news-category: Faculty & Staff

Gardner-Webb VP for Finance and Administration Retires After Nearly 30 years of Service

Mike Hardin stands outside Webb Hall
Photo by Lindy Lynch / GWU Student Photo Team

Mike Hardin, a Two-Time Graduate of GWU, Came to Work for the University in 1991

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Mike Hardin, who has nearly 30 years of service to Gardner-Webb University, is retiring on Nov. 30, 2020, as vice president for Finance and Administration. A two-time graduate of GWU, Hardin earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1986 and then his Master of Business Administration in 2000.

“In the time that I have been at Gardner-Webb, I have observed Mike’s strong commitment to our financial sustainability,” noted GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. “He played a vital role in helping the University navigate an exceptional set of circumstances during 2019-20.  This past academic year was not a particularly easy year to be a CFO at any institution of higher learning, public or private. In addition to the fiscal challenges that have become commonplace at universities for the last decade or more, this year brought COVID-19 and a host of other unanticipated threats to the areas of finance and administration. I count among our great successes during the year the management of various pandemic-related issues. Mike and his staff played important roles in keeping our campus community safe, healthy, and fully functional. For that, we should all be profoundly grateful. I hope you will all join me in thanking Mike and in wishing him and (his wife) Janie well as they transition to a new chapter!”

Hardin came to Gardner-Webb in 1991 to serve as assistant to the vice president for Business and Finance. In 1993, he was promoted to assistant vice president for Business and Finance with responsibility for the Business Office and Student Accounts. From 1998-2005, Hardin was associate vice president for Business and Finance, assuming the additional responsibility of supervising the controller, payroll, annual university audit, banking, and investments.  Since 2005, he has held the position of senior vice president for Administration and Finance.

Mike Hardin in his office at Webb Hall
Photo by Lindy Lynch / GWU Student Photo Team

“My time at Gardner-Webb has been a blessing in every regard,” Hardin affirmed. “From the University’s purpose and mission, the people, the environment and the work itself, there is no other place I would have rather spent the last 30 years. While I am excited and looking forward to transitioning to a new phase of life, Gardner-Webb will always be a very special place for me and my family. Without a doubt, my most proud moments were seeing both of my children graduate from Gardner-Webb.”

Hardin is a native of Forest City, N.C. Before beginning his tenure at Gardner-Webb, he was a store manager at Harris-Teeter Supermarkets Inc. in Shelby, N.C. Hired by the store in 1981 as a part-time employee, Hardin was promoted to manager in 1988. He was responsible for all aspects of store operations, including human relations for approximately 70 employees, net profit on sales of $10 million annually and serving as district trainer for all new management trainees.

During his years at Gardner-Webb, Hardin was a member of Southern Association of College and University Business Officers and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He served as a finance peer reviewer on off-site and on-site accreditation review committees for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). He was a member of the planning team for the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities annual conference.

Hardin is a member of Beaver Dam Baptist Church, where he teaches an adult Sunday school class and has served as a member of the deacon committee. In retirement, he plans to engage in volunteer and service opportunities, be more available to his parents, catch up on some deferred projects around the house, play golf and travel more.

Downs has named Robin Hamrick as interim vice president for Finance and Administration, effective Dec. 1, 2020. Gardner-Webb has retained the firm of Buffkin/Baker to assist in conducting a national search for a new chief financial officer.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at

Mike Hardin is recognized by GWU Board of Trustees Chair Jennifer Marion Mills.

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