Myrtle Hardesty ’54 left Butler University before graduating, but the two years she spent as a Bulldog always meant something to her and her family.
So when she died in 2017, at age 95, she left the University a gift of $1.25 million to go toward scholarships in the College of Education.
The Myrtle Browning and James E. Hardesty Endowed Scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate students who have financial need, are majors in the College of Education, and have a GPA of 3.0 or better.
“She was one of those people who realized that she had been given a lot in life, and when you’re given so much, you should turn around and give back,” said Ena Shelley, Dean of the College of Education.
“That was very much what she was about—giving back. We will make sure we do a good job with the gift she has given to us.”
Mrs. Hardesty told Dean Shelley she wanted the College of Education at Butler University to have the gift because her mother and father had been so proud of her for getting to Butler and for later becoming a teacher.
Myrtle Browning spent two years at Butler. She married an engineer named James Hardesty—they were together more than 40 years—and moved to New Jersey. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s in teaching and counseling from Montclair State University, and spent her career as a guidance counselor at the Hubbard Middle School in Plainfield, New Jersey.
In her retirement, she liked to spend time in the art studio in her home. In addition to her monetary gift, she also left one of her paintings to the College of Education.
Dean Shelley visited Mrs. Hardesty at her home in New Jersey in early 2017 and described her as “absolutely darling. I’m so glad I got to meet her. She was such a sweet, sweet woman.”
The Dean said the Hardesty gift is going to make it possible for Butler to educate more teachers.
“This is a great step forward in meeting the teacher shortage demands and for us to have some resources to offer students,” she said. “This helps our ability to bring more students in to teacher education.”
This gift supports the Butler 2020 Strategic Plan which was approved by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2013. Butler 2020 charts a bold course for Butler’s future through which it will preserve the University’s unique character, distinguish Butler as a school of choice for exceptional students, and increase its national prominence. In support of Butler 2020, the University has invested in new campus facilities, academic programs, and co-curricular offerings. In the past five years, Butler has built the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts and two undergraduate residential communities, Fairview House and Irvington House. In the fall of 2019, the Andre B. Lacy School of Business will open a new 110,000 square foot building. Additionally, Butler is actively fundraising to complete a $93 million Science Complex expansion and renovation. To learn more, visit butler.edu.
Marc Allan MFA ’18