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Arthur G. Hansen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 52
Papers of Arthur Hansen, president of Purdue University. The papers include speeches, lecture notes, publications, and related materials. The papers cover a wide variety of topics, such as fluidics, laminar, mechanical engineering, aeronautics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, thermal engineering, engineering education, higher education and research, race, religion, Purdue Women's Day (1971-1973), land grant universities, campus unrest and civil rights issues at Purdue University (1970s), energy research, orientations for new faculty and students, and Minority Programs in Freshman Engineering (1976). Of particular note is Dr. Hansen's remarks for addressing a Black Student Rally at Purdue in 1980. Please see PDF Finding Aid for collection inventory.


  • 1969-1984


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


3.70 Cubic Feet

265.00 Megabytes

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Gene Hansen was born in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on Feb. 28, 1925. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1946 and his master's degree in mathematics in 1948, also from Purdue. During this time, he also served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a Second Lieutenant and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Hansen received his doctorate in mathematics from Case Institute of Technology in 1958. Hansen also held several honorary degrees.

Before joining Purdue as its 8th president, Hansen was a professor at the University of Michigan and then moved on to Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as its Dean of Engineering and then president from 1969 to 1971.

He accepted the position of president at Purdue University from 1971 to 1982, the first Purdue alumnus to do so. Hansen focused much of his energies on developing relationships with students and building the initial foundation for the university's fundraising efforts. In 1972 he founded the President's Council, an organization of those who financially support the university.

Under Hansen's administration, enrollment increased from 26,000 to more than 32,000, and new buildings were constructed for agriculture, psychology, life sciences and athletics. Hansen also supported the establishment of Purdue's first Black Cultural Center and the university's first retirees association in 1976. A decade after he left Purdue, when asked for the highlight of his Purdue presidency, Hansen responded quickly, "When I bought that supercomputer for Michael."

It was Purdue's first supercomputer and one of only a handful the country. Purdue professor Michael Rossmann went on to use the supercomputer to become the first to map the structure of the common cold virus.

"Art Hansen loved students and loved Purdue," said Purdue's current president, France A. Córdova. "An engineer by discipline, he also supported the arts, knowing that they form the heart of a great institution."

Purdue honored him by naming the Arthur G. Hansen Life Sciences Research Building in his honor. He, in turn, honored Purdue and his wife, Nancy Tucker Hansen, in 2002 by giving $1.8 million to build a proscenium theater, which now bears her name. The theater is part of Yue-Kong Pao Hall, home to Purdue's visual and performing arts. Hansen left Purdue in 1982 to become chancellor of the Texas A&M University system. In 1982 Hansen left this post to become the director of research of the Hudson Institute and an educational consultant until his retirement. After retirement, he made his home in Zionsville, Indiana, and then in Fort Myers, Florida, where he died on July 5, 2010.

Special Honors Received: Leather Medal recipient, Sigma Delta Chi; Distinguished Service Medal, Department of Defense (1985); Indiana Engineer of the Year (1979); Purdue Distinguished Alumnus (1979); Atlanta Engineer of the Year (1970); Who's Who in America; American Men and Women of Science; Centennial Medallion, American Society for Engineering Education; elected to The Indiana Academy (1998) Accomplishments: Author, "Similarity Analyses of Boundary Value Problems in Engineering" and "Fluid Mechanics"; Board of Directors, City University of New York Research Foundation (1994-1997); Chairman, Indiana Commission for Higher Education (1994-); Chairman, Texas Committee Employer Support of Guard and Reserve, Texas Scientific and Technology Council; Member, Academy Advancement Board, U.S. Naval Academy (1975-1979); Trustee, National Fund for Minority Engineering Students (1980-1981); Board of Visitors, Air Force Institute of Technology (1987-1989); Chairman, Board of Visitors, Air University (1974-1977); Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science; National Advancement of Education, Gas Research Institute (Chairman of Advancement Council 1976-1979); Sigma Xi; Eta Kappa Nu; Pi Tau Sigma; Tau Beta Pi; Phi Kappa Phi; Omicron Delta Kappa; Phi Eta Sigma; Kappa Kappa Psi; Advisory Board, U.S. Department of Energy; Indiana Governor's Roundtable for K-12 Education; Chairman, Indianapolis Symphony Board; Georgia Ocean Science Center of the Atlantic; Advisory Council, Skidway Oceanographic Institute


Retrieved July 21, 2010 from

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

Oral history interview, located within MSO 2, Purdue Office of Publications Oral History Program collection.
Arthur G. Hansen papers
Mary A. Sego and Shequita Parker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 09099999: Collection identifier updated from MSA 78 and US 2.08 to UA 52 as of December 6, 2016.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States