Announcing the Karen Hanson Memorial Scholarship

This week, we’re both pleased and saddened to announce the Karen Hanson Memorial Scholarship. We’re pleased to remember the wonderful, loving, gracious woman Karen was, but are continually saddened to see the adjective “memorial” follow her name.

Karen, or “Mrs. Hanson” as I knew her, was my English and History teacher both in junior high and high school. She won her first battle with cancer during my junior high years, but sadly passed away in 2010. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard she had passed.

If ever there was a true angel in my life, it was Mrs. Hanson. She saw potential and beauty in all her students. She was a devoted teacher, even through the exhaustion of chemotherapy. She rigorously trained us in grammar, even in the draconian bits one never thinks will be needed. She was a loving, devoted teacher both in and out of the classroom. She taught us to read great works of the written word with passion, because she was passionate, not only about Literature, but also about life.

Despite the hardships Mrs. Hanson encountered, she moved through them thoughtfully, lovingly, gracefully and with optimistic humor. She was an angel not only in the ways she directly blessed my life, but also through her example of profound humility, love, grace, hope and faith. Even today, I try to be the woman she believed I would grow up to be.

– Megan MacNeal, Creative Director 

The Karen Hanson Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was created in loving memory of Karen Hanson, amazing mother, wife, teacher and friend. Karen was taken from us too soon, but among the many lessons she taught us, it was to face life’s challenges with optimism and humor.

Karen Hanson with her daughter, Beth

Karen with her beloved daughter Beth

The Karen Hanson Memorial Scholarship is for anyone planning to or currently pursuing studies in Literature, either at the undergraduate, graduate or post-graduate level. The winner will be awarded $350.

Essay Submission

In order to apply, applicants must submit a 250+ word essay responding to the following prompt:

Life is full of challenges and struggles, and one of the great things literature can do is help us move through and past them with humor. In 250 words or more, describe how an education in Literature can help us move through life with greater joy. Submissions may be written in prose or may be submitted in the form of a short (hopefully humorous!) story. 

All essays must be submitted to beginning each year on September 1 and received no later than November 30. Out of the pool of applicants, we will choose three finalists by January 1. Finalists will be chosen based on the coherency and persuasiveness of their essays. We will then notify the finalists and post the three finalists’ essays on our blog and on our Facebook page. The winner will be announced January 31 on Facebook. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at