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Legacy Student Finds New Perspective at Her Parent’s Alma Mater

Hannah Hager takes a break outside during spring semester at MNU
Student & Alumni Stories

Both of Hannah Hager's parents are MNU alums making her a "legacy" student. But choosing MNU didn't happen automatically for this student. 

Hannah Hager lived an exciting childhood, singing with her father at rodeos, fairs, banquets and church events. During that time, she learned to play piano, write her own songs and became accomplished at yodeling. She attended a local community college near Valley City, North Dakota, but when a group of MNU students visited her church, Hannah was intrigued. She decided to step out of her comfort zone. 

Both of her parents were MNU graduates and encouraged her to consider opportunities there. After winning first place in a solo contest at a Mid-America Xtreme (MAX) event, Hannah was offered a vocal scholarship. With a larger campus than she was used to, she investigated MNU to see what it had to offer. Her parents had earned a good education and solid foundation for their faith and family values there. They had even found each other at MNU. Hannah wanted to see what she could find. 

“I wanted a new perspective,” she said. “I wanted to explore my options.”

A Strong Foundation Aids Change

Hannah’s father, Greg Hager (’94) and her mother, Andrea (Burton ’94) met when Greg helped Andrea move her belongings into her dorm. As their relationship flourished, they graduated and were married. Things took a turn, when Greg was laid off from his job at Pfizer in 2009.  With a young family, Hannah’s parents were faced with a decision that would change their direction. They decided to move back to North Dakota to make a difference in people’s lives through music.  

Hannah’s father longed to use his musical talents for quite a while. Most of his college years allowed him to sing on a team of traveling student musicians as they introduced others to MNU. In fact, he had discovered MNU through a similar touring music group. The impact that MNU had on his life encompassed many things including his music, but he knew a musician’s life was difficult with a family. When he decided to pursue his dream of writing songs and singing, he felt it imperative to include his family in this experience and it wasn’t long before Hannah was singing too.
Learning to play guitar and writing his first song at the age of seven, Greg says he enjoys writing lyrics that tell a story. “It’s important”, he explains, “because a story connects the heart with the mind and that gets people beyond where they are.”  His music expresses stories about life, love, country, and faith.  As a former worship leader, he knows sharing those stories helps point to a bigger narrative that centers around God.

Greg’s original lyrics have gained him recognition as the only artist in North Dakota to produce all seven of his recordings with only his original songs. He’s received several nominations and awards for his work from The Academy of Western Artists, Professional Country Artist Association and the Western Music Association, an organization that encourages and supports the preservation, performance and composition of historic, traditional and contemporary music and poetry of The West. 

Discovering New Perspectives

It seems Hannah inherited her father’s gift for music. She writes her own songs and sings with MNU’s worship team between studies and her job at a local nursing home.  She even shares her talents, playing piano and singing to her patients, while caring for them. 

Like her parents, Hannah finds MNU’s spiritual environment helpful in her own personal journey, but it has much more to offer. While exploring MNU’s nursing program, Hannah is open to the many paths she can take. She holds tightly to the refrain, “You never know until you try” as she ventures into a world of possibilities. Hannah is ready to experience a university with a new perspective than her parents had encountered.

Winter 2019 Accent Cover image
This Issue

Winter 2019

Being Called. Read about the many ways one can be called in this Winter 2019 issue of Accent.

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