Supporting our Wellness

Anderson University is grateful for the generosity of donors who made the Kardatzke Wellness Center possible. Its opening in 2002 as the most ambitious building project in university history would not have been possible without the support of the Kardatzke, Ward, Reardon, Falls, Gaither, and Hardacre families.

About our donors

The Kardatzke Family

Fred and Emma Kardatzke instilled in their nine children a strong work ethic, a sense of duty to God and humanity, and a spirit of generosity. Harris, Carl, Forrest, Lucille, Arlin, Elmer, Elsie, Marion and Verda grew up on the family farm near Elmore, Ohio, in the early 1900s. In September 1913, their aunt and cousin were killed when a train struck their car. As their Uncle George struggled with his grief and the spiritual meaning of the tragedy, he found solace in the Church of God. Soon the Kardatzke family was converted to the Church of God as well, leading to a connection to Anderson University.

Carl was the first Kardatzke to graduate from the institution. As a child, he excelled in school. He was the first person in the family’s history to graduate high school. Despite his father’s wishes for him to stay home and work on the family farm, Carl pursued a degree at Anderson Bible Training School, and in 1924 he became the first person in the family’s history to earn a college degree. To date nearly 100 Kardatzkes have studied at Anderson University, including five of Carl’s siblings — Lucille, Arlin, Elmer, Elsie and Marian.

Over the years, the Kardatzke’s have been among the university’s most generous and loyal supporters, not only financially but also as teachers and recruiters. In 1933 Carl Kardatzke joined the faculty at Anderson University as the chair of the Department of Education. On campus he became one of the most loved faculty members of all time. On the weekend he continued to travel and speak in churches. He taught at the university until his death in 1959. The establishment of the Kardatzke Marriage and Family Center honors the work Carl accomplished at Anderson University.

Carl’s brother, Elmer Kardatzke, also became an influential supporter of the university and minister in the Church of God. Shortly after his graduation in 1935, Elmer spent six months traveling from church to church, raising funds and recruiting students for Anderson University. He later established and expanded a ministry in Wichita, Kan., now known as Central Community Church. In the 1970s, Lucille and her husband, Fred Webert, created the largest charitable trust gift the university had received at that time. For the past 30 years, that trust has helped Anderson University students meet financial needs.

The third generation of the family continues to be great friends and supporters of the university. Dr. Jon Kardatzke served on the board of trustees from 1974 to 1989. Dr. Nyle Kardatzke was a popular staff member in the Department of Student Life and one of the founders of the university’s Tri-S program. Dr. Howard Kardatzke taught in the School of Education from 1999 to 2001. And Dr. E. Stanley Kardatzke provided the lead gift to fund the construction of the Kardatzke Wellness Center.

“I have believed for some time that the essence of the gospel is incorporated in the conscientious stewardship of one’s life,” says Stanley, who is Elmer’s son. He envisions that the Kardatzke Wellness Center will bring together the disciplines of the inner life, nutrition, exercise and social relationships. “If this facility represents the real meaning of wellness and wholeness, it will be an exciting thing for Anderson University.”

Fred and Emma’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have lived in ways that not only reflect the values of Fred and Emma but also those of the university. They have dedicated their lives to helping others as ministers, teachers, physicians, farmers, social workers, and business leaders.

The Tom and Sch’ree Ward Fieldhouse

Tom and Sch’ree Ward have supported the Wellness Center project because they believe in the mission of Anderson University.

“Sch’ree and I believe deeply that society needs young people who are benefiting from a Christian higher education, and we want to have a part in making their education experience first-rate in every way,” Tom Ward said when he and his wife shared their gift with the university. “The Wellness Center project excites us because we know how very much it is needed on the campus and believe it can make a tremendous difference for students in the future.”

The Ward’s have a history of enthusiastically supporting Anderson University students. Making their home in Edmond, Okla., the Ward’s on any given weekend might be seen showing the campus to prospective students or rooting a Raven team onto victory. They established a unique scholarship program through their church, which allows a local young person from the church to study at Anderson University for a comparable tuition of a state college. Tom and Sch’ree have welcomed Anderson University students into their home and mentored students during the summer months.

Tom has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SandRidge Energy, Inc. since June 2006. Prior to this, he served as President, Chief Operating Officer, and a Director of Chesapeake Energy Corporation from the time he co-founded the company with Aubrey K. McClendon in 1989 until February of 2006.

In 2000, Mr. Ward and his son, Trent, co-founded White Fields, Inc., a home for severely abused and neglected boys.

