By: Ben Abrams
Scott Hardy has deep connections with GPC as a faculty member and a student.
Hardy currently serves as the Director of Plant Operations on the Clarkston campus, as well as the sitting President of GPC’s Alumni Board.
22 years before he reached the heights of his career at GPC, Hardy was a student at the Decatur campus when it was known as DeKalb College.
Hardy did not see the value of education the same way he does today, but he did find something that motivated him to stay in school.
While he was earning his degree, Hardy was a catcher for the school’s baseball team.
The “North Stars” was the main reason that the future Plant Operations leader was motivated to stay in school, transfer and complete his degree in Building, Construction and Contracting from Georgia Southern in 1986.
Hardy shares how those days molded him into the success he is today.
The C: How was being a student athlete at DeKalb College (now GPC) made a significant impact on your career and your life?
SH: “The school provided me with great mentors from my coaches on the team and the staff that I had in the classroom. They provided me with the direction I needed and helped me to stay in school.”
The C: What is the connection you have with this school today thanks to your experience on the baseball team?
SH: “I have worked here for 27 years and it was all thanks to the time I spent at this school as a student. DeKalb College was a turning point and a valuable step in my life. Through my years working here I have seen this college also make differences in many students’ lives.”
The C: What are your favorite memories as a student and an athlete?
SH: “My favorite memory from baseball is this game I had against Georgia Tech. I went five (hits) out of seven (at bat). In the game I got two singles, two doubles and a home run. It was the greatest game I played in my entire career. My favorite from class had to be the teachers I had: Agnes Donaldson, Tommy Barber for history, Bill Grey for economics and Clair Pierce for math just to name a few.”
The C: How has GPC changed since you were taking classes?
SH: “The access mission has changed since I attended. Back when I was at school, it was normal for a college student to attend junior college in the 70s and 80s, because it was more affordable. That is not seen as normal for today’s students. They seem to prefer going to a big university over a smaller school that is more affordable to them.”
The C: Do you think GPC made the right decision to disband athletics after this school year?
SH: “That is a hard question to answer, because I’m not sure if it was the right decision to make. To me, there is value that the sports team can provide to their communities if they are marketed and used the right way. The baseball teams in Dunwoody, Decatur and Clarkston used to be regional teams with local athletes that could make a connection with the community. I feel that the teams at Georgia Perimeter were a resource that was not effectively used for a long time.”
The C: Do you agree with the handling about the status of the athletes and the coaches after the GPC-GSU consolidation was made public?
SH: “It’s a difficult situation, because the coaches used to also be teachers for the school and it was a similar situation when I went to Georgia Southern. The biggest mistake I think GPC made is when they decided not to keep the coaches as teachers. I believe if the coaches were still teachers they would still have jobs.”
The C: How did the coaching change once the coaches stopped being teachers?
SH: “Once the hiring practices changed for the coaches, the recruiting practices changed. The school began looking for a different type of athlete that helped the coaches win more and give the athletes a doorstep to transfer to bigger programs.”
The C: What is lost at GPC without an athletic department next year?
SH: “The opportunity is the biggest thing that is lost with no sports. Athletics helped the school market themselves to other people, and the athletes had the chance to earn their degree from the school.”
The C: What is the legacy that the athletic department leaves behind on the campus and in the community?
SH: “The Jaguars were always competitive every year, and the teams gave our school the opportunity to attract students to the college.”
The C: Do you feel that Georgia State will have the same commitment to its students that GPC has now?
SH: “GSU has a similar mission for their students that GPC has for theirs. This consolidation just streamlines the process to make it easier for GPC students to enter GSU. Georgia State accepts more freshman transfers from GPC than are accepted into the school. Georgia State gives their students the resources they need so they can think that ‘I am going to finish and earn my degree.’”
The C: What makes you the most proud about being a Jaguar/North Star for all these years?
SH: “I have an emotional connection with GPC on the inside. There are 21,000 students on the campuses of GPC, and they all have a story. There are students who thought they couldn’t make through one semester and now they’re graduating; I’m proud of that. An educated society is a pathway to freedom. I’ve been lucky to grow up with two parents, go to school and have a job since college. What’s so special about this school is that GPC will take you and make it work for you.”