Gary Hanson, an emeritus professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication known for his dedication to students, died Thursday following a long battle with cancer.
“Gary was a mentor to me as well as a colleague and friend. He was a tremendously influential and effective teacher and provided service to all levels of our discipline and produced research that had national impact,” JMC Director Thor Wasbotten said when reflecting on Hanson’s importance to the journalism school. “Above all else, Gary accomplished all of this without compromising his principles and values of being compassionate, thoughtful, while maintaining the highest integrity and a genuine appreciation for others. We will miss him.”
Hanson spent 18 years at Kent State. He established the International Storytelling course along with his wife, LuEtt Hanson, emerita associate dean of the College of Communication and Information, and associate professor Mitch McKenney.
They traveled with over 100 students to six different countries, including China, India, Cyprus and Brazil.
“I think most of Gary’s colleagues consider themselves his friend. He always had what was best for the students, and the program, and the university in mind,” McKenney said. “Students would find him in his office past midnight, desperate to get some edit to work on a video project, and he’d be there to help them.”
Kiana Duncan, a senior broadcast journalism major, went on the Cyprus trip and said it was one of the best experiences she had so far as a journalist, mainly because of Hanson’s guidance.
“I just want to thank him. I don’t think I would have placed in (The Hearst Competition) if it hadn’t been for him. I don’t think I would have made it this far as (a) journalist,” Duncan said. “He wasn’t just a part of my education — he was my…