Jessica Whitter Hanson, 2006 graduate of Lee University, was named the Department of Language and Literature’s Alumna of the Year at Lee’s 2019 Homecoming celebration.
“Jessica Hanson exemplifies our department mission,” said Dr. Sara Ortega-Higgs, professor of Spanish and French at Lee. “We are proud to send forth students who not only are highly prepared to thrive in the academic and/or the professional fields, but who also find an enduring frame of meaning and purpose for their life within their language learning.”
Hanson earned a double major in Spanish language and communications, with an emphasis in journalism at Lee. Following graduation, she obtained her master’s degree in Spanish language and literature from the University of Tennessee. After graduation both Hanson and her husband Josh, a 2008 Lee alum, felt the call of the Lord to the mission field. They became directors of the Casa Shalom Orphanage ministry, which is currently home to 95 children from across the country of Guatemala. As directors of the orphanage, they supervise a staff of both Guatemalan national and missionary workers.
Since 2017, Hanson has traveled extensively throughout Latin America as a representative of Serving Orphans Worldwide to help provide training and consulting for orphanages.
“Jessica Hanson and her family found meaning and purpose in their lives by becoming advocates for the defenseless, a voice for the silenced, and by welcoming Guatemalan children, who have experienced unimaginable brokenness and human loss, to a peaceful home to call their own and to thrive in,” said Ortega-Higgs.
While at Lee, Hanson was also involved in Sigma Delta Pi, was president of the Spanish Language Honor Society, and was editor-in-chief of the Lee Clarion for two years.
According to Dr. José Minay, associate professor of Spanish, Hanson is the first Spanish major to be recognized with this award.
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