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Constitutional Law Expert, Alumnus Named WIU Political Science Chair

March 9, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Richard “Rick” Hardy, a constitutional law expert from the University of Missouri and a Western Illinois University alumnus, has been named chair of Western Illinois’ political science department, effective July 1, according to College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Hardy back to his alma mater as chair of the department of political science,” Levi said. “His impressive resume of administrative posts, research publications and teaching combined with his familiarity with WIU make him an ideal candidate to fill this position. I know his contributions to the College of Arts and Sciences will be far-reaching.”

Hardy will succeed Charles Helm, who will leave the department April 28 following nine years as chair and 33 years as faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We have been so fortunate to have enjoyed Charles’s leadership,” Levi said. “We are especially grateful for his efforts to establish and direct the Western Survey Research Center and the scholarship he brought to the Liberal Arts Lecture in 2004. Charles’s hard work has given the department of political science a solid foundation on which Rick can build. Dr. Helm’s dedication, intelligence and humor will be sorely missed by all the faculty, staff and students of the college.”

Joining the Western Illinois faculty is a homecoming of sorts for Hardy, who was born and raised in nearby Burlington, IA, and graduated with the first class from Southeastern Community College (A.A. 1968). He transferred to Western Illinois and earned his bachelorÂ’s degree in political science (1970), then taught 11th grade U.S. history for one year at Macomb Senior High School before going on to graduate school. Hardy earned his masterÂ’s degree in political science from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks (1972) and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa (1978).

“I can’t wait to get started. I am a product of WIU and have profound respect for the institution,” Hardy said. “What draws me to Western is the progressive, dynamic leadership from the top on down. President Goldfarb’s strategic plan that emphasizes the need for civic education and civic engagement especially caught my eye. And I am particularly impressed with Dean Inessa Levi’s positive, visionary leadership style. Her boundless enthusiasm is contagious.

“I will be joining a collegial and talented department laden with gifted teachers and fine researchers,” he added. “My predecessors, Charles Weston and Charles Helm, have set the bar high. I will be forever mindful of the need to carry on a rich tradition.”

HardyÂ’s distinguished 33-year professional career includes the accumulation of more than 50 significant teaching and civic leadership awards.

Hardy, an associate professor of political science at Mizzou, is the founder and director of the Institute for Leadership in Civic Education at the University of Missouri, which offers summer workshops for civic educators and provides research and grants for civic education; and director of the National Institute of Advanced Civic Studies, which offers intensive workshops for high school civics teachers from across the nation. In his 28th year at Mizzou, he currently serves as assistant director of the Honors College and is the faculty representative to the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

Previously, Hardy was a visiting assistant professor at Duke University (1984-85). He also taught at Northern State College, SD (1972-74).

Hardy is a presidential elector in the Electoral College, and he was a nominee for U.S. Congress in 1992. He has been a consultant and political analyst for major media organizations including NBC, CNN, Fox, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal; and he has hosted numerous national civic leaders as “Professors for the Day” in his classes, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former President George Bush, former U.S. Senator and U.N. Ambassador John Danforth, former chair of the Democratic National Committee David Wilhelm, Elizabeth Dole, Ross Perot and then Texas governor, now President George W. Bush.

Hardy is a sought-after speaker who has delivered hundreds of professional keynote speeches, civic speeches, motivational speeches and commencement speeches.

He is the author of numerous professional reviews and scholarly texts. He is also the author of the widely-used high school textbook “Government in America” (Houghton Mifflin, 1995); co-editor of “Missouri Government and Politics” (Missouri Press, 1995); and editor of “Perspectives of American Politics” (Simon & Schuster). He currently is writing a book on the First Amendment and is conducting research on political socialization and civic leadership.

HardyÂ’s wife, Linda Nuss Hardy, is also a native of a Burlington, IA. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Rick Hardy's University of Missouri-Columbia Faculty webpage

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