Our vision is one we'll construct together. It's not just one person who takes an institution anywhere. It takes a group of like-minded people."

As a gift to help Hanson and his wife transition from being NDSU "Bison" to BSU "Beavers," each was given a "Bucky" bobble head doll and a BSU sweatshirt, presented by Bill Maki, BSU's vice president for finance and administration.

Hanson drew laughs from the audience when he held up his sweatshirt, which was at least two sizes too small for his broad frame.

Vice Chancellor Lamb chuckled as she said, "We'll work on the sizing of things some other time."

When asked how he felt after his first public remarks as the new president, Hanson said, "This is cool. I feel really good. I'm glad people came out."

Hanson's wife, Dianne, who is retired, said her husband "is really a gentle man."

She hopes to volunteer her time interacting with school children in the community and maybe join a book club.

"I look forward to settling in and enjoying this wonderful journey," she said. "I will be out and about."

Richard Hanson said while he thinks it will take time to meet so many new people, the real challenge will be dealing with a new state and a new budget.

"Minnesota has so many budget challenges. I'm worried about that," he said. "But I'm less nervous and more giddy. I have a lot of experience. I've been around the block."

While they were in Bemidji, Hanson said he and his wife did some house-hunting. He said he hopes to find a new home as soon as possible. Hanson will be working at NDSU through June. He said he will be busy working to make the transition for NDSU's new president go as smooth as possible.

MnSCU Chancellor McCormick said he is confident Hanson is the right person to lead BSU and NTC.

"We're going through some rocky, challenging times," McCormick said. "Being a president is never an easy job. (Hanson), who stepped up to the plate during a very difficult time, needs the full support of students, faculty and staff."

The search for a new president began in December after current BSU and NTC President Jon Quistgaard announced he will retire this summer.

In his closing remarks, Hanson said he sees BSU and NTC as places of transformation.

"As we come together with this journey, I want you to remember to believe in all this place is, behave like a champion, not arrogantly, but with pride, and become that place where students can show up and be transformed, literally," Hanson said.

awilliams@bemidjipioneer.com

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