Dr. Edward Hardy (1868-1958)
Edward Hardy was born in Owosso, Michigan, and grew up in Wisconsin. He received a BA in Literature from the University of Wisconsin in 1893, later an MA from the University of Chicago and an Honorary Ll.D. from LaVerne College (California) in 1928.
One job he had during his Wisconsin years was rewriting bills for the Legislature into permanent language, from the hurried drafts that had been approved during the session. Later he vowed he learned more English that way than in class.
Hardy became associate headmaster of Los Angeles Military Academy in 1899, but lost that job two years later when they discovered oil on the property and closed the school. His next job was principal of Riverside High School near Chicago, from 1901-1906. Then he returned to California and was principal of San Diego High School from 1906-1910.
In 1910 Hardy was appointed President of the State Normal School, then located at Park Boulevard and Normal Street. He was the institution’s 2nd President and stayed 25 years in the post, retiring in 1935. During his tenure the teachers college was relocated to Montezuma Mesa, and its name was changed to San Diego State College.
“The Louisiana Purchase was nothing,” Hardy said years later, “compared to the selection of a site for the new college,” in describing the land deals offered by promoters of several alternatives being considered. The end result was a 125-acre site chosen on a rim east of Mission Valley, which was bought for $50,000. The new college opened in September 1931.
Hardy also served on both the State and City Boards of Education, and in 1936, after his retirement, was appointed Executive Director of the San Diego Museum (now the San Diego Museum of Man).
Dr. Hardy’s leadership is well remembered: named for him are Hardy Avenue, just south of the present SDSU, Hardy Elementary School (fittingly located nearby, on Montezuma Road), and the bell tower at SDSU. This tower was in the original 1931 building cluster, for both aesthetic and practical purposes (it holds a water tank). In 1976, by permission of the statewide Board of Trustees and in gratitude for all he contributed to San Diego State, it was named the Hardy Tower. Hardy’s profile graces a bronze plaque designed by San Diego sculptor Donal Hord.
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