Dr. Edna Hokenson created the Gustave J. Hokenson Fellowship in 1995 for graduate students within the Aerospace Department in honor of her son, “Gus”, who was a 1970 Ph.D. aerospace graduate. Gus went on to teach aerospace engineering at the Navy’s post-graduate school and to work for several aerospace companies before starting his own, R&D, in 1981. The research he conducted in fluid dynamics is still referenced today. Gustave died of acute myelogenous leukemia in 1991 at the age of 45.
Besides the significant monetary award for the year, each student received a kind, generous, and inquisitive individual who loved to learn more about them and their lives outside of school. Through her kindness and graciousness the students quickly came to see her as family.
Born in Wadena, Minnesota, she married John Hokenson in 1941. They lived in Minneapolis where she worked for the United Fund as well as the Red Cross during World War II. Dr. Hokenson received her Bachelor’s degree in 1958 from Memphis State University and her Master’s degree in 1960 from the University of Tennessee. During the 1960s, Dr. Hokenson taught at George Mason College and at Northern Virginia Community College. Dr. Hokenson earned her Ph.D. degree in microbiology from the University of Maryland in the same year as her son Gus achieved his Bachelor’s degree and was fond of telling the story how mother and son had graduated in the same ceremony.
Dr. Hokenson’s gift will continue to provide assistance to many graduate students for years to come. And it is through this fellowship that the memory and spirit of Dr. Edna Hokenson and her son, Dr. Gustave Hokenson, will endure.