Bluffton University President
President Harder reappointed for fourth term
Bluffton University Trustees, by unanimous vote, reappointed Dr. James M. Harder for his fourth term as president of Bluffton University during their winter 2016 board meeting.
“Dr. Harder has provided Bluffton University with strong and effective leadership. His commitment to strengthening the university through continued development of the relationships with alumni and organizations over the last decade has been realized in campaign efforts and in the leadership for securing the largest single gift in the history of Bluffton, the $4 million gift from the Knowlton Foundation for the new science building, scheduled to be open in 2019,” said Kent Yoder, president, Bluffton University board of trustees. “The board is grateful for Dr. Harder’s leadership talents and the ability to move Bluffton forward through new, strategic initiatives while maintaining Bluffton’s commitment to the Anabaptist faith perspective and continued relationships cultivated with the Bluffton and broader communities.”
Currently in his tenth year, Harder became president in August 2006. Since that time, the university has launched 14 new academic programs and made significant enhancements to existing academic, athletic and other co-curricular programs. The university achieved a successful reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission in 2009 along with program reaccreditations in education, social work and music.
In 2012, the university completed the Extending Our Reach campaign which raised more than $32 million and included construction of the Sommer Center for Health and Fitness Education and funds to establish the Nord-Ignat Endowed Chair in Theatre, several endowed faculty and student research grants and a number of student scholarships. Over the last decade support for the annual fund has both grown and remained strong. Giving to endowment has also grown including support for scholarships and future operations.
“I consider it a privilege to work together with faculty, staff and the board to ensure that Bluffton’s distinctive faith-based educational mission remains vibrant and transformative for current and future generations of students at Bluffton University,” Dr. Harder said. “Bluffton is truly blessed with a 116-year legacy of support from our wider alumni, church, community and business constituencies.”
“These are years of striking change for all of higher education—including at Bluffton — and much is at stake for getting it right to meet the needs of society,” he observed. “I am confident that Bluffton will remain at the forefront of providing students with an education that prepares them both for life as well as for vocation, and with insights, skills and values that are so critical for today’s world.”
Harder’s new term will begin on July 1, 2016, and extends through June 30, 2021.
I consider it a privilege to work together with faculty, staff and the board to ensure that Bluffton’s distinctive faith-based educational mission remains vibrant and transformative for current and future generations of students at Bluffton University.”