Updated: Tuesday, 13 Jul 2010, 3:59 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 12 Jul 2010, 6:34 PM EDT
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - As members of the Purdue University Glee Club sang, family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Arthur G. Hansen looked on in remembrance.
'Art' as he was known by them, was president of Purdue from 1971 to 1982. He passed away July 5th from complications from surgery. Hansen had a long history in academics, something his family said he cared about most.
"Always trying to learn something new. That's how I will remember him and I think others will, too. He had a very curious mind," said daughter Ruth Rachel.
Dr. Hansen quickly became known as 'the students' president.' His son, Paul, said that's what his father loved most about being president of a university.
"I think he really felt that he wanted to stay in touch with the students and be part of their life. It wasn't about what he would get out of it, it was whether he could make the students more than they thought they could be," said Paul Hansen.
Dr. Hansen's colleagues gave remarks as well, sharing laughs and tears.
"He told me three things. Enjoy the students, raise lots of money, and at all costs, reject any offer from Texas A & M," laughed former president Dr. Martin Jischke.
"He was a man for all seasons, and I miss him very much. You have seen today the impact he has had not only on the lives represented here, but on this institution," said former president Dr. Steven Beering.
Hansen was the only Purdue president to be an alumnus of the school he led, earning a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He has an extensive background in the academic world and has honorary doctorates from three universities.
In 1979, he received the Purdue Distinguished Alumnus Award. On October 14th 1989, Purdue dedicated a building, the Arthur G. Hansen Life Sciences Research Building, in his honor.
"It's a real honor for the family, just to drive by the building and see something named after our father. I know it was an honor for dad," said Rachel.
"Purdue's reputation, wonderful reputation, as an educational institution has its roots in this amazing respect that Purdue faculty have for their students. A respect that is reciprocated by the students' respect for their teachers. Art Hansen was the role model for this. And, became for me, a role model of a president," said Jischke.
"I know my father touched so many hearts while he was here. We all loved him so very much and all I can say is 'Dad, I think the world is a better place for you having been here," said son Geoff Hansen holding back tears.
Contributions in honor of Dr. Arthur Hansen can be made to the Purdue Cancer Center - Hansen Life Sciences Research Building at 201 South University Street in West Lafayette, 47907