Most people know Robert Hanson as the smiling face behind the printing and postal counter who is always willing to help us with whatever issues we are having with our packages, but like many UD alumni, he has an interesting story that most people aren’t aware of.
Hanson was born in New Jersey, but he spent most of his childhood in Phoenix. When he graduated from high school, he wanted to take a break from school and decided to get a two-year degree in heavy equipment mechanics. After getting his degree, he had several different jobs, including being an ambulance driver.
Fast forward several years, and he decided to return to college because he wanted to be a teacher, and after looking through various college catalogs, he decided UD would be the place for him.
So what did the heavy equipment mechanic decide to study at UD?
“I thought of mathematics, actually. I was doing phenomenally well in mathematics, but I wanted something that had a human element to it, … and English literature, specifically poetry, has that,” said Hanson.
Some of his favorite memories during his time here include spring Rome, cafeteria conversations, fencing club and singing in stairwells with fellow members of the Collegium Cantorum. He credits Mrs. Marilyn Walker for making him a singer by choosing him as a member of the newly-formed Collegium. His love of music is still evident as he can often be heard playing music at the post office.
When asked about his music, Hanson said: “It’s very eclectic. I tend to stick with the Baroque period, because that’s the most universally appealing. But every once in a while I get on a bent … the other day I was listening to a Russian quintet of folk music. And the nice thing about that is you can disengage the mind … and have the music around you supporting you.”
One regret Hanson had about his time at UD was that he missed out on some classes since he had some transfer credits and only spent three years at UD instead of four. He didn’t get to take any electives, and judging from how much he enjoyed all his classes, he knows he would have enjoyed another year at UD.
Hanson went on to get a master’s degree in English from UTA so that he could become a teacher, but his education there did not compare to UD’s.
“My undergraduate classes [at UD] were more challenging, more in-depth, than [those] graduate level classes.”
He eventually returned to UD and got a master’s degree in theology. After graduating with his masters he and his family moved to Arizona where he continued to teach for a while. But he began to realize that his salary as a teacher would not be enough to send his kids to college, so he started working in the business world. He started an entry-level job at OfficeMax making copies, and within two years he was the Assistant Manager at his location, where he gained valuable experience for his current position at Printing and Postal. After that job he also worked in real estate, where he was honored as Rookie of the Year.
After living in Arizona for fourteen years, he and his family were glad for an opportunity to return to the DFW area in 2020, living within two blocks of their old house here. He loves the vibrant, family-centered community at UD, and how “you can talk about Aristotle and diapers in the same breath.”
Hanson feels like working at the post office fits him well because he understands the UD community as a former student and has experience in the copying industry. For him, the aspect of his job that is both the most challenging but the most engaging is how there is never a dull moment. He is constantly shifting between tasks every two to five minutes, but he loves the customer service aspect.
“Here at UD, I’ve never had a bad customer. I’ve had people who know what they want, and they sometimes state it very directly. [But] it’s always polite, and within that UD spirit.”
Ultimately, Hanson feels like his UD education has had a positive impact on everything he has done since graduating from here, because it is not training for a specific job, but is rather teaching you how to appreciate and understand the world around you.