WALTER G. HANSEN SCHOLARSHIPEstablished By:
Criteria: CE; one award; Min $1,250
Background: Walt Hansen established the Peggy Lee Hansen Scholarship in memory of his wife, who passed away in February 1998.
Walt Hansen was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, on June 7, 1931 and lived there until 1944 when his family moved to Aberdeen, SD. He graduated from Central High School in 1949 and went to South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) in the fall of the same year.
Peggy was born in Kewanee, Illinois, on January 31, 1930. She lived there, graduating from Kewanee High in 1948. Following graduation she worked at Montgomery Wards as a bookkeeper until, for some unfathomable reasons, she moved to Rapid City, SD, in 1951.
Peggy and Walt formed a lifetime partnership on June 7, 1952, in Rapid City. Their first child, Greg, was born in the spring of 1953 and joined his parents in a three-year journey around the country in a house trailer while Walt participated in a highway engineering training program for the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads (now the Federal highway Administration). The program concluded in 1956 at the headquarters in BPR in Washington, D.C. Due to the birth of their second son, Corey, in late 1955, and a desire to stay put for a little while, Walt accepted a two-year assignment in Washington, D.C. where he was seconded to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Study.
It was a two-year assignment, which extended to the present, except for an eighteen-month period, starting in the fall of 1958, when Walt was sent by the BPR to MIT where he received a Master degree in City and Regional Planning in 1960.
In 1961, Walt joined with Alan Voorhees to for an Urban Transportation Consulting company, which, by the mid-sixties, operated worldwide with offices in Australia, England, Canada, Venezuela, and most of the major cities in the U.S. The company was acquired by Planning Research Corporation in the late sixties, merged into PRC Engineering in the late seventies, which was acquired by Ashland Technology Corp. in the mid-eighties. In the late 80’s, the 3,000 employees of Ashland Technology repurchased the company from Ashland Oil and formed AECOM Technology Corporation, an employee-owned corporation. During these three decades of business evolution, Walt continued to practice his profession as a transportation planner, but also served in a variety of management positions, including president of five different engineering organizations. He retired as Vice President of AECOM in 1996.
While Walt was earning frequent flyer miles and collecting a variety of organizational titles, Peg was building a career in real estate on Capitol Hill. In the late 1960’s she formed a company, El Mecado, which provided decorating services. This rapidly expanded into a Capitol Hill rehabilitation company, which bought, rehabilitated, and sold over 30 residential properties over 15 years. Peggy remained active in Capitol Hill real estate until her death.
According to Walt Hansen: “Throughout these shared experiences, spanning almost 46 years, the early years spent in Rapid City at SDSM&T were remembered by both Peg and Walt as a time of joy, friendship, hard work, achievement, and the building of a solid foundation for the successes achieved during the rest of their lives. It is gratifying that the partnership formed in 1952 can now repay, in some small way, the many gifts received from the school during those early years.”
Walt Hansen passed away on May 15, 2008.