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Woodbury Remembers George Hensel

Woodbury University mourns the loss of driving school entrepreneur Dr. George R. Hensel, a Woodbury alumnus and past chairman of the Board of Trustees. Hensel Hall on the Woodbury campus is named for this long-time friend and supporter of the university. Dr. Hensel, 87, died January 9, 2012.

Starting more 50 years ago with a single driving school in Los Angeles, Hensel’s California Driving School grew into one of the largest in the country with more than 300 locations statewide. Dr. Hensel even wrote the book on driving, Learn to Drive: Official Textbook of the Professional Driving School Association, which has been continuously in print since 1977 and is sold around the world.

Hensel’s single most important maxim was to do what you believe in. Hensel was in the merchant marines for eight years and drove a truck before enrolling at Woodbury.  While he was studying business at Woodbury, he was starting businesses. Hensel, who graduated in 1953, went on to serve as the president president of three large firms, including Hensel Investment Co. Inc., a real estate company, and the California Safety Center.

Hensel was a leader in many civic organizations, including the Rotary club, YMCA, and Boys & Girls Club of America.  He served as the chairman of the board of directors of Beverly Community Hospital and on the board of Don Bosco Technical Institute.  He built the George R. Hensel Healthy Lifestyles Center at the Montebello Family YMCA, and underwrote the Hensel Maternity Center at the Beverly Hospital.

An obituary for Dr. Hensel is available in the January 21, 2012 online edition of the San Valley Gabriel Tribune.