Hanson named ARCC, ATC president

When Dr. Kent Hanson, the soon-to-be Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) and Anoka Technical College (ATC) president, stepped to the podium he brought out two tools to help with his new job: a screwdriver and a large butterfly clip.

Kent Hanson, the soon-to-be president of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College, greets people at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids campus, a couple of hours after being appointed by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Feb. 26. Photo by Tammy Sakry

Kent Hanson, the soon-to-be president of Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Anoka Technical College, greets people at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids campus, a couple of hours after being appointed by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees Feb. 26. Photo by Tammy Sakry

Some doors have a mechanism that keep the door closed, which the screwdriver will remove, and the large clip is good for wedging the door open, Hanson told the crowd gathered at ARCC Tuesday.

“That is going to represent how we are going to work together,” he said.

An important part of the colleges’ success will be hearing from everyone involved, Hanson said.

“God gave us two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionately,” he said.

Even before he starts his new job July 1, Hanson said he will be looking for people to share their knowledge with him and for opportunities for him to share his knowledge.

He plans on making connections with the college staff and the community even before starting his new job “so I can hit the ground running,” Hanson said.

Along with the community and college partners, “we will work together to make this an even better place,” he said.

Hanson said working with two college institutions is something he is looking forward to.

Each campus has something to offer and has a key role in serving the students and the communities, according to Hanson.

“I am thrilled to be part of that,” Hanson said.

Hanson spent the day meeting with staff at the ARCC campuses in Coon Rapids and Cambridge as well as the ATC staff after being unanimously selected to be the new president of the two colleges by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Board of Trustees earlier in the morning.

“The role that community and technical colleges play in improving the lives of our students and meeting the needs of the state is more important than ever,” said Hanson in a MnSCU press release. “It will be a true privilege to work with the faculty, staff and students as we fulfill this vital role,”

Hanson said he feels like he is a great fit for the colleges, which serve more than 16,000 students.

He has been serving as interim president of Riverland Community College, with campuses in Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna, since August 2012.

Prior to that, Hanson served nine years as provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Northland Community and Technical College in northern Minnesota.

Hanson also worked for 12 years at Northwest Technical College, Bemidji, where he served as radiology program director from 1991-1999 and health and human services dean from 1999-2003.

In addition, Hanson was an adjunct faculty member at Park University and the University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Hanson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota and a master’s degree in human resource administration from Central Michigan University.

The staff of the two colleges helped recruit the presidential candidates and they “have the pick of the litter. You got… a really great president in Kent Hanson,” said MnSCU Chancellor Steven J. Rosenstone

Last fall the group told him the characteristics they were looking for in a president: someone who was authentic; someone who would listen; someone who cares about students; someone who understands both the technical education and the liberal arts side of the house; someone who you could trust and be open; and someone knows the system and knows the job without getting too lofty or getting locked up in the president’s office, he said.

“I think we have such a person in Kent Hanson,” Rosenstone said.

“If he does half of what he has done for this college as he has done for Riverland it is going to be absolutely glorious.”

The MnSCU Board of Trustees is excited to have appointed Hanson, said Board Chairman Clarence Hightower.

“You have a gem (in Hanson),” he said.

ARCC and ATC are important to the MnSCU system and tremendously important to the workforce of the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, Hightower said.

“We are excited for Hanson to be leading these institutions,” he said.

Hanson will take over July 1 from interim president Dr. Jessie Stumpf.

Tammy Sakry is at tammy.sakry@ecm-inc.com

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