Inaugural Address of Jerry L. Hardee, Ed.D.
Presented May 24, 2002, at Sherman College

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Drs. Thom and Betty Gelardi, members of the board of trustees, honored guests, local officials and representatives of the various colleges and universities, learned societies, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, students and friends, other platform guests, thank you for your presence this evening to share in this celebration of my installation as the third president of Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic.

I want to especially thank the members of my family and the many friends from various levels of my career and those who have been involved as members of my church family. Many of you have traveled great distances to share this special occasion with me. Thank you. You have played a significant role in helping me to be who I am today. I also thank Mrs. Susan Newlin and the inaugural committee for their hard work in making this event a success.

In my personal life, my parents, Rev. and Mrs. C. S. Hardee (Big Momma and Big Daddy -- my heroes): at a time when it would have been easy for you to give up -- you never gave up on me, or any of your children. There aren't many African American couples from your generation that have produced as many college graduates as you have, and you have always been supportive of my endeavors. I wish that I had the time to share a few stories of these two great people with you.

My brother, George, and my sisters, Marvara, Carol and LaCrisia -- I wish Betty could have been here today to sing one day at a time. George, you started it all when you went off to Morehouse College with your one blue suit. I wanted to get away from my big brother, so I went across the street to Clark College a short time later with my brown suit, and everyone thought that we had two suits. They had no idea we were wearing the same suits. I want to thank you on behalf of the entire family for leading the way.

My wife Wyonnie: you've taught me to be patient and I am still a work in progress; but thank you. Sidney, I've learned from you what dogged determination is -- I wish Gerald could be here this evening, too.

From a professional standpoint, I want to personally thank several individuals who have certainly impacted my career in various ways. Dr. Hugh Bailey, retired president of Valdosta State University: Hugh and Joan, you've taught me how, even in difficult times, to maintain a sense of dignity and professionalism. Leon "Skipper" Lomax, my high school coach, teacher, colleague at Fort Valley State University, golfing partner, mentor and friend: you taught me perseverance. You are the only person I know who could convince a team that is 20 points down with a minute to go in football or basketball that it had a chance to win. A member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the only coach to win state championships in football, basketball and track in the same year. It took me a long time to understand that it was about winning in life.

Drs. Thom and Betty Gelardi, you have taught me that it is all right to dream and that many people are dreamers. You are dream makers. Thank you for your friendship and the confidence in handing over your dream to me for safe keeping -- I won't let you down.

When I agreed to become president of Sherman College, I promised the Board of Trustees that I would do all that is within my power to preserve the mission and vision upon which Sherman College was founded. In doing so, I promised to work on three immediate goals for the institution and two long-term or continuous goals:

First, to produce competent doctors of chiropractic -- well grounded in the philosophy, science, and art of chiropractic -- and to create an outstanding learning environment for these future chiropractors.

Second, I agreed to ensure that the institution continues to meet and adhere to the standards of the Council on Chiropractic Education and also those of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; accreditation legitimizes what we are doing as an educational institution.

And third, I agreed to ensure that we position our curriculum in critical areas with reorganization, additions, strategies and improved methodologies to ensure that our students continue to be well-prepared and further improve their scores on national board examinations.

The final two goals are separate from the first three but no less important -- in fact they are, perhaps, equally important. They are:

Fourth, to significantly increase the student enrollment at Sherman College with competent and qualified students who meet all the criteria outlined in the new admission standards.

And finally, it is crucial that we lessen the college's dependence on tuition for its daily operations. We must create and find alternative funding sources for Sherman College.

As part of our ongoing assessment and evaluation of programs, Sherman College is revising the wording of its mission statement. To paraphrase, since it has not yet been finalized by the Board of Trustees, Sherman College's mission is to educate students as doctors of chiropractic, qualified to serve humanity as primary health care providers centered on vertebral subluxation.

This revised mission statement includes three areas: education, research and service. Sherman College has an outstanding educational program; it will only continue to improve under the direction of Dr. Laura Weeks and the Sherman College faculty. Our research program is also excellent -- and with additional external funding, it will expand and become world class under the guidance of Dr. Edward Owens.

Our clinic (under the supervision of Dr. Michael Clusserath), the clinic faculty and our student interns are involved in many community relations activities such as public education about the benefits of chiropractic care and spinal checks. The clinical program will continue to prosper under his direction.

We also want to continue to debate and discuss philosophical issues, Dr. Pennacchio, but most importantly, our students must be well grounded at the outset in the Sherman vision and philosophical understanding of chiropractic.

Other institutional service components such as planning and evaluation led by Mrs. Susan Newlin, public relations, admissions, continuing education, the registrar's office and student services continue to receive high marks from agencies and students. Our Business and Finance Office, led by Mr. Tim Revels, ensures that we are highly responsible stewards of the institution's resources. Our physical facilities and grounds, as you can attest, are attractive and well kept.

This evening we Stand Proud and we Step Forward -- together. The journey upon which we are about to embark is an extension of the one begun almost 30 years ago. We have come through difficult times -- some related to finances, some related to ideological differences, and others related to accreditation -- but we have persevered, and we shall continue to grow stronger.

