A gift from Thomas R. Hanson, a 1960 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Engineering, and his spouse, Nancy A. Schneider Hanson, has endowed the Hanson Center for Communication within the college.

A majority of the Hansons' $800,000 gift has been used to support the center, which offers engineering students a comprehensive resource for developing communication skills as part of their engineering education.

"I learned during my career that there is a wide range of ability among engineers to speak and write effectively, and that the engineers with good communication skills stand out among their peers," said Tom Hanson, who lives in Hinsdale, Ill.

Tom Hanson, who grew up in Moline, Ill., graduated from the UI with a degree in mechanical engineering. The university is also where he met Nancy, who was a UI student at the time. Following graduation, Tom first worked with Union Carbide Corporation in Charleston, W. Va. Hanson's career then led him to The Trane Company in LaCrosse, Wis., and next to a struggling mechanical contracting company in Winston-Salem, N.C. Three years later, the Hansons moved to suburban Chicago, where Tom ran the regional sales office of York International.

In 1980, Hanson started his own company, Thermal Air Systems, which became Fleming Hanson Sales following a 1991 merger. The company, from which he sold his interests in 2000 upon retiring, contracts as exclusive sales representatives with various commercial and industrial heating and cooling manufacturers.

Nancy Schneider Hanson began her college studies at The University of Iowa where she met her husband, Tom. In 1961, she earned a bachelor's of arts degree in political science from the University of Charleston, followed by a master's degree in social work in 1979 from the University of Illinois at Chicago.