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Dr. Shirley Hardin:
Mentoring and Inspiring Students for 35 Years
Valdosta State University honored 381 faculty and staff during the
annual recognition luncheon on Jan. 31. Employees were given a certificate and
commemorative pin from President William J. McKinney for their various years of
service. With 35 years of service, Dr. Shirley Hardin, director of African American
Studies and professor of English, has worked with five presidents and witnessed
the transition to university status, along with countless other milestones in
Valdosta State University’s history. Growing up in Early County, Hardin was one of seven children
“I am convinced that the part of my job I enjoy the most is imparting
knowledge to my students and learning from them as
When she remembers more than three decades of service to Valdosta State, Hardin said she can recall many memorable experiences and accomplishments. One of her fondest memories includes the visit of Dr. to Valdosta State in 1991. Regarded as one of the greatest voices in contemporary literature, Angelou’s two-day visit had a tremendous impact on Hardin, who introduced her to an auditorium-packed audience. “Hours before her talk, she had signed hundreds of her books for eager fans and avid readers, including [then president] Dr. Hugh Bailey,” said Hardin.
“One of the many things she shared that I have always remembered is, ‘Never trust anyone who says I love you and does not love himself.’ She further illustrated this message through a Ghanaian proverb, ‘Never trust a naked man who offers you his only shirt.’ In short, one must love him or herself first before he or she can love someone else. Angelou’s visit to VSC was an experience of a lifetime.” Hardin’s reflective insight and deep desire to serve others has greatly benefited many students, faculty and staff at Valdosta State. In 2011, Hardin worked with former Valdosta State Director of Testing Mary Barron and her daughter, Lawanna Barron, to endow the Claydon Hayward Barron Memorial
Helping students achieve educational success is one of Hardin’s greatest
missions and is at the center of her
The mother of three children, Keltrice Monique, Eric Christopher, and Jeremy Chase, Hardin gives credit for her success to her family and relationship with God. At the cornerstone of her family is her husband Moses Hardin, who retired last year from Valdosta State and is the person she describes as “the love of my life.”“My spirituality-- my relationship with God -- is what has kept me focused and productive all of these years at Valdosta State,” Hardin said. “I truly believe in serving and honoring others.”
If her hectic schedule on campus does not keep her busy enough, Hardin is an active member of the Morning Star Baptist Church, where she has, for many years, sung in the Mass Choir and taught the Young Adults Bible study and the Women’s Ministry. She also chairs the Education andMinistry at her church. Hardin, who is passionate about creative writing, is currently writing a book of poetry titled “Love and Laugh” and a manuscript titled “Us Somethin’ Special: Four Generations of Southern African American Women’s Voices,” which chronicles the lives of Hardin, her grandmother, mother and daughter.
Hardin said her work at Valdosta State, with her church, and in the community has helped her embrace two philosophies. “First, I believe everyone born in this world is a marvelous creation and that there is something profound about every individual I have been privileged to meet,” Hardin said. “Second, I embrace Dr. Angelou’s mantra: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’”
Know whence ye came. If ye know from whence ye came, there is really no limit to where you can go.
James Baldwin, Author
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