Jason LeVasseur (above), the first performer to ever grace the Hansen stage, and mentalist Christopher Carter (below), IWU class of 1987, will perform during anniversary events on Friday, Jan. 12.
A swimming pool (above) once occupied the building's lower level, today the site of Tommy's grille (below).
January 10, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Illinois Wesleyan University’s Hansen Student Center turns five years old on Friday, Jan. 12. The anniversary celebration, which will begin the week leading up to the event, will include live performances, movies and other activities, as well as specials at the Bookstore, Tommy’s grille and Hatties coffee shop, all located within the building.
The celebration, sponsored by Student Senate and other student groups, includes a visit from IWU alum Tom Hansen, ’82, as well as Jason LeVasseur, the first performer to ever grace the Hansen stage.
Kevin Clark, assistant dean of students and current manager of Hansen, the Memorial Center, the Office of Student Activities and the Student Volunteer Center, expressed his excitement for the upcoming anniversary: “I have been at Hansen since its open and have seen many changes throughout the past five years. The experience has been amazing. We’re really looking forward to this event.”
The Hansen building, affectionately referred to as IWU’s “living room,” is known for its versatility. “The building is always changing. There are never two days that are the same,” Clark said.
Living up to its name, the building has been known to host a blood drive, human rights panel, movie and musician all within one week. “Five out of seven days a week there is something going on, whether it be formal or informal,” Clark said.
Some noteworthy guests throughout Hansen’s history include Dave Barry, Gavin DeGraw, Demetri Martin and Dave Coulier. One of Hansen’s secrets is that each guest that visits the building signs a part of the wall in the storage room. While each guest donates an autographed headshot, this private piece, according to Clark, “helps add to Hansen’s history.”
The building itself has won architecture awards for design and function and has been praised for its look and multi-functionality. While it is innovative in its integration of sound, light and resources to give off a look and feel of ease and comfort, Hansen also holds much University history. The floor is the original basketball court from when the building served as the Memorial Gymnasium, and the basement space now filled by Tommy’s grille was once a pool. “Other buildings on campus are not like this. Other buildings in the country are not like this,” Clark said. “Visiting speakers and artists are blown away.”
In the end, it is the students who make the building what it is. “Hansen looks like it did when it first opened. Our students are dedicated to keeping it an important part of the campus.”
Contact: Amanda ReCupido, (309) 556-3181