Mr. Ward graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Petroleum Land Management. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, the Board of Trustees for The World Golf Foundation and a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

The fieldhouse named in their honor extends their hospitality to the Anderson University campus.

J. Willard and Virginia E. Reardon Wellness Education Center

Willard “Bill” and Virginia E. Reardon consider Anderson University part of their family. Virginia served the campus community as secretary to the president for 23 years. Bill was one of the first students at Anderson Bible Training School; as a youngster, he took piano lessons at the new Church of God institution.

Virginia moved to Anderson from Birmingham, Ala., in 1960. Anderson University President Robert Reardon hired her as his secretary and later introduced her to his brother, Bill. They were married Jan. 4, 1975.

Bill enjoyed a successful career as an engineer, a vocation that interested him at an early age. He began by tinkering with a watch, progressed to alarm clocks and train sets, and finally worked his way up to the family automobile. He completed a degree in electrical engineering at Purdue University and began a long career with General Electric.

Anderson University cherishes its partnership with Bill and Virginia. Not only have they been steadfast friends and promoters of this institution, but also unfailing supporters of the university for the last 40 years. And Bill’s former employer, General Electric, has matched every monetary gift the Reardon’s have shared with Anderson University.

For Bill and Virginia, nothing compares to the many friendships they have made on this campus. They also believe in the mission of Anderson University and look forward to what the Kardatzke Wellness Center can continue to offer students.

R. Glenn and Berny Falls Fitness Center

Dr. R. Glenn Falls began his relationship with Anderson University as a student in the 1940s. He was only the second student to graduate from Anderson University with a degree in business. Believing that the business program at his alma mater could stand some improvement, he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in business administration from Indiana University and then returned to Anderson University in 1952 to teach.

As a new faculty member with a fresh perspective, he revamped the business department. He networked with local business leaders and developed student internships. He and his late wife, Ruth, set up funds for faculty development and student scholarships. In honor of his work, Anderson University named the business department the R. Glenn Falls School of Business in 2001. The business program he began redesigning 50 years ago now offers master’s and doctorate degrees and boasts an enrollment of more than 200 students. Over the years, Anderson University has recognized his support and loyalty with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the John H. Kane Loyalty Award and the Heritage Award.

Dr. Falls passed away on Nov. 10, 2017 at the age of 95. Berny Falls, widow of author and Church of God pastor Maurice Berquist, has spent her life helping people as a registered nurse in both a hospital setting and through hospice care.

Bill and Gloria Gaither Sports Medicine Center

Bill and Gloria Gaither began their relationship with Anderson University as students. After their college days, they launched successful careers in music ministry. Over the years, they have received numerous Dove and Grammy awards, and were honored as “Songwriters of the Century” in 2000.

Despite their success and busy careers, Bill and Gloria have never lost touch with their alma mater. Bill has served on the university’s board of trustees for 28 years. Gloria taught songwriting classes at the university and served on the national board of directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. They provided significant leadership for the last two capital campaigns for Anderson University. They both received honorary doctorates from Anderson University — Bill an honorary doctor of music and Gloria an honorary doctor of humane letters.

Gloria and Bill have been among the university’s most generous supporters and most vocal supporters. They are never shy about promoting the values of a Christian higher education and believe Anderson University is a great place for college students to grow, learn and prepare for lives of Christian service.

Lester C. and Marguerite Hardacre Human Performance Center

Lester C. and Marguerite Hardacre were longtime supporters of Anderson University. Lester’s relationship with the university began in the school’s early days with the family dairy. During the rough years of the Great Depression, his father, Cliff Hardacre, made sure the school cafeteria was stocked with dairy products, and he hired cash-strapped students to work for him. Lester inherited his father’s benevolent nature and shared that with the university for decades. Marguerite was a student at Anderson University in the 1930s. She married Lester in 1936. The couple spent their early years together in New Castle, where Lester managed a branch of his family’s growing dairy business. They returned to Anderson in the 1960s. Lester and Marguerite died in 2001, after sharing 65 years together in marriage.

Lester and Marguerite were strong believers in higher education, and they cherished opportunities to help young people experience college. They were involved in every major building project on the Anderson University campus during the last 30 years. In honor of his wife and their daughter, Eleanore, Lester established Anderson University’s largest individual scholarship fund.

Their daughter, Martha (Hardacre) Carpenter, an alumna of Anderson University, values the spiritual gifts she received from her parents. Marguerite, Martha remembers, spent much time praying for other people. “I was very appreciative of that witness to me,” says Martha. “And the way they lived their lives was the best Christian example for me.”