Former LCU president Dr. W. Joe Hacker, Jr. passed away on March, 22, 2017 at the age of 86.
“We mourn the passing of Dr. W. Joe Hacker and extend our love and sympathy to Joan and to the Hacker family,” said current LCU President L. Timothy Perrin. “Dr. Hacker provided leadership to the university at a crucial time in its development, and we remember and give thanks for his many contributions to this place.”
Hacker assumed the presidency at LCU in 1974, following his predecessor, founding president F.W. Mattox. He remained in the role for more than two years, working tirelessly during that time – dedicating his efforts to increasing student enrollment and stabilizing the university’s finances.
Prior to his presidency, Hacker was chairman of the Department of Bible, Religion, and Philosophy at Harding College. Upon his appointment by the Board of Trustees, Hacker moved to Lubbock and began his work by prioritizing the university’s budget situation.
Dr. Steven Lemley, LCU’s fourth president, commented: “When I became president and was engaged in a review of the school’s financial history, it was an obvious conclusion that Dr. Hacker had been a vital force for the stabilization of the institution. In the way that Esther was called “for such a time as this,” Dr. Hacker was the man for his time.”
Hacker attacked the issues facing LCC with enthusiasm and vigor.
“The Christian college of today must have a broad curriculum which will equip a person to cope with explosive changes occurring in all segments of modern society and to face boundless modern frontiers . . . . We believe that education . . . in a Christian environment can accomplish this goal by providing for body, soul, and spirit,” Hacker asserted during his inaugural address in 1975. “I accept the challenge of tomorrow.”
Hacker focused efforts on increasing enrollment, encouraging innovation, and empowering those responsible for recruiting new students to the young college. For example, John King recalls that he was charged with recruiting students from California, a new initiative for the school. According to King, with the refocused efforts, more than 100 students from California enrolled at LCU.
"I have fond memories of Dr. Hacker. He was my Bible Professor when I was a student at Harding," said King. "I had the privilege of traveling with him on a number of occasions; he worked very hard and led the school through a very difficult time."
During Hacker’s tenure, several long-tenured faculty members began their service. He encouraged new opportunities with existing faculty and staff. Dr. Don Williams, who has directed over 60 theater productions while at LCU, remembers the influence of Dr. Hacker on the theater program. “Dr. Hacker encouraged June Bearden and I to begin producing a fall musical,” Williams explained. “We did Music Man that fall, and Dr. Hacker sent us both a dozen roses. Dr. Hacker believed in the arts, and always provided support for us.”
While Dr. Hacker’s tenure was relatively short, he made important contributions. A resolution from the LCU Board of Trustees approved after his resignation from the presidency stated their “congratulations on significant improvement reflected in the phenomenal increase in enrollment.” The lengthy resolution ended by adding, “We are deeply indebted to Dr. Hacker and want this resolution to be considered a strong endorsement of his work and a permanent expression of his meaningful contribution to Lubbock Christian College.”
“We remember Dr. Hacker’s faithful service to the university and we celebrate his life and legacy,” stated President Perrin.
In honor of Dr. Hacker, the LCU flag on the front lawn of the campus was lowered to half-staff on Thursday morning and will remain there for the next week.