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Annual Gifts

Bill Hanson ’64

Bill Hanson

Bill Hanson ’64

When asked why he is so generous to St. Johnsbury Academy, Bill Hanson ’64 replied, “I give for a few reasons. I made many friends, many of whom remain my best friends today. I also credit the Academy for giving me the opportunity and freedom to learn and explore my passions which eventually launched me into my life’s work. Last, but certainly not least, I love seeing the progress and expansion of St. Johnsbury Academy since my graduation. It’s truly amazing and a pleasure to contribute to that.”

 

Bill’s long involvement in sports started in 1961 when Coach Burlingame asked him to keep score at baseball games and later help as football team manager. Coach Ingram and Coach Drew encouraged him to study athletic training—an extra-curricular activity that literally launched him into a successful career. He continued with athletic training in college and that experience followed him into the Army. 

 

The Modern Pentathlon is a five-discipline sport that began at the 1912 Olympic Games and it maintained a U.S. Training Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where Bill underwent basic medical training. Upon completion, he was assigned to the center as its athletic trainer and would, in following years, recruit young athletes, organize the event at Olympic Games, and become its executive director. Bill would also spend seven years in various administrative positions in the professional North American Soccer League.

 

It was clear sports ran in his blood. Bill eventually became a founder and employee of San Antonio Sports, promoting sports through tourism. He is recognized for his event operations expertise and served as chair of the National Association of Sports Commissions. His event management experience includes the multi-sport competitions, the AAU Junior Olympic Games, the U.S. Olympic Festival, and the State Games of Texas. He has organized individual competitions for the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Goodwill Games, numerous NCAA and Big 12 Conference championships, and many local amateur and youth competitions. 

 

As classmate David Shumate ’64 shared, “At one point in his career, he was the foremost expert on the Modern Pentathlon in the United States and probably still is. He has gone about this quietly and humbly and he is one of many special individuals from the Class of 1964.” Shumate and several other Academy alumni attended Bill’s 2018 induction into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.

 

When he retired from his position as San Antonio Sports Associate Executive Director for Operations, the director had the following to say about him, “We never had to worry about an event’s logistics and knew that every detail had been tended to. He takes care of things quietly and efficiently, from having enough ice to transportation issues, even the emergency response plans. He has a knack for thinking of everything, so we’re not scrambling at the last minute due to lack of planning.”

 

It is no surprise that he used those same skills to rally the Class of 1964 50th Reunion Planning committee. He, along with classmates Pam Burns Kocher ’64, Jack Bissett ’64, and a great class committee, volunteered many hours for two years prior to their 50th celebration to make it extra special. In addition to the reunion plans themselves, he was key in helping his class raise enough money to redesign the entrance to the St. Johnsbury Academy campus and upgrade the Academy sign.

 

His service to St. Johnsbury Academy didn’t stop there. In 2014, Bill was awarded the SJA Distinguished Alumni Award (our highest alumni honor). He continues to sit on volunteer boards at the Academy, is an active participant in the St. Johnsbury Academy Golf Benefit, and supports the SJA athletic training program both as a donor and mentor. As SJA Athletic trainer Chris Despins ’88 said, “It has been a pleasure getting to know Bill. He has been so supportive, and I can’t thank him enough for his generosity and expertise.” 

 

St. Johnsbury Academy can’t begin to thank Bill enough for all he does. We call him for advice, and he is always willing to help in any way he can. The next time you are on campus and parking your car in the field house parking lot, look at the newly erected campus map sign that resides behind the Morse Center for the Arts. That is a gift made possible by the generosity of Bill and his brother, Al “Scoot” Hanson ’67. Thank you, Bill, for all you have done and continue to do. 

 

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