BiographyHarold Carsten Hanson (LC 1940) was born September 1, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois.
After early schooling in Chicago at the Carl Schurz High School and night school at
North Park College, Hanson attended Luther College. He graduated with a BA degree in
biology and then received his MS in Wildlife Management from the University of
Wisconsin in 1943. In 1958, Hanson received his PhD in Ecology and Physiology from
the University of Illinois. Dr. Hanson died at the age of 85 on March 17, 2003 in Urbana,
Dr. Hanson’s major research focused on wild geese, specifically Canada geese. He
received the first research grant awarded by the Arctic Institute of North America. He
was a Guggenheim fellow from 1965-1967. During his career, he was part of numerous
field studies and expeditions to Greenland, the central Canadian Arctic and Hudson Bay
region, and Mexico. He was an adjunct Professor of Zoology at the University of Illinois
for much of his working life and also worked for many years as a wildlife specialist for
the Illinois Natural History Survey, retiring as a Professional Scientist in 1992.
Dr. Hanson published more than fifty scientific papers and wrote several monographs.
His most noteworthy contribution was the rediscovery of the giant Canada goose (Branta
canadensis maxima) which was believed to be extinct for over three decades. His book
The Giant Canada Goose documents this finding. This title plus his other book, The
Biogeochemistry of Blue, Snow, and Ross’ Geese, received The Wildlife Society’s
Terrestrial Publication Award in 1967 and 1978 respectively. In 1970, he was awarded
the Distinguished Service Award by Luther College. During the last 13 years of his life,
he worked on a multi-volume treatise, "The White-cheeked Geese" that examines the
identification of various races of Canada geese and correlates geology, climate and
Canada goose evolution.
Source of Biographyhttps://www.luther.edu/fine-arts/collections/named/Hanson-Collection/