Title: Anderson University celebrates Falls School of Business and Hardacre Hall
AU has honored two families who have befriended, guided and helped the school blossom from a small Bible training school to a growing center for higher education with a reputation for excellence. "We dedicated a building which will be home to our business school and our school of adult learning, and we officially rolled out the new name of that business school," said AU president Dr. James Edwards. Hardacre Hall will house the R. Glenn Falls School of Business and the AU School of Adult Learning. PHOTO: President Edwards(right), Dr. Glenn Falls and Lester Hardacre (middle) cut the ribbon on Hardacre Hall.
The building on Fifth Street formerly was the executive office building for the Church of God Ministries and boasts 36,000 square feet, room for faculty offices and, eventually, business classes on site.
"This was a unique opportunity to honor the Hardacre family, who were very surprised and very pleased by our decision, a family whose relationship with us has gone back to before this school was established. It is a relationship that has been strong and supportive and mutual since 1916. That seems really great to me."
And with the decision to name the school of business after Dr. R. Glenn Falls, AU professor emeritus of business and economics, it seems that -- in the best possible way -- what goes around, comes around.
Falls, who graduated from AU in 1948, came back to the university years later as a teacher with a doctor of business administration degree from Indiana University, a degree that added luster to the business faculty.
"Dr. Falls is like a very few professors who has so many disciples recognizing his gifts to them," Edwards said. "And it's also unique in that he has been so supportive by making it possible for us to raise the quality of our business program many notches above where it might otherwise been through his generosity as a donor and through his leadership."
While teaching at AU, one of Falls' many students was Bill Hardacre, a local business and civic leader whose family have for decades quietly helped make AU what it is today, Edwards said. Hardacre Hall sits on land where Hardacre Jersey cows once grazed.
"When we took up the entryway for remodeling, we found the old farm cistern underneath," said Dr. Ken Armstrong, dean of the Falls School of Business. "Isn't that something?"
When Cliff and Ruffina Hardacre moved to Anderson in 1916 with six of their 10 children in the back of their vintage Ford station wagon, they found themselves working with the Gospel Trumpet Co., a Christian publishing company that offered living arrangements to its employees -- which included a livestock and dairy operation.
As the Gospel Trumpet Co. launched its fledgling Bible training school, the forerunner of Anderson University, the Hardacres bought several acres of land, refrigeration equipment and Jersey cows from Gospel Trumpet, a purchase that eventually became Hardacre's East Side Jersey Dairy. When the young college fell on hard times, East Side Dairy extended credit.
And that relationship did not weaken over the decades that followed.
"That spirit has continued. We feel particularly blessed that we can have this connection with this wonderful family. It's a feeling that we do belong to this community and that feeling is precious to us," Edwards said.
The Hardacres, he said, have always been generous people in many ways. Students always found jobs at Best Ever Dairy, and with every building project at AU, the Hardacre family has helped with significant donations.
"In the history of this university, the Hardacre family has contributed more than any other single family," Moore said.
One of AU's largest endowed scholarship funds, the Best-Ever/Hardacre Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, was established in 1987 in the memory of Cliff and Ruffina Hardacre and is used to encourage Madison County students to attend AU. The fund continues to grow as donations come in from alumni who worked at the dairy while attending AU.
Glenn and his wife, Ruth, have also given time and money to the university, Edwards said. In 1987 and 1993, the couple committed a total of $2.5 million to help AU continue its mission. Dr. Falls, who retired after 35 years, still has an office in the Falls School of Business.
--Cindy Carson is the Business editor for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin .