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April 11: Alumna leaves $1 million gift to Hood

Monday, April 11, 2011

FREDERICK, Md.—A Hood College alumna who always advocated for ongoing academic excellence and stayed connected to the college throughout seven decades after graduation has left the college a $1 million gift to fund international programming here.

 The gift from 1944 graduate of Hood Shirley Conner Hardinge will establish an endowment for a center for global studies. Hardinge, who was a French major, was a long-time supporter of Hood whose long professional career was spent at Fairchild Aircraft and later as senior vice president at Sharrett, Inc. She died in May 2010 at the age of 87.

 The center, to be called the Shirley Conner Hardinge Center for Global Studies, will support faculty research in international areas, provide funding for Hood students to study abroad and scholarships for new students studying in international areas and fund a lecture series to bring international scholars to Hood.

 “This is a tremendous gift from an alumna who had a keen interest in world politics, economics and business,” said Hood College President Ronald J. Volpe, who considered Hardinge, and her husband Tom, good friends.

 “She loved Hood and the great education she received here,” Volpe said of Hardinge, who also served on the college’s alumni board and as a member of its board of associates. “She knew the value of a liberal arts education and how it provides students with the tools to live and work in an increasingly interconnected global environment. It is so very fitting that this gift would be used to enhance the study of international education.”

 Hardinge was originally from Waynesboro, Pa. She graduated from Waynesboro Senior High School in 1940.  She served on the board of directors of the YMCA and Brook Lane Health Services, and served for 20 years on the board of associates of Hood College. She was voted Business Woman of the Year and was active in the local chapter of the International Management Council where she was also elected as the first woman president in 1977. She also held various positions in Zonta International.