Gary L. Hanson perfected his skills as a broadcast journalist for 25 years -- and then he taught those skills to thousands of Kent State University students.
Professor Hanson, 66, died Thursday (May 18, 2017) at home.
Born in Carrington, North Dakota, to Lloyd W. and Edith C. (Olson) Hanson, he developed a love for broadcasting while a speech major at the University of North Dakota. He worked at KDAK-AM in Carrington and at KFJM-FM in Grand Forks. He began his television career in 1971 at WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks. He then was news director of KXON-TV (now KDLT) in Mitchell, South Dakota, where he met his wife, the former LuEtt Rahn. They married in 1975.
From 1984-97 he was news director of WKBN-TV in Youngstown, Ohio. He earned his master of arts degree from Kent State in 1999. He then joined the faculty of Kent State's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where he taught news reporting and producing and advised the student television station, TV2.
He was promoted to full professor in 2011, and that same year he received the university's Distinguished Teaching Award.
Gary was particularly proud of his work launching International Storytelling, a course that allowed him and LuEtt to take more than 100 students to six different countries between 2011-16. He and LuEtt retired from Kent State in 2016.
He was honored in 2016 with the Edward L. Bliss Award for Distinguished Broadcast Journalism Education by the Electronic News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
He also was chairman of what was then known as the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and represented RTNDA on the Accrediting Council for Education for Journalism and Mass Communication, the body that accredits university journalism programs. He served as a member of the ACEJMC Site Visit teams to 13 universities around the country.
He is survived by his wife of 41 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, and his stepmother, Lorraine Hall Walker Hanson.
Calling hours will be 6-8 PM Wednesday May 24th and 10-11 AM Thursday May 25th at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home in Kent, with the celebration of life at 11 AM Thursday May 25th at the funeral home, with the Rev. Kenrad Pederson officiating.
Following cremation, Gary's ashes will be scattered near his childhood home in North Dakota.
Memorials may be made to the College of Communication and Information Study Abroad Award, c/o Kent State University Foundation, Kent, Ohio 44242.
(Bissler & Sons Funeral Home 330-673-5857 RC 5-20-17)