Title

Exhibit - President John Hannah: A Story of a Man Prior to his Presidency

President John Hannah was born on October 9th, 1902 in Grand Rapids Michigan, where he grew up on a farm with his family as they raised flowers, vegetables, and chickens. As a young boy he was responsible for caring for his family’s chickens and was successful in exhibiting Black Orpingtons at local fairs. During high school he assisted as the secretary of West Michigan Poultry Association and would later move on to be the secretary of the State Poultry Association. Hannah attended Grand Rapids South High School before he moved onto the Grand Rapids Junior College, where he would then transfer to the University of Michigan for law. Although Hannah had interests in being a lawyer, he was an expert in chicken husbandry and served as a teacher for Michigan farmers. His upbringing served a great role in Hannah’s journey to Michigan State University.

During the winter of the 1921/1922 school year, a member of the Agricultural Extension Staff and head of the Poultry Department at Michigan State by the name of E.C Foreman visited the University of Michigan to meet with John Hannah. Foreman offered Hannah the opportunity to earn a degree in agriculture at Michigan State, and a job as extension poultryman with an annual salary of $2,500. Hannah transfer to Michigan State from the University of Michigan and received a bachelors a year later.

While attending Michigan State, Hannah was a compassionate fan of the college’s football team and enjoyed to go to all of the games. He was familiar with the players and coaches from his involvement with the team. During this time, football players were not awarded any type of scholarships or compensation for their extracurricular activities and therefore had to provide many things for themselves. Hannah recognized that he had an apartment that needed taking care of and there were football players with needs that needed to be met. He often had a football player in need living with him who would help with cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, and various other tasks in return for Hannah providing a place for them to live.

In 1933 Hannah was president-elect of the International Baby Chick Association and it played a crucial role in the drafting of a fair trade code that protected hatcheries against competition from hatcheries that lacked good morals. The new code would prevent distorted advertisement, set a minimum size for hatching eggs, erect health standards, require that chicks be sold at or above the cost of production, and managed hours and wages for workers. The fair trade code was signed into law in late 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hannah then left Michigan State to set up the Kansas City offices of the bureau that would enforce the new code.

President Robert Shaw initiated Hannah’s return to Michigan State by offering him a job as secretaryship of the college and of the State Board. Although Hannah was offered many jobs with annual salaries as much as $18,000, he turned them down and accepted the far less annual salary of $4,200 at Michigan State because he cared far more about the college than he did about money. While working as the secretary of the college and the State Board, he worked with state legislature to ensure more funding with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and with the State Board of Agriculture to keep them informed about the college’s growing needs. Hannah was instrumental in convincing President Shaw and the Board of the College to invest in additional land for the future expansion of the college. It is at this time that the campus’ boundaries of Hagadorn and Harrison were put into place. The land between the east and west boundaries would all be obtained only through private negotiation and no methods of condemnation would be used. Throughout Hannah’s time at the college before he became the eleventh president and during his time served as president, 7,000 acres were acquired by the college.
Exhibit created by Kim Toorenaar, November 2012.
Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections.

Related Objects

Clifton Wharton with John Hannah, 1969
Clifton Wharton with John Hannah, 1969
1969
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Contact sheet of five pictures of John Hannah, date unknown
Contact sheet of five pictures of John Hannah, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Falcone Making Half-Time Plans, 1955
Falcone Making Half-Time Plans, 1955
1955
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Falcone Making Half-Time Plans, 1955
Falcone Making Half-Time Plans, 1955
1955
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MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Farm Mechanization centennial ribbon cutting, 1955
Farm Mechanization centennial ribbon cutting, 1955
1955
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MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Four photographs of John Hannah, date unknown
Four photographs of John Hannah, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah and his family posing at the Cowles House, date unknown
Hannah and his family posing at the Cowles House, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah at a Poultry Club exhibit, 1957
Hannah at a Poultry Club exhibit, 1957
1957
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah at the University of Nigeria, 1960
Hannah at the University of Nigeria, 1960
1960
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah at the groundbreaking of Oakland University, 1958
Hannah at the groundbreaking of Oakland University, 1958
1958
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah greets a crowd of students, 1953
Hannah greets a crowd of students, 1953
January 1953
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah in front of the Administration Building, date unknown
Hannah in front of the Administration Building, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah poses with Nigerian visitors, date unknown
Hannah poses with Nigerian visitors, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah speaking with Robert Shaw, date unknown
Hannah speaking with Robert Shaw, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah with campus map, 1964
Hannah with campus map, 1964
May 3, 1964
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Hannah's 25th Anniversary Banquet, date unknown
Hannah's 25th Anniversary Banquet, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Honors College Planners, 1957
Honors College Planners, 1957
1957
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John A. Hannah meets with Dr. George M. Johnson, 1968
John A. Hannah meets with Dr. George M. Johnson, 1968
1968
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah Observes signing of the Michigan State University Bill, 1955
John Hannah Observes signing of the Michigan State University Bill, 1955
1955
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah addresses new staff members, 1949
John Hannah addresses new staff members, 1949
1949
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah and Ralph Wills with license plates, 1954
John Hannah and Ralph Wills with license plates, 1954
1954
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah at a MSU bill signing, 1955
John Hannah at a MSU bill signing, 1955
1955
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MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah meets with Pakistani officials, 1961
John Hannah meets with Pakistani officials, 1961
1961
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah participates in a groundbreaking ceremony, date unknown
John Hannah participates in a groundbreaking ceremony, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah shakes Ngo Dinh Diem's hand
John Hannah shakes Ngo Dinh Diem's hand
Date: 1950-1959
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah with Nigerian officials, 1959
John Hannah with Nigerian officials, 1959
July 7, 1959
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah, 1964
John Hannah, 1964
May 3, 1964
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John Hannah, ca. 1960
John Hannah, ca. 1960
Date: 1960-1969
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
John and Sarah Shaw Hannah wedding portrait, 1938
John and Sarah Shaw Hannah wedding portrait, 1938
June 22, 1938
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
MSU President Hannah gives a speech, 1963
MSU President Hannah gives a speech, 1963
May 20, 1963
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah and his family walk in East Lansing, 1945
President Hannah and his family walk in East Lansing, 1945
1945
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah at the Unveiling of Sparty, June 9, 1945
President Hannah at the Unveiling of Sparty, June 9, 1945
June 9, 1945
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah is made an honorary member of Excalibur, 1959
President Hannah is made an honorary member of Excalibur, 1959
January 28, 1959
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah presents scholarships to students
President Hannah presents scholarships to students
Date: 1950-1959
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah surveys construction of the Library, 1955
President Hannah surveys construction of the Library, 1955
February 1955
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah with Eleanor Roosevelt, 1940
President Hannah with Eleanor Roosevelt, 1940
1940
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Hannah with members of the Nigeria Projects, ca. 1960
President Hannah with members of the Nigeria Projects, ca. 1960
Date: 1960-1969
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
President Harry S. Truman, Governor Williams, and John Hannah, 1960
President Harry S. Truman, Governor Williams, and John Hannah, 1960
1960
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Richard Nixon and President Hannah, 1957
Richard Nixon and President Hannah, 1957
1957
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Students meet with President Hannah, 1949
Students meet with President Hannah, 1949
October 17, 1949
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
The Hannahs disembark a plane, date unknown
The Hannahs disembark a plane, date unknown
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections
The Russian farm delegation and President Hannah, 1955
The Russian farm delegation and President Hannah, 1955
1955
Image: jpg
MSU Archives and Historical Collections