These comments are extracted from the citation for the Sidney Powers Memorial Medal, which Bruno Hanson received in 1996. It was written by his good friend Robert Gunn.
Bernold M. “Bruno” Hanson was a big, blustery, softhearted geologist who has given more of himself to his profession than anyone in recent memory. He was born on May 7, 1928 in Mayville North Dakota.
Bruno’s father was a Norwegian immigrant, as were his mother’s parents. They raised Bruno during the Depression on the stark plains of eastern North Dakota. This environment required the total commitment of every member of every family simply to survive. Bruno, who worked in the fields and at odd jobs in town, not only survived, he excelled – as evidenced by such accomplishments as becoming an Eagle Scout and working his way through the University of North Dakota. In his early days in North Dakota, he developed the resolve to attack life “leaning into the wind.”
Bruno earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering geology from the University of North Dakota in 1951 and was immediately hired by the Magnolia Petroleum Company to work in Midland, Texas. When he and other new recruits were asked to submit their photographs to the Midland office prior to their arrival, the district geologist’s secretary, Marilyn Miller, picked out Bruno’s picture and said, “I’ll take this one.” And she did. Bruno met Marilyn in June 1951 and they were married that October. Soon thereafter, having received a commission in the army upon graduation, he was called to active duty during the Korean War.
Upon leaving the army, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming where he received a Master’s degree in geology and then went to work for Humble Oil and Refining, working in Alaska and Midland where he became district geologist. He left in 1960 to become an Independent.
Bruno experienced the disappointment of drilling dry holes but, as a top-notch explorationist, he was involved in the discovery or extension of more than 20 oil and gas fields. His geological studies included many areas in the United States and 18 foreign countries. Through the publication of 21 geologically significant technical papers, he shared his vast experience and knowledge with others.
Bruno Hanson was active in his church, the Boy Scouts, and many scientific/professional societies, including the AAPG where he served as President in 1985-86 and was awarded the Association’s highest honor, the Sidney Powers Medal in 1996. He died on April 13, 2000 in Midland, Texas with Marilyn at his bedside.
The Bernold M. “Bruno” Hanson Memorial Environmental Grant is awarded each year to a qualified student, for study of specific environmental issues related to exploration and production of petroleum and energy minerals, or application of technologies developed/employed in petroleum or energy minerals industries to environmental problems. Funding comes from an American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation endowment established by AAPG’s Division of Environmental Geosciences and numerous friends and colleagues.