Orval Hansen - Alumni Hall of Fame Recipient 1987
Orval Hansen, a United States congressman, worked diligently for the citizens of Idaho. During his career, he also actively supported the University of Idaho. Hansen, a native of Firth, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech from UI in 1950 and a law degree from George Washington University in 1954, before completing a year of post-graduate study at the London School of Economics at the University of London, which was under a Rotary Foundation Fellowship.
Upon graduation, he entered private law practice in Idaho Falls. First elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1956, Hansen served four terms and was the House Majority Leader in 1961. He served one term in the Idaho Senate before being elected as the United States Representative in Congress from Idaho's Second Congressional District. He served three terms in Congress, and during that time, he was a member of the House Committee on Education; Labor, House Administration Committee and the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. He also was a member of the Task Force on Childhood Education of the Education Commission of the States. He visited Vietnam as a member of a House select committee to study developments in Southeast Asia.
His contributions go far beyond his elected positions. Hansen is a member of the board of trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Center. He was chairman of the National Education Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Aerospace Education Foundation as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Capital Historical Society.
Currently, Hansen is a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C. In 1986, he received a doctorate in political science from George Washington University. He is the founder and president of the Columbia Institute for Political Research, a Washington-based organization engaged in a variety of public policy research activities.
A man of varied interests, he has climbed mountains in Nepal, Mexico and Ecuador. He enjoys running, having completed thirteen marathon races since 1979. He and his wife, June, a professional actress, are the parents of seven children.