• President's Office

  • President Hanson

    Biography of President Linda Hanson

    Dr. Linda N. Hanson became Hamline University’s 19th president in July 2005. She oversees a university with more than 4,800 undergraduate, graduate, and law students, and 578 full-time faculty and staff. Hamline is Minnesota’s first university, established in 1854, with a College of Liberal Arts, School of Law, School of Business, and School of Education. Its main campus is in St Paul, Minnesota. Hamline is ranked ninth of 143 master’s level colleges and universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and is ranked first in this category in Minnesota. Dr. Hanson is committed to advancing Hamline as a diverse, learning centered university.

    Under her leadership the university launched an innovative MBA program in 2008, aligned undergraduate and graduate programs in a School of Business (including business, management, public administration and non-profit management) and a School of Education, created centers for Business Law and Health Law, and created an in-residence MFA in Young Adult and Children’s Literature. She led the process of refreshing the university-wide strategic plan for 2013-2017, The Hamline Experience: Pathways to Success. The plan describes Hamline’s academic vision and strategies to innovate in the tradition of liberal arts and professional education; to be dynamic and actively inclusive; to be locally engaged and globally connected; and to invest in the growth of persons. In the past six years new gifts totaling over $70 million have been raised for the university. Also under her leadership, the university has developed a 20-year campus master plan, and the $36M, 75,000 sq. ft. Carol Young Anderson and Dennis L. Anderson University Center at Englewood and Snelling Avenues was dedicated on October 5, 2012.

    In 2008 Hamline expanded to a 33,000 sq. ft. location in Minneapolis and now offers master’s level programs in business and education there. Upholding Hamline’s strong commitment to leadership and civic engagement, Dr. Hanson has led the expansion of the university’s global partnerships and exchange programs. Hamline has established a relationship with the United International College, the first liberal arts college in mainland China, and the Shanghai Institute for Foreign Trade.

    Before Hamline, Dr. Hanson served five years as president of the College of Santa Fe, a 2,000 student college with programs in the arts, business, education and information technology. From 1991-2000, she served Seattle University as vice president for university relations and assistant provost in the last three years, leading major capital campaigns and developing an executive leadership program. Dr. Hanson served as president of Independent Colleges of Washington and as vice president for development at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. She spent several years in arts management, as director of development for The Denver Center for the Performing Arts and as executive director of the Paramount Theatre for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas.

    Hanson grew up in Savannah, Georgia and taught secondary-school English for six years. She earned her Ed.D. in educational leadership, an MA in educational administration from Seattle University, and a BA in English and speech communication from Southern Nazarene University. In 2005, she received an honorary doctor of humane letters from College of Santa Fe and the University Award from the Alumni Association of Southern Nazarene University in 2007. She attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents.

    Dr. Hanson serves on several Minnesota boards—the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Private College Council, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts—and is a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Nationally, she is the immediate past chair of the New American Colleges and Universities consortium and just completed a term on the board of the Council of Independent Colleges.

    She resides with her husband, J. Laird Hanson, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Laird is an adjunct professor in the Hamline University School of Business. Their son, J. Pierce Hanson, a graduate of Stetson University, is a student support services assistant in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. Daughter-in-law Lonetta Hanson also works for the University of Minnesota as a program associate at Parking and Transportation Services and is a graduate student in the Humphrey School of Public Policy.