|Father Boniface Hardin, OSB|
Presented August 12, 1997
No conferral speech text exists.
The following is used with permission from Martin University
With a rich history of commitment to the advancement of society, Rev. Fr. Boniface Hardin has long been an
inspirational teacher, guide, and leader of the community. He began his education at Saint Meinrad High School in 1951, where he eventually joined the Saint Meinrad Archabbey. He then went on to Saint Meinrad College and was ordained on May 11, 1959, and also holds a Master of Divinity from the Saint Meinrad School of Theology. Father Hardin would go on to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Saint Meinrad Seminary in 1997 - an award given to very few people. He continued his studies at the University of Notre Dame, School of Commerce, from 1962 to 1963. Father Hardin has also received recognition for his excellence in academics with Honorary Doctorates in Divinity from Oakland City University, Marian College, Franklin College, and Christian Theological Seminary, and Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Indiana University, Ancilla College, Manchester College, the University of Indianapolis and Governor’s State University.
Throughout his life, Father Hardin has received numerous awards and recognitions for his devotion to the community. He was named "International Citizen of the Year" by the International Center of Indianapolis in November 2002, "Living Legend" by the Indiana Historical Society in July of the same year, and Living Legends in Black by the Hoosier Minority Black Chamber of Commerce. He has also been awarded the NUVO Cultural Vision Award for Lifetime Achievement (2001), the "Living the Legacy" Award for Exemplifying the Principles of Dr. King for the Citizens of this Community from The Martin Luther King, Jr., Multi-Service Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award from Perry Township Schools, the Spirit of Justice award from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, and an award for Outstanding Community Service to Children and Youth and the Empowerment of the Community from Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. Among his other distinguished awards are the Indiana Black Expo President Image Award, Urban League of Madison County, Inc., the Advanced Opportunities and Education Award, City of Indianapolis, the Distinguished and Valuable Service to Humankind Award, Eta Chi Sorority, Who's Who in Black Indianapolis, The Spirit of Indy Award, and The Scroll of Merit Award, National Medical Association which is the highest award given to non- medical professionals, in recognition of his dedicated service in the area of health, human relations and education.
Father Hardin founded Martin University in 1977 and served as its President until stepping aside on December 31, 2007. He has guided Martin University’s development to offer more than 1,200 degrees and to be housed in a new 58,000 square-foot Educational Center. He also remains active as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Downtown Rotary Club of Indianapolis, the Indiana Association of Women in Education, and the National Council of Negro Women. His many achievements before founding the University include being Founder of the Martin Center (1969), Co-Founder of the Indianapolis Sickle Cell Center (1971), Founder and Director of Northwest Action Council, Co-Founder of the Negro-Jewish Dialogue, and Co-Founder of the Human Relations Consortium (1971). He has also been Producer for Public Affairs - Education on Channel 10/53, Producer and Co-host of the TV program, "Afro-American," on Channel 20 (1974-79); Editor of Afro-American Journal, published quarterly by Martin University; and Producer and Co-Host of the Afro-American Journal radio program on WIAN and WFYI-FM, an NPR affiliate (1971-91). Previously, Father Hardin was consultant for Affirmative Action Programs and Training of Affirmative Action Officers, local and national programs; a member of the President Benjamin Harrison Home Board of Directors; a member of the Indiana State Penal Reform Committee; Co-Chairperson of the Indianapolis Black Coalition Advocate of Reforms in Police Community Relations; a member of the Mayor’s Task Force; and a member of the Board of Directors for the Indianapolis Project against AIDS for Minorities.