Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches

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Grace Haen Hanson, M.Ed., professor emeritus of communication sciences and disorders, was born in Chicago on July 25, 1923, and died in Austin on January 25, 2011. As an independent young woman, Grace left her home and rode a train to Austin to attend The University of Texas where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology in 1949, followed by a Master of Education degree in special education and speech in 1951. She completed sixty-two hours of additional graduate work and met the professional qualifications for a number of clinical and educational certifications. These included the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology and Speech Pathology as well as certificates from the Texas Education Agency in the following areas of expertise: elementary, secondary, deficient vision, orthopedic handicaps, deaf and severely hard of hearing, speech therapy, and principal-superintendent.

Hanson’s early teaching career included appointments in private and public schools in the Austin area; the American Army School in Nuremberg, Germany; and the Texas School for the Deaf. These experiences led to summer appointments for university teaching at Hardin-Simmons University, the University of Wichita’s Institute of Logopedics, and UT Austin.

In 1962, Professor Hanson joined the faculty of the School of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. She provided key leadership for the development of the curriculum to prepare teachers in the Education of the Deaf program within the Department of Speech Communication, which subsequently became the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. For many years, she managed the undergraduate and graduate programs in deaf education. Professor Hanson's knowledge, skill, and close working relationship with colleagues at the Texas School for the Deaf enabled her to serve as a cherished mentor for College of Communication students, both before and after their graduation, in their pursuit of successful careers as teachers of deaf children. She especially enjoyed working with student teachers, where her vast experience and love of teaching helped innumerable students to positively navigate through this important developmental phase of their educational programs.

Under Professor Hanson’s direction, UT Austin’s Education of the Deaf program grew into one of the largest in the United States and provided training for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in language development and reading instruction for deaf children. Recognizing the demand for specially-certified teachers and for advanced research in the field, Professor Hanson was instrumental in establishing doctoral training in the education of the deaf and hearing impaired as a part of the graduate education curriculum in communication sciences and disorders. She also served as a co-principal investigator and project director for grant-funded projects, authored reports and publications with her colleagues, and participated on numerous committees for the College of Communication.

Grace Hanson actively and extensively contributed to professions related to speech, hearing, and language disorders. She served as assistant editor and/or editor for dsh Abstracts, The Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, and the Texas Communicologist. Her service to national organizations included the Conference of the Executives of American Schools for the Deaf; the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; and the Council on Education of the Deaf, where she actively participated on the Committee on Professional Certification. Her publications, invited papers, and participation on panels focused largely on ways to meet the language-development and educational needs of deaf children as well as improvements in teacher preparation.

Many individuals have benefited from Professor Hanson’s tireless work to improve the educational systems in Texas for deaf and hearing-impaired students through her contributions to the Advisory Committee for the Establishment of a Regional Center for Services to Deaf-Blind Children, the Texas Commission for the Deaf, and the Central Texas Regional Day School Program for the Deaf. She treasured her work on Texas’ Statewide Project for the Deaf. As chief consultant, she collaborated with colleagues, including faculty from New York University, to produce the Developmental Language-Centered Curriculum for the Hearing-Impaired Children of Texas: The Scope and Sequence. This publication guided educators in Texas and other states for many years.

Professor Hanson especially enjoyed leading the summer institutes at Camp TRAIL in Hunt, Texas, during the 1970s. These camps provided unique learning experiences that allowed deaf and hearing-impaired campers, teachers, and school administrators to engage in extended interactions and shared learning. As a result of these summer institutes, many life-long friendships were formed.

At her retirement in 1990, Grace Hanson was professor and director of the Deaf Education Program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Texas at Austin. To commemorate her many years of service, the Grace Haen Hanson Scholarship for Excellence in Education of the Deaf was established with contributions from alumni and administrative services provided by the Texas-Exes Association.

Grace is survived by her sister, Gladys, and Gladys’ husband, Patrick McNally; three nieces, Debbie Poll Gordon, Karen McNally Loeding, and Cathy McNally Wolowicz; two nephews, John Poll and Patrick McNally; and her goddaughter, Karen Morris.


William Powers Jr., President
The University of Texas at Austin


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

This memorial resolution was prepared by a special committee consisting of Professors Madeline Maxwell (Chair), Thomas P. Marquardt, and Pamela Bell.