He’s been a father figure to thousands of Linfield College students but Dave Hansen takes his parental role in stride. As dean of students and vice president for student services, Hansen oversees student life while maintaining an active role in the administration and regularly teaching.
Hansen’s position will change at the close of the 2009-10 academic year, when he steps down as vice president for student services and dean of students. An economics professor since 1969, Hansen will continue teaching courses at the college and will serve the college in other capacities as well.
In making the announcement, President Thomas L. Hellie called Hansen’s impact as dean of students, a position he has held since 1988, “legendary.”
“I am grateful that he has chosen to remain engaged with Linfield for the foreseeable future,” Hellie said.
Hansen has always had a knack for helping students to recognize and live to their potential. Randy Heath ’88 came to Linfield to play football and admits he didn’t have a lot of confidence in the classroom.
“One day, Dave Hansen called me by name and asked me why I was skipping class,” Heath said. “You can’t skip class in a small, personal environment where everyone knows your name. You are accountable. If the teachers don’t care, then you won’t care. But they do care, you grow close to them, they know you. I ended up taking more pride in being a student at Linfield than being an athlete. Dave Hansen is one of the people I have to thank for my success at Linfield.”
For more than 30 years, Hansen has spent his fall weekends as the “voice of the Wildcats,” working with Craig Singletary, professor emeritus of communication, Ted Desel ’61, professor of speech and drama from 1970 to 1987, and Darrell Aune to broadcast football games.
Hansen, who was inducted into the Linfield Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 for his work as voice of the Wildcats, started as color commentator and switched to play-by- play. One bonus of his job is getting to know players in the classroom and on the playing field. His position at Linfield gives him an edge on providing information to the listeners.
“I might have some inside information about a player outside the football realm,” he said. “I have an opportunity to mix with the students in a different setting.”
An admitted sports fanatic, Hansen is up at 6 a.m. or earlier on fall Saturdays. “I enjoy watching the game and being a part of it in the sense that I get to talk about it,” he said. “My wife worries that I do play-by- play at everything we attend, whether it’s athletics or not.”
Hansen holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and a master’s from Portland State University. For his work on behalf of Linfield, Hansen earned the Walker Award in 2006, given to a non-alumnus in recognition of service to the college. He also organizes leadership seminars throughout Oregon and serves on the McMinnville City Council.