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Susan Hanson

To mark the 75th anniversary of the first class of undergraduate women admitted to Clark in 1942, all three recipients in 2018 — Commencement speaker Hauwa Ibrahim, Susan Hanson, and Christine Ortiz — were women.


Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting Susan Hanson, Distinguished University Professor Emerita in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University.

Dr. Hanson, your contributions to the field of geography — and Clark University — are legendary. In 1981, you joined the Clark faculty, where your inspirational teaching and advising led your students to induct you as an honorary member of Gamma Theta Upsilon. You have served as University Professor and Director of the School of Geography, and received the School of Geography’s Exemplary Teaching Award in 1991. Your career affirms that at Clark University world-class scholarship, transformative teaching, and student mentorship go hand-in-hand.

The 2008 Association of American Geographers conference dedicated three panels to honoring your work, and five of the papers presented were subsequently published. Your career has been called “an empowering example of a collage of woven-together life experiences, substantive research interests, feminist values and progressive professional practices,” and your fellow geographer (and Clark alumna) Marianna Pavlovskaya described you as “one of the most accomplished academics in U.S. geography today.”

Dr. Hanson, your research as an urban geographer, focusing particularly on women and work, has earned you numerous accolades from your peers. A Guggenheim Fellowship, the Van Cleef Medal, and the Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography top the list of honors you’ve received, along with being the first female geographer to be elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The American Association of Geographers, of which you are a past president, awarded you lifetime achievement honors in 2003 — and you’re still going strong.

Mr. President, on behalf of the trustees, faculty, students, and staff of Clark University, I request that the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, be conferred on Susan Hanson.