PRESIDENT, FLORIDA MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY
Jaffus Hardrick, Ed.D. is an award-winning senior academic executive with a proven track record for promoting student success, enhancing student outcomes, optimizing faculty and staff development, and cultivating a culture of excellence. Dr. Hardrick fully understands the promise of education. Through education, Dr. Hardrick was fortunate to earn significant roles as a higher education administrator. He served as the vice provost for Access and Success at Florida International University, the nation’s fourth-largest public urban research university; assistant vice provost for Academic Affairs at Baylor University; and now the president of Florida Memorial University. As an education executive, he is committed to developing future leaders and closing achievement gaps among underrepresented students and creating a culture of academic excellence in higher education. He is also the co-author of Making Global Learning Universal: Promoting Inclusion and Success for All Students (Stylus).
Upon being named University President in 2019, Dr. Hardrick began laying the foundation to elevate South Florida’s only HBCU to a world-class institution. The key to this transformation was his focus on five strategic areas: student success, academic quality, operational excellence, financial solvency, and relationship development.
By setting goals that are bringing FMU into the future, under Dr. Hardick’s tenure, the University is now debt-free. A beautiful, welcoming campus, at the forefront of technology, is the hub of vibrant student life. FMU is offering programs in high demand fields that set its students on successful career tracks. Now a major presence in the local – and global – community, FMU has formed strong partnerships with renowned corporations and organizations, which continue to grow.
Dr. Hardrick has made integrating FMU into the local community a priority, resulting in invaluable opportunities for the University and its students. Notable partnerships include joining forces with the Miami Dolphins and the Lennar Foundation to launch a successful Certificate Program in Construction Trades, as well as Venture Miami’s STEM Scholarship Program, which provides free tuition to high school graduates of need residing in the City of Miami who are accepted to FMU to pursue a degree in a STEM field.
In 2022, FMU unveiled plans to create a Technology and Innovation Hub on campus. A joint partnership with Ted Lucas of Slip-n-Slide Records and TechNolij, Inc., and The City of Miami, the tech hub will provide the tools to ensure students are proficient in the latest technology and prepared for cutting edge career paths beyond school. 2022 also saw the launch of the Innovation, Technology, Entertainment (ITE), and Esports program, with multiple tracks to help students with an interest in the business of Esports, financial technology, and entrepreneurship explore the industry. A joint partnership with Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), will utilize a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., to bring a Theological Graduate Program to campus.
Now standing in a position of great promise, Fall 2022 welcomed FMU’s largest freshman class in 15 years. With Dr. Hardrick reimagining the future, the school is financially stable, academically sound, and continues ascending to excellence.
Dr. Hardrick’s contributions have been highlighted by national and regional organizations like Forbes, Indulge Magazine, Colleges and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Legacy Magazine, Greater Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Florida Education Fund, South Florida Business and Wealth Journal, Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce, and more. Under his leadership, The Chronicle of Higher Education has consistently recognized his previous institution for creating an exceptional environment in its “Great Colleges to Work For.” This distinction honors the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.
A visionary leader with a keen eye for strategic direction, Dr. Hardrick has developed a record of success by working across the academy to enhance organizational effectiveness and efficiency, improve academic quality, and ensure student success. Some of his professional experiences include attracting and developing talented workforces, increasing donor and business relations, and forging strong community relationships. Dr. Hardrick has been recognized as a strategic thinker, thought leader, problem solver, consensus builder, motivator, and fund and friend raiser.
Dr. Hardrick earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, and his doctorate from Baylor University. He is a proud member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, and as Chair of the Members Committee of the United Negro College Fund.
Along with his wife of 36 years, Janet, Dr. Hardrick is the proud father of three and grandfather of one.