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English Department
Wendell Phillips Center 151
Cynthia Dobbs
Department Chair
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211

Arlen J. Hansen Writing Contest and Scholarship

The Hansen Prize is given in honor of Arlen J. Hansen, who taught English at Pacific from 1969 until shortly before his death in 1993.

Professor Hansen fascinated, provoked, and shaped the minds of a generation of students. He is the author of several highly regarded books, including:

  • Expatriate Paris: A Cultural and Literary Guide to Paris of the 1920's. New York: Arcade, 1990.
  • Gentlemen Volunteers: The Story of the American Ambulance Drivers in the Great War, August 1914- September 1918. New York: Arcade, 1996.

The English Department awards the Hansen prize each year with thanks to John Valentine, who graduated from Pacific in 1974 with a major in English. John Valentine served as an attorney in Missouri and credited much of his success to Prof. Hansen.  He sponsored the Hansen prize in memory of his teacher and friend until his own death in 2002; his widow continues this tradition of honoring Prof. Hansen by sending annual support for this award.  Upon Mr. Valentine's death, his friends and classmates, Russ and Sue Leatherby, endowed a scholarship in John Valentine's memory which continues the tradition established with the Hansen prize and often recognizes past Hansen recipients with the Valentine Scholarship.

Past winners include:

  • Carolyn Lee: 2019
  • Diana Medina: 2018
  • Joslynn Howard: 2017
  • Alexandra Rooney: 2016
  • Alea Freman: 2015
  • Simon Choi: 2014
  • Kelsey Belomy: 2013 (pictured, above right)
  • Danielle Procope: 2012 (pictured, above center)
  • Hamila Lucas: 2011
  • Jillian Hall: 2010
  • Victor Inzunza: 2009 (pictured, above left)
  • Katelyn McGehee: 2008
  • Nicolle Matthews: 2007
  • Josef Nguyen: 2006

  • Lex Scheuble: 2005
  • Holly Lutsenki: 2004
  • John Allen: 2003
  • Carl Johannsen: 2002
  • Richard Stine: 2001
  • Leslie Kramer: 2000
  • Virginia Taynton Giddens: 1999
  • Jessica H. Jordan: 1998
  • Jessica H. Jordan: 1997
  • Anne-Marie Cook: 1996
  • Matthew de la Pena: 1995
  • Nathaneal Reveal: 1993-94
  • Michael Kettleman: 1992-93


  1. To be eligible: The student may be any major but must be enrolled (as per Office of the Registrar) at Pacific (not necessarily COP) with sophomore or junior standing as of spring semester.
  2. Determining Factor: The student must show a unique and compelling appreciation of the nuance, richness, and evocative force of the English language, by demonstrating potential talent either:

    1. As a writer of any sort of original text-diarist, essayist, journal-keeper, maker of scripts, playwright, story-teller, letter-writer-that is, as a wordsmith of any kind, or
    2. As a critic-interpreter, analyst, extrapolator, explicator, etc.-of literary language or of literary constructs.
  3. Process: The student must submit two pieces of her or his own writing:

    1. One sample must be at least four months old and may be of any length, written for any, or no, occasion or audience-for example, a journal entry from a backpacking expedition, a paper written for a history class last year, a letter to an old boyfriend, a high-school book review, a poem written in despair a couple of years ago.
    2. The other must be recent, no older than six weeks, written for any, or no, occasion or audience, and must be complete without exceeding two pages-for example, a petition to the Dean, a letter regarding this scholarship, a brief analysis of Hamlet written last month for an English class, a diary entry about (sigh) last weekend, a sci-fi short story based on a weird dream.