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Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is: A Mentorship Made in Media Heaven

Posted Apr. 16, 2012
enter photo description
In this photo, broadcast journalism major Nate Edwards
speaks about his experience at Kent State with School of
Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Gary Hanson
and wife, LuEtt Hanson, associate dean of the College of
Communication and Information. Edwards received multiple
scholarships, including one awarded by the Hansons. 

Stepping into the TV2 news studio in Franklin Hall is like transporting onto the bridge of the starship Enterprise – a little disorienting, very cool, and so high-tech it makes the facilities at many small-market TV stations look positively stone age by comparison.

It is a multimedia on-demand world. No one knows that better than the faculty and students at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Nate Edwards (broadcast journalism, ‘12) and distinguished School of Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Gary Hanson are very much a part of the modern media environment. They appear to be cut from the same cloth; both are highly intelligent, intense in their love of what they do and determined to succeed.

A Student on the Leading Edge
To say that Edwards is ambitious would be a profound understatement. In his second semester at Kent State, Edwards had seven media jobs on campus. He has completed three internships. Calm, resilient and in control, Edwards displays a level of self-confidence many people never achieve. Whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes producing a newscast, Edward’s dedication and laser focus have brought him to graduation this May with experience and skills in broadcast journalism that are highly marketable.

Hanson describes Edwards as “the prototype student that we all hope to graduate. He sees each type of media as being interconnected, not in separate categories. It’s all part of the school’s content-based program, which is more than just learning about electronic equipment – it’s knowing what to do with it.”

Edward’s parents were not in position to help him financially with his college education. In his four years at Kent State, he received multiple scholarships, including one awarded by Hanson and his wife, LuEtt Hanson, associate dean of the College of Communication and Information.

“Even though I was awarded several scholarships, the Hanson’s was very special,” says Nate, referring to the Lloyd W. Hanson & Harvey E. Rahn Scholarship, which was created by the Hansons in memory of their fathers. “Receiving a scholarship, especially one that is selected by faculty, is the highest honor you can receive as a student. It made me feel appreciated for all of my work and gives me confidence that I know what I’m doing.”

Access to Expertise
If you’re ever looking for Gary Hanson during the evening, you’ll usually find him somewhere in Franklin Hall. “I feel that working with my students, no matter what time of the day or night, is my job. It’s what they’re paying for with their tuition – access to the faculty and our experience. Sharing that is why we’re here,” says Hanson.

Hanson is obviously proud of the work his students do. He, LuEtt and his students, including Edwards, are travelling to India together. “The students are going to set up a newsroom, coordinate with a partner university, then work on a story based on women’s role in politics in India, and relate it back to how we function in the U.S. Then there’s a production component when they get back,” says Hanson. “This kind of opportunity adds a new dimension to the curriculum, and to have this type of material to put on your reel and on your résumé is awesome.”

The Hansons are following in the footsteps of other faculty members who are dedicated to spending time and building relationships with their students. They also believe in providing material support, which led them to create the Lloyd W. Hanson and Harvey E. Rahn Scholarship to support journalism students. The scholarship is named in honor of their fathers.They also believe in providing material support. “Both of our fathers were blue collar workers,” says LuEtt. “They believed that if you were going to do something it was worth doing right and doing well, and they instilled that in us.” Their mothers both worked in education, as does Nate’s mother.

LuEtt continues, “Both Gary and I are not just Kent State faculty, we’re also both alumni. Kent State has been a very nurturing environment for us, providing opportunities to learn, work and grow as individuals. It seems only fair for us to give back.”

The Hansons believe that as faculty members, it’s in their own best interests to do what they can to attract good students because they raise the bar for the entire university. “If our gift can help to retain a student who contributes to class and participates in extra-curricular activities, not only does that student benefit, but other students and the faculty benefit as well,” adds LuEtt.

The Hansons have encouraged Edwards to return to campus after he graduates to share what he’s doing with the students who will follow after him. Edwards looks forward to coming back.

“I thought Gary would be a tough teacher, and he was — but it was just to make me better,” he says. “Getting to know him over time has been great because it is cool to have a relationship with a professor that is more than just as a teacher. He’s a friend and mentor, and will remain an important professional resource once I get out into the field.”

At Kent State, “The Last Dollar Scholarship” was created to provide support for students who may experience circumstances that create an unanticipated need for additional financial support. Without such support, many students with emergency needs might not be able to remain enrolled and on track to earning their degrees. Please consider supporting “The Last Dollar Fund” on your campus, or click here to learn about other ways to support students like Edwards or the College of Communication and Information.

Watch a video of Edwards and the Hansons talk about the importance of giving back to Kent State.