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Tuesday January 18th

Former UNC chancellor Paul Hardin dies

UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin.

(Photo by Dan Sears/UNC-Chapel Hill)
Buy Photos UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin. (Photo by Dan Sears/UNC-Chapel Hill)

UNC’s seventh chancellor, Paul Hardin III, died on Saturday from ALS at his home in Chapel Hill. He was 86 years old.

Hardin served as chancellor from 1988 to 1995. During his tenure, he helped double the faculty diversity, according to a UNC news release.

He was in office during UNC’s Bicentennial Observance, launching a fundraising campaign that brought in $440 million in private gifts, $120 million over the original goal. He also granted President Bill Clinton an honorary degree at Kenan Stadium, celebrating the yearlong bicentennial fundraising effort.

“Dare to think big and to dream,” Hardin said in reference to the fundraising effort.

His other accomplishments include the establishment of the Employee Forum, the naming of Jackson Hall after black UNC employees and the completion of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History. After stepping down from the position of chancellor in 1995, he served as a faculty member of the School of Law. In 2007, south campus dormitory Hardin Hall was named after him.

Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement that Hardin was a visionary leader and will be remembered for his life-changing impacts in higher education.

“Paul was warm and gracious and remained very involved with Carolina after his retirement,” Folt said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Hardin was a civil rights advocate in the 1960s, and helped name the undergraduate admissions office Jackson Hall in honor of black faculty members Blyden and Roberta Jackson.

Hardin was born in Charlotte on June 11, 1931, the son of Methodist minister Paul Hardin Jr. and Dorothy Reel Hardin. He was in Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate at Duke University, graduating in 1952 and remaining there for law school, where he graduated first in his class.

He then served in the U.S. Army’s counterintelligence unit and then pursued a career as a lawyer. He was a law professor at Duke University for a decade before becoming the president of Wofford College, Southern Methodist University and Drew University.

Dick Richardson, a retired UNC provost and a chair on the Bicentennial Observance board, said Hardin was an authentic person and was comfortable with himself.

“If you scratch deeply beneath the surface of Paul Hardin, you will find exactly what you find on the surface, for this man is solid oak from top to bottom,” Richardson said.

Hardin is survived by his wife, Barbara Russell Hardin, three children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. University United Methodist Church in Chapel Hill will hold a memorial service for him on July 8 at 3 p.m.


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