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    President Hanson’s tribute to Dennis Anderson

    Comments made at his funeral, May 4, 2010. 

    My words today are first as the president of Hamline University and second, as Linda Hanson, friend of Carol and Dennis. We are here today to celebrate Dennis’s most remarkable life and his amazing journey from Red Wing, Minnesota, to the farmlands of South Dakota—a journey he shared with Carol, his loving wife, and a journey that many of you gathered here today shared with both of them.

    Carol: I am so sorry for the loss of your soul mate, your partner, and husband. I bring deep and abiding sympathy from your and Dennis’s friends on the Board of Trustees, the many faculty and staff members of Hamline University, and from emeritus president Larry Osnes and his wife, Sue.

    I think we’d all agree that Dennis as a husband, father, friend, farmer, and philanthropist was always thinking about someone else. Some of you may not know that the definition of a philanthropist comes from the Greek root word, which means: loving people, goodwill toward others, and actively promoting human welfare.

    It does not surprise me that Carol and Dennis found that they shared this common bond of philanthropy—loving people and actively promoting human welfare. They both had it deep within them, and when they met on that streetcar in Minneapolis so long ago, they knew they had found a kindred spirit in their pursuit of making the world a better place.

    In between Dennis’s birth and passing, he lived a full life built on love and kindness. Dennis often commented how it must have been providence that a young man from Red Wing would meet a woman who graduated from a university founded in Red Wing. And providence I am sure it was.

    For Carol, through your experiences at Hamline and your providential partnership with your dear and loving husband, we also gained in Dennis a friend and loyal advocate for education. Through his entrepreneurial endeavors in new farming techniques, founding the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association, and the American State Bank in Rapid City, he left an enduring legacy. And Dennis confided from time to time, that if one was to be in farming, it made good sense to also be in banking. Through his lifetime of providing—for his family, for the livelihood of others, and for the future of young people who would benefit from his and Carol’s generosity—Dennis Anderson set a meritorious example for us to dream big, live modestly, and enjoy the many small pleasures in life.

    And so I close with this: As a Methodist-related university, there are many sayings from the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, but I think there is only one that truly summarizes both Dennis’s and Carol’s life. It is something that guided them every day and guides Carol today. So I leave you with the words of John Wesley—words that Dennis and Carol brought to life and something that if Dennis were still with us today I believe he would ask us to follow, as he did. So to honor Dennis let me speak for him today by calling all of us to this charge:

    Do all the good we can,
    By all the means we can,
    In all the ways we can,
    In all the places we can,
    At all the times we can,
    To all the people we can,
    As long as ever we can.

    Thank you Dennis for living and always pointing us to live a life that truly matters.