News + Events

FHU to Celebrate Birthday of Former President Gardner

Henderson, TN - Jan 12, 2015

The public is invited to join Freed-Hardeman University in celebrating the ninetieth birthday of Dr. E. Claude Gardner, FHU president emeritus, Friday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. in Gardner Center.

The program will include a review of Gardner Center history, a look at the lives of E. Claude and the late Delorese Gardner and special music by the University Chorale. A plaque honoring the Gardners will be unveiled, and Henderson Mayor Bobby King and Chester County Mayor Dwain Seaton will present a proclamation.

A special chapel service at 10:30 a.m. in Loyd Auditorium will precede the birthday celebration.  In addition, the recently renovated welcome center located in Gardner Center will be dedicated as a part of the celebration.

Gardner served Freed-Hardeman for almost a half-century in a variety of roles. He joined the faculty as chairman of the Department of Education and Psychology and Bible teacher in 1949. In the ensuing years, he became the registrar, dean, vice president, president, chancellor and president emeritus. He retired as chancellor in 1992.

During Gardner’s tenure, the college went from junior college to university status and began offering master’s degrees. The school experienced remarkable growth; enrollment grew and more than a dozen new buildings were built. 

He has also been very active in Henderson and Chester County civic affairs. He was a founding member of the Chester County Senior Citizens, Chester County Chamber of Commerce and Chester County Crime Stoppers. He serves as a director of Chester County Bank.

Gardner began preaching at age fifteen. He has preached at many congregations in this country as well as several foreign countries. He has conducted more that 350 gospel meetings.

“It is certainly fitting that we honor Dr. Gardner on the occasion of his ninetieth birthday,” FHU President Joe Wiley said. “The depth and breadth of his knowledge of Freed-Hardeman is extraordinary, beginning with his time here as a student in the 1940s and continuing into the 1990s. He led the university through a period of considerable growth in all areas.”

Cake and refreshments will be served. The honoree requests that he be given no gifts.