July 9, 2019

Family matters: meet our Kish alum

Randy and Kathy Hansen of Genoa raised their children to value a college education. The couple wanted their children to go to college and create new opportunities for their lives. All four of the Hansen children began their college careers at Kishwaukee College.

As first-generation college students, the Hansen children learned ways to successfully navigate the unique challenges of postsecondary environments.  “Kish gave them confidence,” Kathy comments. “If they’d gone to a bigger school, they would have been lost. But at Kish, they were able to find their way and felt like they belonged.” 

The four Hansen children, David Hansen, 25, Danny Hansen, 23, and Tommy Hansen, 21, are Kish alum and Anna Hansen, 18, is taking her first Kish class this summer. All the Hansen children received scholarships to offset the cost of school and the two oldest children, David and Danny, worked part-time as custodians for the Genoa-Kingston school district to help cover college costs.

David received the Kishwaukee College Academic Achievement Scholarship. After graduating Kish with his associate degree in 2014, David went on to NIU to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2016 in Geography with a specialization in Urban and Economic Systems as well as receiving Geography Honors and a Geographic Information Systems certificate. He stayed at NIU for graduate school and received his master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in Local Government Management in May 2018. He now works as the Administrative/GIS Analyst for the Village of North Aurora.

Danny earned a scholarship through Genoa-Kingston High School to support his Kish costs and worked his part-time custodial job to cover the rest of his costs. “He really hit his stride at Kish,” Kathy says. While at Kish, Danny joined numerous clubs and activities on campus including being an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the National Society of Leadership and Success, even receiving the National Engaged Leader Award. He graduated from Kish in 2016 then went on to earn a double major at NIU in Business Leadership & Management and Marketing in December of 2018. He also earned a double certification in Retail Management and Digital Marketing. He currently is employed as an Engineering Recruiter in Schaumburg.

Tommy also received the Kishwaukee College Academic Achievement Scholarship like his older brother David. Additionally, he earned the Emma Anderson Scholarship through the Kishwaukee College Foundation. A week before starting Kish in 2016, Tommy was a walk on for the Baseball team. “My experience at Kishwaukee College has set me up for success,” Tommy comments. “Kish gave me the opportunity to get an education and play a sport I love at a very affordable price.” Tommy made the Dean’s list every semester while at Kish and was a member of the National Society of Success and Leadership like his older brother Danny.

After completing his associate degree in 2018, Tommy transferred to Bellevue University in Nebraska on scholarship to play outfield on the Baseball team. In his first year at Bellevue, Tommy received the 2019 North Star Athletic Conference (NSAA) Gold Glove Award and Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska recognition, while earning First team all-NSAA and NSAA Scholar-Athlete honors. His team placed fifth in the nation in the 2019 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series and were awarded World Series rings. He is studying Health and Human Performance at Bellevue and is considering transferring to NIU for graduate school to pursue Physical Therapy or Kinesiology.   

The youngest Hansen, Anna, received the Academic Achievement Scholarship – President’s Scholar. She was also awarded multiple Foundation scholarships: Emma Anderson Scholarship, Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees Endowment, and the Arden Perry and Kathryn Cornell Endowment. Though she initially planned to begin Kish in the fall, she decided to take a summer class to transition into college. She will begin full-time in the fall and will work part-time at the Genoa Park District.

“College is only as great as you make it, so get involved in as many activities as possible. If I had not gotten involved at Kish the way I had, then my future would have panned out much differently,” Tommy says. “I greatly appreciate all of my instructors, classmates, peers, teammates, and most of all my coach for everything that they have done for me in my two years there. Without them I would not be where I am today.” While at Kish, the three oldest children were able to explore personal interests and career options, allowing them to settle into the unique career path for them.

“Kish made it possible for them to go to school and be successful,” Kathy adds. “I feel great as a mom knowing my kids weren’t getting into financial debt. There is a way to go to college and not come out of it with debt.” 

Photo: Randy and Kathy Hansen, of Genoa, sent their four children to Kishwaukee College to begin their college careers. Pictured: front row, L to R: Kathy Hansen; Anna Hansen; back row, L to R; Danny Hansen; David Hansen; Tommy Hansen; and Randy Hansen. Photo provided by the Hansen family.