Dr. Hansen was born in Cache Valley, Utah, in 1920. He entered Utah State University as an undergraduate in 1938 and studied for three years, before serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In preparation for graduate study, he transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a B.S. in Chemistry, a M.S. in Biochemistry, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.
Dr. Hansen spent two years as an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, followed by seven years as an associate professor and professor in Biochemistry Department at the University of Illinois. In 1957, he moved to Michigan State University, where he served eleven years as chairman of the Biochemistry Department.
In 1968, Dr. Hansen accepted the appointment of academic vice president at Utah State University and returned to Cache Valley. He was soon named Provost and served the university with distinction in both administrative and academic areas, with appointments in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, as well as the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Dr. Hansen was instrumental in improving campus-wide instruction and research activities, and presided over a twenty-fold increase in the university’s research budget. In 1985, he was named USU Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Dr. Hansen retired from Utah State in 1994.
During his career, Dr. Hansen published more than 100 articles in professional journals and more than 20 books and book chapters. He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Nutrition and received the Sesquicentennial Award from the University of Michigan and the Borden Award from the American Institute of Nutrition. He was a Resident Scholar at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. He served on the United States (U.S.) Food and Nutrition Board of the American Medical Association, Council of Foods and Nutrition, and the National Nutrition Consortium. He further chaired a National Study Section of the U.S. Public Health Service and acted as Consultant to the Army Medical Research and Development Command and Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense.
Dr. Hansen amassed vast international experience as a Consultant to the U.S. Public Health Service and the Kellogg Foundation, where he reviewed health and nutrition status in Turkey, Ecuador, Thailand, Venezuela, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil.
Dr. Hansen married fellow Smithfield, Utah, native Anna Lou Rees in 1943. Together they raised three sons: Roger, Ted, and Lars.