Romney Institute Alumni Board

Sam Hanson, EMPA 1990

Sam Hanson, EMPA 1990

Membership Information:

Current Position: Class Rep
Member Since: 2018

Contact Information:

Linkedin Profile:


Company: Retired: Educator


  • Ely Nevada City Council, Mayor Pro Tem
  • Nevada Northern Railway Director
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Piano
  • Languages
  • History
  • Cooking
  • Travel


Marion J. (Sam) Hanson became involved in public affairs at age 18, when he won a seat on the Utah State Board of Education. After church missionary service in France, he attended the University of Utah, where he majored in French. In 1977, Sam married the former Rolayne Beckstrom, a published author and educator. They raised four sons and now enjoy playing grandparents to four boys and four girls.

Sam attended the U of U, aspiring to become a high school French teacher while working full-time for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Security Department. Following a promotion, Sam enrolled in the BYU EMPA program and graduated in April 1990. After the 2002 Winter Olympics, Sam returned to the U of U to follow his original dream. He earned a teaching certificate and a second bachelor’s degree in English. Hired by the White Pine County Nevada School District, Sam and Rolayne enjoyed teaching and rural life in Nevada and retired in August 2018. But with Ely’s chilly winters, Rolayne persuaded him to move to sunny southern Utah, and they now reside in Hurricane.

Sam used his EMPA knowledge and skills to run for and earn a seat on the Ely Nevada City Council in June 2013, and was re-elected—running unopposed—in June 2017. He also served as Mayor pro-tem of that body until returning to Utah.

Sam and Rolayne enjoy reading, gardening, kayaking, traveling, and trailer camping. Still wanting to make a positive difference in people’s lives and to cope with the lifestyle change, Sam took up substitute teaching a few days a week to assuage the boredom.