Walter E. Hanson Graduate Study Award

Walter Hanson earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Kansas State University in 1939. In 1942, he and his wife moved to Champaign, Ill., where he taught engineering courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) while completing his master’s degree in civil engineering. That pursuit was briefly interrupted after Hanson enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served overseas during World War II.

In 1946, Hanson returned to UIUC to finish his master’s degree and to become an associate professor of civil engineering. His experience included six years with the University of Illinois, serving successively as instructor, assistant professor and associate professor, and teaching structural analysis and design, soil mechanics and foundation engineering. As an associate professor, he received two consecutive awards for effective teaching.

It was during Hanson's tenure at UIUC that he wrote several papers dealing with both structural and foundation engineering and joined Ralph Peck and Tom Thornburn in writing “Foundation Engineering,” a textbook that is used by practicing engineers and students today.

In 1951, Hanson transitioned from the academic arena to the practicing engineering field, becoming engineer of bridge and traffic structures for the state of Illinois in Springfield. In October 1954, Hanson founded his own consulting engineering firm — W.E. Hanson and Associates — now known as Hanson Professional Services Inc.

Throughout his career, Hanson also received several awards for his engineering achievements. Among them were the American Society of Engineers’ Honorary Member Award, Structural Engineering Association of Illinois’ John Parmer Award, and the University of Illinois’ College of Engineering Honor Award for Distinguished Service.

A scholarship – the Walter E. Hanson Graduate Study Award – was established in his name at UIUC in 1977. From 1997 to 2002, the Hanson Professorship at the University of Illinois also served as a testament to Walter’s distinguished career and the success of Hanson Professional Services Inc.

In 2006, Walter was inducted into the Illinois Engineering Hall of Fame.

This award is presented by the consulting engineering firm of Hanson Professional Services Inc. of Springfield, Ill., to honor Walter E. Hanson. 

The award is presented to a graduating senior who has an interest in both structural and geotechnical engineering and intends to pursue a master’s degree.

The award is given during the Fall semester.

Past recipients:

2017     Noreen Mattson

2016     Shuo Zhang

2015     Mitchell Knapp

2014     Daniel Rhee

2013     Megan Wallace

2012     Thierno Kane

2011     Jason D. Fifarek

2010     Daniel T. Schriks

2009     Melissa A. Berena

2008     Seth T. Hoffman

2007     James R. Hansen

2006     Harrison M. Garo