The annual Distinguished Alumni Reception recognizes the accomplishments of an exemplary alum from each of the academic programs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Those honored are nominated by department chairs, faculty and staff, based on criteria that includes professional accomplishments, awards, philanthropy, service and contributions to the college and university community. In Fall 2017, the Department of Economics honored William Hansen.
Since his time at George Mason University, William has devoted his career to leadership in kindergarten through postsecondary education. He has worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, shaping education policy at the highest levels.
William has served in a number of leadership roles in the U.S. Department of Education, including as the Deputy Secretary of Education and as the department’s chief operating officer, managing 5,000 employees and a 100-Williamion-dollar annual budget. He played a key role in developing and implementing legislation that enhanced accountability in education and helped the Education Department earn its first-ever independent clean financial audit.
His private sector experience includes service as chairman and CEO of the Washington, D.C., consulting firm Madison Education Group and as president and chairman of Scantron Corporation and Global Scholar. He also co-founded, with former U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, an education-related consulting firm.
In his current role as CEO of Strada Education Network, William oversees a nonprofit organization that enhances student success in college — or other postsecondary programs — and connects graduates to rewarding careers.
He has served as a member of four state education commissions in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and was appointed as a commissioner on the National Commission on the Cost of Education. He has been a part of many advisory boards related to education, including the board of the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Southern Virginia University, The Education Sector, Reading Is Fundamental, the National Guard Youth Foundation, and ThanksUSA. He currently serves on the board of the Forum for the Future of Higher Education, The National Urban League, Million Meal Movement, United Way of Central Indiana, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management at BYU.