In memoriam: Sunny Hansen

L-R: Sunny and Tor Hansen attended the 2019 CEHD Scholarship Luncheon.

Sunny Hansen, professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology’s counseling and student personnel psychology program (CSPP, now counselor education), died December 21, 2020. Professor Emeritus John Romano (her colleague from CSPP) provided the following tribute:

“Sunny Hansen, a long-time leader in counseling and career development passed away on Dec 21, 2020, after a long period of declining health. Sunny was a faculty member in the counseling and student personnel psychology (now counselor education) program in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University Minnesota, retiring about 20 yrs ago. She was a leader advancing the causes of women’s rights, social/ethnic equality, and social justice within her specialty of career development. Her book “Integrative Life Planning” (1997, Jossey-Bass) explores these topics.  The Journal of Counseling and Development published a 2007 paper on her life and career [vol 85 (2)] authored by (fellow CSPP Emeritus Professor) Tom Skovholt and her doctoral advisers. She was past-president of American Counseling Association, and a fellow of Divsion 17. Sunny and her husband Tor were noted for hosting regular gatherings of friends and colleagues at their home on the shores of White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The profession has lost a giant in our field, but her impact remains.” 

Professor Emeritus John Romano

The family has asked that memorials be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the University of Minnesota’s BORN FREE scholarship fund. Established at the University of Minnesota through the generosity of Sunny Hansen and her husband, Tor. The fund honors Professor Hansen’s career as a faculty member and her dedication to the field of career development. The BORN FREE Scholarship is awarded to a graduate student working in the field of career development.

Make an online donation to the BORN FREE scholarship fund.
-OR- Send a check addressed to UMF Fund #4629 to:
University of Minnesota Foundation, PO Box 860266
Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266


Listen to a talk on Women’s Career Needs with Dr. Sunny Hansen, which aired over the University radio station KUOM on May 3, 1982, on the public affairs program Equal Voice.

Read a recent tribute to Professor Hansen in Counseling Today.

Read Professor Hansen’s obituary as published in the Star Tribune on December 27, 2020.