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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Jordan Beach

The legacy of Frances Hardin and her passion for education will continue to live on at Reinhardt University as her gift provides scholarships to students and support to the Funk Heritage Center.

Frances Hardin speaks with Reinhardt’s Women’s Leadership in Fall 2016.

Alumna and former member of the Reinhardt Board of Directors and a founding member of the Funk Heritage Center’s advisory board passed away in late November 2019, leaving behind a gift to Reinhardt University for scholarships and to benefit the Funk Heritage Center. Her total gift of more than $135,000 captures her dedicated spirit to her alma mater and her favorite museum.

“The gift for the scholarships goes back to her love for learning and education and what she thought about the value of education and how she felt Reinhardt impacted her,” said trustee John Bennett ’65. “We will see the result of how it will impact students for years to come.”

Hardin highly valued education, becoming an educator in Cherokee and Fulton County after working in a factory during World War II. Her gift serves to provide students with an opportunity to receive an education, much like the one she experienced. She held particular interest in the study of the humanities, especially history. Hardin traveled all around the globe, sometimes by herself, to places such as the North and South Poles, Africa, London, the Middle East and her favorite place in Wyoming.

After all her worldly travels, Hardin held steadfast to her belief that the Funk Heritage Center was her favorite out of all the museums she explored. The celebration of its 20th Anniversary last year came with the news of Hardin’s passing on the same day, with families, friends and supporters of the Center gathered in the museum she loved so much.

Director of the Funk Heritage Center, Jeff Bishop, is grateful for her gift that will serve the Center in many capacities.

“We were so pleased to learn of Frances Hardin’s generous gift to the Funk Heritage Center,” said Bishop. “This will go a long way toward achieving our goal of establishing a new pavilion in the picnic area outside the museum. We host thousands of school children each year, but currently there are no adequate places for them to have their lunch or to host outdoor workshops when the weather is inclement.

“We are very grateful for her generosity and thankful for the many years of dedicated service she gave as a member of our advisory board at the Funk Heritage Center.”

Bennett, whose family history is displayed at the Funk Heritage Center, knew Hardin for more than 20 years, and while he knew of her varied life experience and expertise, he noted her spirit of independence and humble heart.

“She was a remarkable lady. She is by far the most interesting person I have ever encountered,” said Bennett.