Dylan Willis was among the crowd of new Chaparrals who settled in to their Lubbock Christian University residence halls last week, and helping him get comfortable was his grandmother, Joyce Hardin. After walking around campus with his grandmother for only the morning, Dylan soon discovered his grandmother was quite the celebrity at LCU. Joyce, better known as Dr. Hardin, is often called a trailblazer by those who know her, and she has made a significant impact on the LCU School of Education where she worked and poured her heart into for 25 years.
“I love the education department at LCU. We were able to do things other universities weren’t able to do. We could put kids in schools early and I think there is creativity there that I don’t see in other places,” Dr. Hardin says when reflecting on her time at LCU.
Dr. Hardin first became an associate academic dean at LCU and later became the first female dean in the LCU College of Education. Her appointment as dean made her the first female academic dean in any of the Christian colleges that share the Church of Christ heritage.
When Dr. Hardin left LCU and became the executive director of the Deans for Colleges of Education in Texas, she dealt with numerous education departments and says LCU’s department is very unique and very special. Dr. Hardin has seen many changes at LCU since she first arrived in 1976. She claims the campus is prettier and the academic programs have grown. Overall she says she’s seen LCU develop and progress, and she is proud to have a grandson attend the university to which she dedicated much of her life.
“As an LCU alum and current faculty member, it is so encouraging to enjoy a wonderful friendship with Dr. Joyce Hardin. She has always been a champion, encourager, and mentor in my life,” says Associate Dean of the School of Education David Boyer. “I am proud to stand on the shoulders of such Godly men and women.”
Dr. Hardin played an important role in helping her grandson move in, as Dylan’s parents are still in American Samoa, the island he has called home for the past eight years. Dylan is what you would call a “third culture kid,” and for grandma, her desire is for him to get involved and make his own way.
“The biggest thing grandma tells me is to use my time wisely,” says Dylan. “I know I will be busy, and it will be challenging to self-motivate rather than have others motivate me, but it will be good. I’m most excited about knowing all these new experiences are going to happen.”
Dylan knows his grandmother made a big difference at LCU. He’s hoping even as a student he will make a significant impact on the campus as well.