At the time of her award, Dr. Donna Hardy taught English to eighth graders at Bearden Middle School in Knoxville. Ms. Hardy Believes that educators who care about the well-being of children must foster in them the "confidence to speak, the courage to try, and the strength to love themselves." Adding that the arts provide a major venue to boost children's feelings of self-worth and purpose, Ms. Hardy laments the current disregard for the arts that has followed from a loss of funding coupled to a loss of interest. She believes that technology and media sciences have overshadowed the necessity for an education in the arts. Ms. Hardy's deep commitment to language and communication is evident from her deep love for poetry; she liked to create every opportunity for her students to express themselves freely, effectively, and if possible, beautifully. Her commitment to communication is also at the heart of her efforts against prejudice of any kind; "there are no superior races, only superior individuals. Donna worked as a Language Arts/Reading teacher and administrator in Knox County. Presently, she is a volunteer with UT Medical Center and Fort Sanders Hospital. She serves as a Stephen Minister at "The Fort" and a volunteer in UT MEDICAL. In July 2019 Dr. Hardy received "Volunteer of the Year" at "The Fort."
1979 University of Tennessee - Knoxville, B.A.