Designed to highlight football’s unique ability to develop tomorrow’s brightest leaders, The NFF Hampshire Honor Society honors the college football players from all divisions of play who each maintain a 3.2 GPA or better during their collegiate careers.
Looking to build on his legacy in promoting the scholar-athlete ideal, Hanson endowed in perpetuity the NFF Hampshire Honor Society through his real estate company, the Hampshire Companies, and its charitable arm, the Hampshire Foundation, in 2007, and since its inception 4,091 student-athletes have earned membership, including 703 in 2013, 731 in 2012, 687 in 2011, 620 in 2010, 564 in 2009, 441 in 2008 and 345 in 2007.
“Ever since legendary Army coach Red Blaik provided the first funds for the first National Scholar- Athlete Awards in 1959, the NFF has stood in the vanguard of promoting the scholar-athlete ideal,” said Hanson, the chairman and founder of The Hampshire Companies when he endowed the program. “It’s a great privilege to build on his legacy and endow The NFF Hampshire Honor Society, which greatly increases the number of the college student- athletes that the NFF can recognize each year. Nationwide there are thousands of football players excelling in the classroom, and they’re going on to be great leaders. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society allows us to shine a light on their hard work.”
As NFF Chairman, Hanson transformed the organization with initiatives that included launching Play It Smart, the NFF’s highly successful youth mentoring program for at-risk kids; spearheading an endowment campaign for the NFF’s prestigious National Scholar-Athlete Awards; and instituting the Divisional Hall of Fame program, which provides for induction of coaches and players from the divisional ranks of college football.
During the past 49 years, Hanson has built a stellar reputation in the business world. Under his leadership and entrepreneurial spirit, The Hampshire Companies has created a national real estate portfolio of more than $2 billion, and his reputation has earned him positions on numerous boards, including Prudential Financial Corp., Yankee Global Enterprises, CD&L, Pascack Community Bank and as the chairman of the board of the HealthSouth Corp. In addition, Hanson served as NFF Chairman for 13 years and currently as NFF Chairman Emeritus. In 2005, the NFF honored him with its Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor, for his contributions to our country and college football.