Edgar L. Harden (b. 1906 d. 1996)
Michigan State University
Edgar L. Harden, Michigan State University's fifteenth president, was appointed acting president October 23, 1977 to succeed Clifton Wharton. He was formally named President March 31, 1978 to serve till the appointment of a permanent president.
Harden's curriculum vita reflects alternating periods in both academia and business. His association with MSU goes back to 1946 when he was named professor of counseling, testing, and guidance. During his time as head of continuing education (1950-1955), construction for the Kellogg Center for Continuing Education was begun.
Harden left MSU in 1955 to become executive vice president of the Drop Forging Association in Cleveland, leaving a year later to become president of Northern Michigan University. In 1967, Harden left NMU to become the president of Story Incorporated, a large Oldsmobile dealership. He was on leave from this position during his term as president of MSU. Harden left the University when M. Cecil Mackey was appointed president on August 3, 1979.
Harden's term was generally a placid one on campus as student activism waned. Affirmative action and equal rights for various groups were among the issues of the day, especially the Title IX issue of equality for women athletes. Another major issue was divestiture of University owned stock in companies doing business in South Africa. Also during Harden's term, plans for the Wharton Center for performing Arts were finalized and construction was begun.