During the difficult times, many of you stood proud and then you stepped forward and gave your full support. In some cases, you stood proud and helped us boost morale when it may not have been politically correct to do so -- but you did, and we thank you.

Having been an educator for more than 40 years, I know that educational standards are important. In fact, institutions should have many areas that exceed the standards for the various programs that are evaluated. But from my experience, I also know that an institution should not be totally driven by external standards; otherwise, the institution will lose its mission focus. We are intelligent chiropractic educators; therefore we should set the example for collegiality, cooperation and tolerance.

There is a saying that if a person is not willing to stand for something, he is sure to fall for anything. So, our theme for Lyceum and for me personally as president is very fitting.

We stand proud today for what Sherman College is: an institution dedicated to producing doctors of chiropractic who specialize in locating, analyzing and correcting vertebral subluxations. We stand proud of our past and look forward to the future with great optimism.

We stand proud of the history and heritage of Sherman College and of what it has meant to the profession. Thursday evening (May 23) we honored those who have contributed significantly to the development, growth and endurance of Sherman College by inducting them into our Heritage Society. In forming this society, we honor and thank those who have contributed substantially to the health and welfare of Sherman College.

We stand proud of our alumni, more than 2,000 strong, and of our supporters who stuck with us as we gained accreditation and licensure acceptance across the country.

We stand proud of our philosophical underpinning and our determination to be scientifically learned in the basic and clinical sciences -- as is ensured by Drs. Wise, Ravikumar and Clusserath, as well as the college's faculty and support staff.

We stand proud and ready to work in a spirit of cooperation to advance our institution and the profession, and we will seize opportunities to do so without compromising our beliefs.

We stand proud of our students, who have their future in terms of what they expect in a chiropractic education in our trust -- we will make you proud of us now and in the future.

We stand proud in announcing that at the Presidential Ball (held Saturday, May 25), a brief mortgage burning ceremony will signify that Sherman College will be a debt-free campus.

We stand proud of Dr. Thomas Gelardi and what he has meant to Sherman College and the chiropractic profession. His influence and the impact that he has made and will continue to make in the profession will be long lasting, and we are grateful for his commitment, passion and contributions.

Now, we step forward in launching a multi-million dollar campaign to ensure the long-term future of Sherman College -- checks and credit cards are now being accepted, and I'm sure that Dr. Leroy Moore will be happy to meet with you following this ceremony. He and his assistants in the advancement office are skilled at caring for your donations.

One of the first initiatives in this fund-raising campaign will be the preservation of the Sherman College history and culture. Dr. John Hart has been named the initial curator/ archivist of the Brown House Museum. He recently has been successful in securing a chiropractic history display, which is now on display in the Brown House Museum.

We step forward as we utilize funds from this campaign to enhance the Sherman College endowment. The endowment fund will allow certain programs to continue without interruption, which is essential to building a strong academic program.

We step forward as our curriculum review committee works diligently to revise the curriculum and make it even more student-friendly. It has completed an intensive, in-depth curriculum review and designed curriculum revisions to include:
* Revised course sequencing providing a more effective sequence of anatomy, physiology, pathology, philosophy and technique courses to ensure earlier eligibility and relevant study for National Board exams,
* A possible two-track curriculum: a 16-quarter regular curriculum and a 14-quarter accelerated curriculum for students who qualify and prefer the more rigorous completion pace,
* Enhanced instruction in technique and case management and
* Enhanced training in skills for practice success.

We step forward as we seek ways to continually improve current facilities and complete the building projects already planned.

During this little discourse, I mentioned philosophy and science -- the purists among you probably have already noticed that I did not mention art, but I deliberately saved it for last. It is rare that one can be good at something with out practice.

Artists always believe that the next piece of art will be better than the previous one. Mrs. Helen McMike Brown is an excellent example. At a time when she could sit back and talk about her work -- she continues to create, construct and paint. Obviously, she thinks that she can do better, so she keeps working. Dr. Judy Campanale said as much last evening: "A good adjustment is a work of art, and the next one ought to be better than the previous."

Skills must be practiced and enjoyed. Tiger Woods is a great example. Those of you who know me realize that it is difficult for me to close a presentation without a vignette related to golf. On Sunday, Tiger dons his red shirt signifying that the match is on, but it is not for the people or for his opponents -- it is for him. He says to himself, "This is why I get up at 4 a.m. to lift weights for two hours each day, then hit 500 balls and putt until I make 100 in a row."

So, the art emerges when one practices. Chiropractors are artists, but to excel, one must practice the art. Sherman will produce doctors who are skilled in the art of chiropractic.

Finally, I want to thank, once again, these outstanding administrators, faculty, staff and students for their support -- our journey is just beginning. But, working together, we will move this great institution to even greater heights. Dr. Gelardi and the members of the board, I accept the challenges you have set forth, and I pledge to reward your trust in me as the third president of Sherman College. Thank you.

Sherman College President
Jerry L. Hardee, Ed.D

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