2017 Archives

Former SMU President, Longtime Education Leader Paul Hardin III Has Died At 86

July 3, 2017

Paul Hardin III
Paul Hardin III at SMU’s Dallas Hall in 2012

DALLAS (SMU) — Paul Hardin III, who served as the sixth president of SMU from 1972 to 1974, died July 1 at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, after battling ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 86 years old.

“Higher education in our country lost a stalwart, effective and greatly admired member of its community,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “I had the opportunity to become friends with Paul Hardin before my tenure began. It was a joy to have him and his family back on campus in August 2000 for the unveiling of his SMU presidential portrait, which hangs on campus with those of other past presidents.”

Hardin’s portrait is displayed in the first-floor lobby of SMU’s Perkins Administration Building.

Before his tenure at SMU, Hardin had served as president of Wofford College (1968-72). He went on to serve as president of Drew University (1974-88) and as chancellor of the University of North Carolina (1988-1995). Since 1995, he held the title of chancellor emeritus at the University of North Carolina.

Hardin was born in Charlotte, N.C., on June 11, 1931. His father, Paul Hardin Jr., served as a minister and bishop in the United Methodist Church. Hardin earned a Bachelor’s degree in English from Duke University in 1952, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He returned to Duke for law school, where he graduated first in his class in 1954.

He served for two years in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and then practiced law in Birmingham, Ala., for two years. He returned to Duke Law School in 1958, serving first as assistant professor and then as professor until 1968.

A memorial service for Hardin will be held July 8 in Chapel Hill at University United Methodist Church. Read more from the Associated Press obituary here.