Nita H. Hardie, a former Western Michigan University faculty member, died Sept. 23. She was 83.
Hardie retired as chair of the Department of Science Studies and an associate professor emerita of political science in 1992 after 27 years of service to the University. While at WMU, she served in several administrative roles and was involved in numerous pioneering efforts.
She helped to initiate race and culture courses in the 1960s, developed the first women's studies course and played an instrumental role in building the Women's Studies Program in the 1970s.
In addition to curriculum development, Hardie served as the first liaison officer for the University's innovative partnership with Sunway College in Malaysia, which allowed students to start their degrees at Sunway and complete them at WMU. She also was a founding member of the Commission on the Status of Women and active in creating the Center for Women's Services.
Locally, Hardie helped to build the Kalamazoo Democratic Party, serving as chair for many years; was a founding member of the Michigan Democratic Party Women's Caucus; and served as out-state campaign manager for Shirley Chisholm's historic bid for the presidential nomination in 1972. She was active in several local and state political campaigns and ran for elective office at both the local and state levels.
Hardie began her WMU career in the political science department in 1964, then joined the social science area in the College of General Studies in 1967. Her teaching and research focused on the effects of gender and race on attitudes and behavior.
She was appointed chair of the social science area in 1972 and held this position until being named assistant to the dean of the general studies college 10 years later. She became chair of the science studies department in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989 and served in this capacity until retiring.
Hardie served as president of the Affirmative Action Coordinating Committee, and was active in the Faculty Senate and American Association of University Professors. She earned a bachelor's degree from North Texas State University and a master's degree from Indiana University.