July 5, 1879, Logan, Kansas.
January 4, 1968, Logan, Kansas.
Pleasant View Cemetery, Logan, Kansas.
Daughter of Peter Hansen and Alpha Ama Gray, Kate graduated from high school in Beloit, Kansas, in 1896. After earning a teaching license, her first position was at a rural school just east of Marvin, Kansas, in 1896. From 1896–97, she taught and served as assistant principal of the grade school in Logan. In 1899, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas, to attend the University of Kansas (KU). After earning a music teacher’s certificate in 1901, she took a teaching job in the Denver, Colorado, public schools, where she taught both music and German. Hansen returned to KU in 1902, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1905.
Hansen was active in religious organizations, particularly the Young Women’s Christian Association. In February 1905, she was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa key. After graduating, she returned to Denver to teach, until she qualified as a missionary teacher. Hansen and her friend and college classmate, Lydia Lindsey, were appointed by the Reformed Church in the United States to teach at a girls’ school in Japan. They left America in 1907 for the Miyagi Girls’ School in Sendai, Japan, 200 miles north of Tokyo. They would be connected to this school for 45 years, helping it grow from a high school into a fully accredited liberal arts college and music conservatory.
Hansen returned to KU in 1912, and received her Bachelor of Music degree in 1913. Back in Japan, she organized a conservatory course in music, and served as Dean of that department until retirement. She was also acting president of Miyagi College for in 1916–18, 1925–26, and 1934–35. In 1926, she entered the graduate school of the Chicago Musical College and received her Masters of Music with honors in 1927.
In 1941, both Hansen and Lindsey returned to America on the last boat to reach a U. S. port before the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, Hansen lectured and researched in the U.S. In 1947, she and Lindsey returned to Japan to continue teaching at the Miyagi Conservatory. In the post-war period Hansen spent much time in relief and reconstruction work. Miyagi College had lost seven buildings in the American bombing of Sendai.
Hansen and Lindsey were honored in 1951 when the Emperor of Japan conferred on each of them a citation and the Fourth Order of the Sacred Treasure for outstanding work in women’s education. In 1955, KU and the KU Alumni Association honored each of them with a Citation of Distinguished Service. In 1951, they returned to Logan, Kansas, where Hansen lived the rest of her life.