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Distinguished alumnus: Stay active, keep learning

The distinguished alumnus of the College of Human Sciences and Education has some wise advice for NDSU students as they move from college into the workplace.

“Stay active and continue to learn,” said Aaron Hansen, BS ’97, interior design. “Participate in professional organizations and be connected with technology, your supervisor, your design team and clients. Don’t be stationary; become a multi-talented individual.”

Hansen, a shareholder, principal and certified interior designer for LHB Education Studio in Duluth, Minnesota, offered his insights to students during a campus visit Oct. 8. He met with the dean’s cabinet, students, faculty and participated in an Honor’s Day celebration.

In his work, Hansen’s focus is educational interior designs from early childhood through 12th grade and higher education projects. Some of his clients have included Minnesota state university campuses, Lake Superior College, Bemidji State University, Inver Hills Community College, Pine Technical and Community College, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Wisconsin-Superior and University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

He also is active in his community as a member of the Advisory Council at Glensheen, the Historic Condon Estate, in Duluth.

“My college career gave me a great base knowledge in interior design. It gave me a better understanding and the basic skills for hand drafting and design – it’s a piece of art to a certain degree,” Hansen said, noting his time at NDSU also introduced him to email and Computer Aided Design, or CAD. “NDSU also connected me to a yearlong internship at By Design in Fargo. That was key to my overall development for my professional career.”

Among his most vivid collegiate memories are the last Bison football game at Dacotah Field and the first game in the Fargodome. He also recalls being a volunteer sandbagger during 1997 flood, and then needing to stay up 72 straight hours to finish his senior thesis.

Hansen remains a dedicated alumnus, serving on the NDSU College of Human Development and Education’s Board of Visitors for almost a decade. He also has participated in scholarship interviews, presented a seminar for interior design students and raised funds through the Bison Bidders Bowl. He also co-wrote “Interior Design Using Autodesk Revit,” which is used for study at NDSU.

In many ways, he sees his commitment to the university as honoring the wishes of his late wife, Lisa, who wanted him to reconnect with his roots.

“To be selected as the college’s Distinguished Alumnus is a tremendous honor,” he said. “To be recognized by peers that I’ve known for 28 years, I’ve really come full circle. I came here as a freshman, continuing through my professional career and now to be honored by a university that I have the greatest respect and appreciate for – this is special.”

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North Dakota State University
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