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North Country Benefactors Receive Hubbard Family Award For Service To Philanthropy At UNH

Contact: Mary Peterson
603-862-3165
Editorial and Creative Services, and UNH Foundation

Oct. 4, 2004



DURHAM, N.H. – Arnold P. ("Arnie") and Della A. Hanson, who created two significant endowments in just five years at the University of New Hampshire, have received the UNH Foundation's 2004 Hubbard Family Award for Service to Philanthropy. The Berlin residents have devoted their lives to their family and to the community in the North Country.

Mr. Hanson, who is now retired, is an attorney and partner in the Berlin law firm of Bergeon and Hanson, which, assisted by Mrs. Hanson, he formed in 1960.

The Hanson's first endowment - the Dr. Norman Alexander Teaching Excellence Fund - was created in 1998 to recognize distinction in teaching and achievement in the university's faculty. Their second major gift was made in 2002 to establish the Arnold P. and Della A. Hanson Endowed Scholarship Fund, which helps provide students from Coos County with four-year scholarships.

"I just wanted a kid in the North Country who has the desire to go to college to know there is this opportunity coming that can help achieve the goals he or she has set," Arnie Hanson said. "I want these kids to know there can be help for their goals."

The scholarship fund is a dramatic demonstration of the Hansons' continued quest to make a lifelong difference for members of their community by providing educational opportunities for students with financial need and academic promise," said Young Dawkins III, president of the UNH Foundation. "Arnie and Della Hanson have made a lasting impact at the University of New Hampshire, and it is a pleasure to recognize them for the exemplary friends and alumni family that they are."

Arnie Hanson started saving money early in his life. Growing up as a young boy in Berlin, he had a milk route in the morning and three newspaper routes, and he shoveled snow in the winter and mowed lawns in the summer. In college, he had a monopoly on selling corsages and boutonnieres to UNH fraternities for their formal social functions. He also was the board manager at his fraternity, Sigma Beta.

When Hanson attended his first year at UNH in the 1940s, his parents paid the tuition and he received three or four small scholarships. His sister, a teacher, sent Hanson $2 per week "for spending money," he recalled. Following his first year, he went into the Navy and when he returned, his UNH education was paid for by the G.I. Bill. He could handle up to 26 credits per semester -- the usual load is 16 credits. "I had a lot of help from people when I was going to UNH," he said, "and Della and I feel it's only right to help others in the same way."

Arnie and Della were married in 1948, one week after Arnie received his bachelor's degree in political science from UNH. After graduation from Boston University Law School in 1951, he was offered a lucrative job in Boston at a prestigious law firm but, Hanson said, "I wanted to go home. I wanted to know that when my daughter went out with someone, I'd know who his parents were."

In addition to his law practice, Hanson served his community as Coos County attorney for four years. He was a board member and past president of the New Hampshire Bar Association, director of the Berlin Cooperative Bank, and chairman of the board for the Berlin City Bank. He is the recipient of the 1977 Boston University Law School's prestigious Silver Shingle Award and the UNH Alumni Association's Meritorious Service Award in 1986. The Hansons continue to support many causes in their retirement.

The Hubbard Family Award for Service to Philanthropy is named for the university's greatest benefactors, Oliver, Austin and Leslie Hubbard, and recognizes individuals whose philanthropic leadership has significantly strengthened the state, its communities and the university. The UNH Foundation, Inc. is an independent charitable organization dedicated to increasing private support at UNH.