‘St. Olaf grandma’ who took students under her wing dies at 99

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A woman known for her service to St. Olaf College in Northfield died on Christmas Day at the age of 99.

Ruth Hansen was like a grandma to students over the years.

For three decades, Hansen invited St. Olaf students who didn’t have family nearby to her Northfield home for dinner and conversation.

“It would be a mob scene at times,” said Dan Franklin, Hansen’s son-in-law. “She didn’t always have the budget to host all these kids and provide a lot of food, but her attitude was, ‘Whatever I have is going to be enough.'”

Hansen graduated from St. Olaf 1945 and received the Alumni Distinguished Service Award from the college in 2008.