Behind the leadership of Jon Hanson, the emeritus chairman of the National Football Foundation, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society witnessed strong growth for the seventh consecutive year, naming a total of 711 players from 260 schools as members of the society and marking the highest school participation in the program’s history.
“The NFF’s mission is to build leaders through football, and this year’s Hampshire Honor Society members stand as great examples of the leadership qualities learned through football,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “Each of these young men has showcased a strong desire to succeed on and off the football field, and we are certainly proud to honor them for their accomplishments as the next generation of our nation’s leaders. I would like to thank Jon Hanson for his foresight in launching this important initiative.”
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. Since its inception, 4,089 student-athletes have earned membership, including 711 in 2013, 721 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 new procedures for governance and management. His many initiatives 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 his 12 years as our chairman, Jon Hanson created a lasting legacy,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell. “It’s fitting that we are
able to honor hundreds of college players each year in his company’s name because he has done so much to educate kids over the past several decades.”
Over the past 50 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 chairman of the board of HealthSouth Corp. In addition, Hanson served as NFF Chairman for 12 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.