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After more than seven years as dean of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, Hardgrave will take on a new challenge – elevating Auburn University’s academic profile as its provost and vice president for academic affairs. The Auburn Board of Trustees approved his appointment on November 10. He will begin his new role January 1, succeeding Timothy Boosinger.
“This is a way that I can serve Auburn University in a bigger and broader role,” Hardgrave said. “It’s an exciting time at Auburn and I’m excited to be a part of Dr. (Steven) Leath’s team. From many of the things that we’ve done at the Harbert College of Business, I look forward to seeing how we take some of those things and make them broader across the university.”
During his tenure as dean, the college experienced significant growth relative to resources, student enrollment and research capacity. The college’s breakthrough moment came in June 2013, when a $40 million gift from 1982 alumnus Raymond Harbert resulted in its naming. Harbert and his wife, Kathryn, also contributed an additional $15 million in 2016 in support of a graduate business building that will be completed in spring 2019. During Hardgrave’s tenure, the college has grown its endowment more than 230 percent and exceeded its comprehensive campaign goal by more than $30 million.
Under Hardgrave’s leadership, Harbert College’s enrollment grew by 47 percent from 2010 to 2017 and now ranks second in size among Auburn’s academic units with a fall 2017 enrollment of 5,392. Other highlights during his time as dean include:
“Seven years went by too quickly,” Hardgrave said. “We’ve accomplished a lot and I wished I had more time, but this was an opportunity where I could serve Auburn in a bigger role. The college is in great shape. It is going to be a great job for the next dean that comes along.”
Before coming to Auburn, Hardgrave founded and served as director of the RFID Research Center in the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business. Hardgrave graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a degree in computer science before earning an MBA at Missouri State University and a doctorate in management information systems at Oklahoma State University. Oklahoma State recognized Hardgrave as one of 100 outstanding graduates during its centennial celebration in 2014.