In remembrance of Keith L. Hansen, PhD, retired professor of biology

Dr. Keith L. Hansen, retired professor of biology at Stetson University, passed away peacefully on Dec. 27, 2020. He was 95.

Hansen was born in Gainesville, Florida, and, after serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, he and his future wife of 36 years, Nita Turner Hansen, enrolled in Stetson University. Keith graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree.

The following year, he earned a Master of Science degree from Stetson and accepted a one-year teaching position at his alma mater to cover for a professor’s sabbatical. Afterward, he enrolled in the University of Florida and earned his doctorate. With degree in hand, he accepted a position of Professor of Biology at Stetson for the salary of $3,400 for the academic year 1955-56.

Hansen’s career at Stetson produced many professional publications, honors, awards and the introduction of the first annual Earth Day celebration in 1972. He retired in 1988. Thanks to donations by his second wife, Genevieve Evans, and others, the Keith Hansen Laboratory, a fully computerized lab in Sage Hall, was dedicated in 1999.

After wife Jenny’s death in 2008, Hansen renewed a friendship with Joan Badzinski, a student from his early teaching years at Stetson. They married in 2010, and enjoyed attending concerts at Stetson and living life to the fullest. They shared 10 years together until health issues took both in 2020.

Daughter Cynthia Hansen of DeLand added that her entire family graduated from Stetson and her paternal grandfather, Rev. Thomas Hansen, was a university trustee.

In addition to Cynthia, Hansen is survived by a brother, Kenneth, daughter Kym Finn (Paul) and granddaughter, Emily Cara. A Celebration of Life will be held when it is safe to gather again. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a tree be planted or donated in Hansen’s name.