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University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Jan. 13, 2004

UI Engineering Graduate Endows Center For Technical Communication

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A gift from Thomas R. Hanson, a 1960 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Engineering, and his spouse, Nancy A. Schneider Hanson, has endowed the Hanson Center for Technical Communication within the college. A majority of the Hansons' $800,000 gift will be used to support the center, which offers engineering students a comprehensive resource for developing communication skills as part of their engineering education.

"I learned during my career that there is a wide range of ability among engineers to speak and write effectively, and that the engineers with good communication skills stand out among their peers," said Tom Hanson, who lives in Hinsdale, Ill.

The center's primary goal is to help engineering students become effective writers and public speakers through one-on-one tutoring, communication workshops and feedback from writing consultants and their peers. Students also learn writing strategies for lab and project reports, grant proposals, specification documents, memoranda, management documents and e-mails. Through tutorial sessions, a communication elective course and peer support of writing-intensive assignments, the center encourages students to pursue excellence as communicators of technical knowledge.

"Tom and Nancy have been very supportive of the college and the university for many years," said P. Barry Butler, dean of the UI College of Engineering. "In addition to endowing the Center for Technical Communication, they have made generous contributions in support of the Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences, the C. Maxwell Stanley Hydraulics Laboratory and the annual Engineering Excellence Fund. Tom has also played a leadership role in chairing the college's Development Council and as a key member of the university's Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee. We couldn't be more grateful."

Tom Hanson, who grew up in Moline, Ill., graduated from the UI with a degree in mechanical engineering. The university is also where he met Nancy, who was a UI student at the time. Following graduation, Tom first worked with Union Carbide Corporation in Charleston, W. Va. Hanson's career then led him to The Trane Company in LaCrosse, Wis., and next to a struggling mechanical contracting company in Winston-Salem, N.C. Three years later, the Hansons moved to suburban Chicago, where Tom ran the regional sales office of York International.

In 1980, Hanson started his own company, Thermal Air Systems, which became Fleming Hanson Sales following a 1991 merger. The company, from which he sold his interests in 2000 upon retiring, contracts as exclusive sales representatives with various commercial and industrial heating and cooling manufacturers.

The Hanson gift is part of the UI's $850 million comprehensive campaign, which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch a variety of initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

The UI Foundation is acknowledged by the UI as a preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university. For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit the UI Foundation's web site at

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa Foundation, Levitt Center for University Advancement, One West Park Road, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550.

PROGRAM CONTACT: Kevin C. Collins, Director of Development, College of Engineering, 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973, Editorial Contact: Forrest Meyer, 319-335-3305,