TWU community mourns passing of founding President Calvin Hanson

It is with great sadness that we announce that the University’s founding president Calvin Hanson, Litt.D., D. Hum., President Emeritus, passed away on Friday, May 10.

"Cal Hanson had a godly stature and a missional heart," said President Jonathan S. Raymond. "He was God's man to begin the miracle initiative of Trinity Western University fifty-one years ago. His prayers each day for TWU brought favour for years and helped bring the University to its present place as a remarkable means of God's grace in students' lives."

Hanson was an outstanding leader with an unwavering vision captured in his famous words, “If Christ is Lord nothing is secular.”  He and his wife Muriel contributed tirelessly to the growth of the college from 1962 to 1974. During times of difficulty, they were firm in their conviction that God had a future for the college. Read more about these early years and Hanson’s leadership here.

We extend our sincerest condolences to Muriel, his co—venturer, his children and grandchildren, and the many family and friends of Dr. Cal who will miss him greatly. Please pray for the family.

UPDATE: Calvin B. Hanson, TWU President Emeritus, Memorial Service

The Hanson Family and Trinity Western University invite you to a special memorial service celebrating the life of Calvin Hanson, M.A, Litt. D, D. Hum, founding President of Trinity Western University (1962–1974).

Saturday, June 1 at 2:00pm
David E. Enarson Gymnasium (TWU Campus)
22500 University Drive, Langley, BC
Reception to follow

Please indicate your intention to attend by contacting the University at

In lieu of gifts, the family requests donations be made to the University’s Hanson Chapel Fund.  Donations can be made online or by mailing a cheque to:

TWU Development Department
Att: Chapel Fund
22500 University Drive, Langley BC
V2Y 1Y1

Dr. Calvin B. Hanson not only was Trinity Western University’s founding president, but also one of its visionary pioneers. He was appointed founding president of Trinity Junior College in June 1961 when the institution existed as just a working committee that grew from an idea of the Evangelical Free Church of America.

Under Cal Hanson's leadership, TJC grew from 17 students in 1962 to 375 in 1974, with the new name of Trinity Western College adopted in 1971. Awarded the Doctor of Letters from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois in 1968, Dr. Hanson resigned in 1974 to hand over the reins to Dr. R. Neil Snider. Hanson served as Director of Internship and Field Education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School from 1978-1995 where he also taught Practical Theology courses.

Dr. Hanson attended Wheaton College and received a B.A. from Augsburg College. He was a missionary in Japan for 10 years prior to joining Trinity Junior College and had pastoral experience in a number of churches from Illinois to British Columbia. He also held an M.A. from the University of Minnesota where he was engaged in doctoral studies when he was elected founding president of Trinity Junior College. Dr. Hanson was often quoted saying, “If Jesus Christ is Lord, nothing is secular.” He underscored the need for integration of the spiritual with all of life – including the academic and the social aspects of life.

The inaugural issue of TWU’s yearbook, The Pillar, was dedicated to the University’s first president, the name taken from the title of Hanson’s first convocation address in September 1962. The first building on campus built by TWU, the chapel, was also named in his honour.

Dr. Hanson has authored a number of books including On the Raw Edge of Faith in 1977, an autobiographical account of the founding of Trinity Western and the events leading up to and covering the twelve years he was president. In addition, as an ordained minister, was a frequent speaker. In the spring of 1992, Dr. Hanson received an honourary Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa) from Trinity Western University and in 2006 he was given the title of President Emeritus for TWU on the occasion of the inauguration of the University’s third president, Jonathan S. Raymond, Ph.D. Dr. Hanson was living in Bellingham, Washington; he leaves behind his wife, Muriel, their three married children and five grandchildren.

TWU’s President Emeritus looks back at the school’s transformation from dairy farm to university campus.

Hear Calvin Hanson speak on the early vision and mission of TWU.

Watch TWU's 50th Anniversary video featuring Calvin Hanson.


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