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Sept. 20, 2014
The Hardy family, whose members have attended Northwest Missouri State University through four generations dating back to World War II, are the University’s 2014 Family of the Year.
Sponsored by Campus Dining, the Family of the Year award is bestowed each fall during the University’s Family Weekend festivities. The recognition comes with a $750 scholarship and other prizes.
Cousins Jaque Runyon and Rebecca Moore nominated their family for the recognition. Jaque, a sophomore interactive digital media major from Maryville, is the daughter of Darla Hardy Runyon, a 1983 Northwest alumna, and Steve Runyon. Rebecca, a sophomore public and private accounting and financial services major from Grant City, Mo., is the daughter of Julia Hardy Wideman, a 1994 Northwest alumna, and the late Donald Moore, who earned a bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwest in 1989 and 1990.
The family’s connection to Northwest began when Jaque’s grandfather and Rebecca’s great-grandfather, Earl Hardy, attended Northwest in 1944 before becoming a sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. According to Hardy family history, President Uel Lamkin called Earl, who raised turkeys with his brother, to his office and requested two of his best turkeys for the president’s Thanksgiving meal.
Later, while Earl was off to war, his soon-to-be wife, Madge, took classes at Northwest to help her with her teaching career at the Pleasant Valley one-room schoolhouse in Worth County.
After the war ended, Earl and Madge married and had nine children. Eight of them attended Northwest and earned degrees in the field of education. The ninth Hardy child, Pat, took over management of the family farm to help the others complete their college degrees.
Together, the eight siblings have amassed 145 years of teaching. The siblings and their graduation years are: David Hardy (1968), Barbara Hardy Matteson (1970), Karen Hardy Ross (1972), Nancy Hardy Penserum (1973), Mike Hardy (1976), Janice Hardy Borey (1980), Darla Hardy Runyon (1983) and James Hardy (1986).
Darla Runyon is director of Northwest’s Center for Information Technology in Education, and Carolyn Hardy, wife of Mike Hardy and a 1983 graduate of Northwest, is an assistant professor in Northwest’s Department of Math, Computer Science and Information Systems.
Earl and Madge also have 24 grandchildren, seven of whom are Northwest graduates. As Northwest students, members of the family have had involvement with the Bearcat Marching Band, Phi Beta Lambda, the Bearcat football team and The Northwest Missourian student newspaper, among other organizations.
Jaque Runyon, the eighth grandchild to attend Northwest, is involved with Gamma Alpha Lambda, Phi Eta Sigma and Mortar Board. She is a student employee in the Department of English and Modern Languages.
A great-grandchild, Rebecca Moore is a member of the Accounting Society, Honors Program and Gamma Alpha Lambda, and she is a student employee in the Office of Financial Assistance.
The family also funds the Hardy Academic Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a graduate of the Worth County R-III School District who attends Northwest.
“Grandfather Hardy always said that his graffiti on the world were his children,” Jaque and Rebecca wrote in their nomination. “Some marks have definitely been made at Northwest by the Hardy family. We feel like we could start our own Northwest Hardys Alumni Chapter.”Families are nominated by members of the Bearcat community or self-nominated. Applicants are judged on the family's commitment to Northwest, academic success, service and the family’s consistent and sustained involvement over several generations.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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