The past, present, and future: Glenn Hansen reflects as he heads toward retirement

Reanna Comiso, Features Editor

During his life, Glenn Hansen, photography professor at the College of DuPage (COD), has devoted time to capturing the everyday. As he prepares to leave the college and head into retirement, a recent gallery showed allowed the audience to take a look into his life through his art.

In January, Hansen’s works appeared in the Cleve Carney Gallery, where the audience viewed 60 of Hansen’s photos. The gallery included images from various places and objects, each with a different feel. Many of the images were taken while in the car, occasionally stopping to capture the things seen along the way.

For example, there were four taken in 2017 on the side of a highway on a road trip. One of the photos is of an old, beat up mailbox right next to a large plain. In the back, a large billboard can be seen, and it appears that those are some of the only things in the immediate area, illustrating a plain, but natural type of beauty.

Where the exhibit was only open for a short time, it took Hansen over a month of preparation and planning to create an exhibit he felt was ready for an audience. “A handful of images were already finished, but I made probably 50 new images for consideration,” said Hansen. “I began planning after Thanksgiving but didn’t begin final production until winter break. I spent almost every day of break printing and editing.”

Where his passion for photography played into his role as an educator, his other passion of teaching reflects into his photography. “Critical thinking and critiques are a large part of teaching,” Hansen said.  “This has led me to always be critical of my own work and never be complacent.”

Hansen was a student at COD himself before he went off to earn a degree in biology and chemistry at Northern Illinois University. He later earned a masters degree in photography from the Illinois Institute of Technology. After some time, he was influenced by the professors that he had while a student at COD and made the return to campus, but this time as an educator of photography.

Hansen was also the COD president of the faculty association from 2007-2008 with a second term from 2012-2016. He has become a beloved member of the COD community and will be remembered as such when he heads into retirement at the end of the spring semester. “Such leadership is difficult to replace and of course he will be missed in both the photography department and the faculty as a whole,” says Richard Jarman, professor of chemistry and president of the COD faculty association.

Despite retiring from teaching, he will not be retiring from his art. When asked where he believed his life was headed after he moves on from teaching, he says, “More photographic adventures, there are so many places to explore and photographs to make.”

Hansen’s impact on the college will be remembered going forward. A scholarship in his name, the Glenn Hansen Leadership Scholarship, will continue to be rewarded to students, continuing to make an impact on the lives of COD students.

The scholarship initially consists of two $500 scholarships, with one awarded each semester. Applicants must be enrolled of admitted to COD, have completed the FAFSA for the corresponding academic year and provide a personal response sharing their experience with community leadership and involvement.

Hansen’s work can also be found at, where his art can continue to be admired long after his retirement.