Vet college prof Hanson dies at 77

by Melanie Evans

Family and friends will gather today in ravaged St. Peter, Minn., for the funeral of former University professor of veterinary medicine Dr. James Hanson.
He died Sunday at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, at age 77.
Hanson developed the College of Veterinary Medicine’s extension and continuing education programs.
As a professor, Hanson’s unique technique for calling class to order following coffee breaks and lunch hour became his trademark. Standing in the hall among milling students, Hanson would ring a large cow bell he and his wife picked up on a trip to Switzerland.
“It became synonymous with Jim,” said co-worker Dr. Michael Pullen, a College of Veterinary Medicine professor. “I could never ring it as loud. He will be missed.”
Pullen traveled with Hanson across rural Minnesota working for the veterinary college’s extension program.
He particularly enjoyed these visits to farming communities, said his wife, Carol Hanson. He often joked perhaps he should pay the University and not vice versa, she said.
Colleagues remember him for his dedication to the University and his love for his field, Pullen said.
Graduating from the University with a degree in veterinary medicine, Hanson, along with his wife, opened a general practice in St. Peter in 1953.
“I was his unpaid, untrained secretary,” she said, laughing. “It was a real mom-and-pop.”
Hanson enjoyed working among farmers and family, his wife said, often bringing his four children along for calls to local farms. The cows and holding horses’ reins for their father are among the family’s fond memories, she said.
Hanson was offered the position of continuing education director at the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1967, and remained at the post until his retirement in June 1991.
He is survived by his wife, sons Brent, Todd and Craig and daughter Gayle Olson.