St. Paul, Minn. – Leland and Kathleen Hansen of St. Paul have established a $100,000 research endowed fund at Macalester College.  It will be named the Leland and Kathleen Hansen Geography Research Endowed Fund and support student research in urban geography. 

“We are very grateful to Lee and Kathy for their ongoing support of and commitment to Macalester,” said President Brian Rosenberg.  “Geography is well-known for its history of civic engagement in the Twin Cities metro area.  The Hansens’ gift will serve to enhance this already exceptional component of the department.”

Prof. Hildegard Binder Johnson founded the Geography Department in 1947, setting the standard for geographers as teachers and researchers in the liberal arts.

Kathleen Lawler Hansen graduated from Macalester in 1963.  Her father, Harold Lawler, attended Macalester in the 1930’s (before graduating from the University of Minnesota Dental School in 1938), and Lee’s and Kathy’s daughter, Laura Hansen Smith, is a 1994 graduate and a faculty member in the Macalester Geography Department. Kathy retired from the University of Minnesota Medical Center after a successful career in laboratory services.  Lee, a University of Minnesota graduate, retired from the university’s pediatric research division. They became interested in urban geography through living in St. Paul for more than 40 years and through their daughter’s studies.

“The relationship that our family has had with Macalester began 80 years ago with Kathy’s father Harold and continues today with our daughter Laura,” said Lee and Kathy Hansen.  “This endowed fund ensures our special bond with this extraordinary college and will help future generations to come.”

Macalester’s nationally and internationally recognized Geography Department is unusually broad in scope offering courses in urban and regional planning, environmental geography, cartography, geographic information systems and socioeconomic development in various regions of the world. Students may major or minor in geography. Students may also take a specialized minor focused on Geographic Information Systems or major in geography with an additional concentration in Urban Studies.

The Leland and Kathleen Hansen Geography Research Endowed Fund will be used to support students involved in research projects in the field of urban geography, with preference given to geography majors.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,035 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

January 25 2013

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