FT. GAINES -- Dr. Lawrence J. Hanks, Sr., an Indiana University Professor of Political Science, passed away at his Bloomington residence on Thursday, November 10, 2011 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was fifty-seven years old.
From 1993 to 1998, Dr. Hanks served as the Dean for the Office of African American Affairs and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. As Dean, he led the University's efforts to improve recruitment and retention of African American faculty and students. He also institutionalized a variety of programs including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration that continues to be a vital part of campus life. At the end of his Deanship, he focused solely on teaching and research in the Political Science Department. His primary interest was African American Political Thought and African American Politics. Prior to coming to Indiana University, Dr. Hanks served as Chairman of the Department of Political Science at the historic Tuskegee University in Alabama. During his career, he was also invited by several academic institutions to serve in visiting professorial positions, including the University of Kentucky.
As a 1976 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Hanks entered Harvard University's Department of Government and earned his M.A. degree in Government in 1978 and his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Government in 1984. At Harvard, he specialized in African American Politics, Minority Politics, Political Philosophy and African American Political Thought.
Dr. Hanks was nationally recognized as a scholar, a passionate teacher and motivational speaker. In addition to his seminal work, Black Political Empowerment in Three Georgia Counties, he was also co-editor of the Black and Multiracial Politics in America. He also authored scores of political journals, essays, book reviews, book chapters and popular publications. His trade publications included 365 Days of Kwanzaa: A Daily Motivational Reader; Daily Fruit: 365 Days of Fruit of the Spirit and Blessings and Bush Arbors.
He was a devoted life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a member of Second Baptist Church in Bloomington, IN.
Dr. Hanks was preceded in death by his parents, James and Katherine Hanks. He is survived by his wife, Diane G. Hanks of Bloomington, IN; four children, Shonda (Yohance Thompson) Hanks of Kennesaw, GA, Lawrence J. Hanks, Jr. and Latoysha J.Brown, both of Bloomington, IN, and Mahogany A. Hanks of Atlanta, GA; a mother-in-law affectionately known as "Mother Eunice;" two sisters, Frances (Edmond) Cook and Carolyn Holley, both of Atlanta, GA; two brothers, Hasan and Paul Hanks, both of Auburn, CA; two aunts, Marie Stephens of Brooklyn, NY and Susan Williams of Blakely, GA; two sisters-in-law, Shirley (Leon) Powell of Boston, MA and Betty (Steven) Williams of Northborough, MA; a brother-in-law, Joseph Gordon of Johnson City, TN; two nieces, LaShaun (Greg) Buckhalter of Atlanta, GA and Alison (Derrick) Davis of Fairfield, CA; two nephews, Jeffrey (Apryl) Holley and Demetrius (LaSherri) Holley, both of Atlanta, GA; godparents, Louis and Estella Stovall of Cleveland, OH; goddaughter, Clarissa (Vincent) Isom of Bloomington, IN; and professional colleagues, dear friends and other relatives.
Funeral services were held in Bloomington, IN on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. in the Whittenberger Auditorium on the campus of Indiana University.
Final funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2011at 1:00 p.m. in the Dixon Multipurpose Building in Fort Gaines, GA with burial following in the Hanks-Turner Cemetery in Fort Gaines. Visitation will be held on Friday, November 18, 2011 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m..
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
Dr. Lawrence J. Hanks, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund
Office of Institutional Advancement
Gloster Hall, Room 305
830 Westview Drive, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
Ft. Gaines 229/768-2014