Norma Hanson to be inducted into Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Feb. 21, 2011) — Norma Hanson will be inducted into the Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame during an 11:30 a.m. ceremony Saturday, Feb. 26. The hall of fame ceremony serves as the official kickoff to the BSU women’s studies program’s month-long series of events to celebrate March as Women’s History Month.

The event, with a theme of “Our History is Our Strength,” will be held at the Beaux Arts Ballroom in Bemidji State’s upper Hobson Memorial Union. Tickets for the event, which includes a luncheon, are available for $20, or $15 for senior citizens and students. Tickets must be purchased by Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Cheri Rigister, who won a Minnesota Book Award for her autobiography, “Packinghouse Daughter: A Memoir,” will be the keynote speaker fro the luncheon. Register, currently a writer and teacher of creative non-fiction at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, taught at the universities of Idaho and Minnesota and is considered a pioneer in the field of women’s studies both in the United States and Sweden.

Now in its 13th year, the Hall of Fame is a collaborative project sponsored by the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Fund, a component of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and Bemidji State University. The Hall of Fame provides permanent recognition for women of northwestern Minnesota who have made significant contributions to art, athletics, business, government, philanthropy, humanities, science or education.

Hanson’s induction will bring membership in the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame to 25.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available at the Bemidji State University cashier’s office. For more information, call (218) 755-3993 or (877) 346-2539.

For more information or to receive a complete schedule of Women’s History Month events, please contact the BSU Women’s Center at (218) 755-3771. Information is also available on the Northwest Minnesota Foundation’s Web site at

About the NW Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame
Hosted on the fourth floor of the A.C. Clark Library at Bemidji State University, the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes significant achievements of lasting value to society or significant groups within the northern Minnestoa region or to the progress and freedom of women. Portraits and a record of each inductee’s contributions are added to the Hall of Fame following each year’s induction ceremonies, and a traveling display is available to be loaned to interested groups in the region.


Norma Hanson was born in Backus, Minn., and moved to Minneapolis following high school. She attended vocational school for office management and became a Wave in the Naval Air Reserve. Norma married Lynn Hanson in 1953 and continued to work in Minneapolis where their son, Michael, was born.

The family moved to Goodridge, Minn. in 1955, and purchased a 160 acre farm; there, they grew small grain crops and raised hogs and began their registered Ayrshire dairy herd as members of the state and national Ayrshire Breeders Association. The farm eventually expanded to 880 acres, which they still farm.

Hanson has been a member of various Agri-Women groups to help bring agricultural issues to the attention of lawmakers and the general public. She also has been a board member for the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, helping make the fund a reality along with director Ruth Edevold to improve the lives of women and girls in northwest Minnesota.

During the 1960s Hanson helped found the Good Hope 4-H Club, began a saddle club, a square dance club, and was a charter member of a snowmobile club. She continues to be a member of the Deer Park Garden Club and is involved with the District Horticulture Society.

Through Hanson’s efforts, much of the history of the Goodridge area has been written and preserved through the Goodridge Area Historical Society. She has often been the driving force behind many Goodridge celebrations, including writing and directing dinner theater presentations.

Hanson also served several terms on local school boards while regularly promoting agriculture during March Ag Week, presenting to elementary school classes. Later, she established the Coya Knutson Scholarship at Northland Community and Technical College.

She also has been very active in politics, holding the position of Marshall County chairperson for the Minnesota DFL party for many years. She has been a Minnesota delegate to several Democratic National Conventions, and in 1968 was a DFL candidate her district’s seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame induction is only the latest in a long string of honors bestowed upon Hanson. She also has been honored with Farm and Ranch Guide Country Women of the Year, Red River Valley Homemaker, Minnesota Purebred Dairy Cattle Association Outstanding Breeders, Red River Valley Dairyman Association recognition and most recently was inducted into the DFL Women’s Hall of Fame and DFL Women of Distinction.

** bio taken from submitted material