Coker University Board of Trustees Extends Dr. Natalie Harder's Contract Through 2030

    Coker University Board of Trustees Extends Dr. Natalie Harder's Contract Through 2030


    Coker University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a five-year extension to the contract of University President Dr. Natalie Harder. This decision is a testament to Dr. Harder's outstanding leadership and the significant progress the University has made under her stewardship.

    “The Board of Trustees is excited to renew and extend Dr. Natalie Harder’s contract as President of Coker University until 2030,” Board Chairman Justin Towey shared. “Dr. Harder arrived during COVID and has done an admirable job managing the University through the pandemic. She has led the restructuring of our curriculum and created a welcoming and inclusive community for students, faculty, and staff. More work is needed, and the Board is committed to Dr. Harder.”

    Since taking office, Dr. Harder has been a transformative figure at Coker University, driving key initiatives that have enhanced the institution’s academic excellence, community engagement, and overall student experience. Under her leadership, Coker University has launched innovative academic programs, navigated the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthened its commitment to an inclusive campus. 


    Dr. Harder's Key Achievements:

    Academic Innovation and Streamlining: Dr. Harder has overseen a revamp of many programs, including Coker’s Business offerings, the development of a nursing program in the newly created College of Health Professions, and infrastructure to enable 100% of students to have workplace experience before graduation. With a focus on student success, she has empowered the campus to make bold changes and improve student outcomes.

    Equity and Inclusion: She has championed diversity and inclusion, implementing policies and programs that foster a welcoming environment for all students and staff and working with campus groups to ensure academic success for underserved populations. This is highlighted by Coker’s student-athletes being recognized at the national level for their significant efforts to ensure the Coker campus remains focused on these important values. 

    Navigating COVID-19: Dr. Harder successfully navigated the university through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the campus community's safety while maintaining academic continuity and student support. Her leadership during this time exemplified excellence and integrity.

    Community Engagement: Strengthening ties with the local and regional community has been a cornerstone of Dr. Harder's presidency, resulting in numerous local events and projects. The University prides itself on the number of community and state-wide events held on campus, including the FIRST South Carolina Robotics Competition - which will return in 2025. 

    Fiscal Stability: Coupled with a renewed focus on fundraising, Coker has redefined internal investments to maximize the ROI of student tuition, fees, and partner contributions. Dr. Harder is committed to data-based revenue and expense modeling, forecasting, and campus-wide financial transparency.


    Dr. Harder’s care for students, alumni, faculty, and staff is evident daily on campus. She is excited to be a part of this supportive community preparing students to impact the world. “I am grateful for this support by Coker's trustees,” Harder includes. “There is no place I would rather be as Coker is grounded in excellence, integrity, innovation, and a commitment to doing what is needed to thrive. We have amazing students, impactful alumni, engaged faculty and staff, and a community of supporters. I am so proud to be a Cobra and appreciate the opportunity to continue the University's important work.”