A celebration of life ceremony in memory of Dr. Joseph Tate Hart, eighth president of Ferrum College, will be held at 2 p.m. on Sat., Jan.14, 2017 in Vaughn Chapel on campus. The service is open to the public.
Hart, who died on Dec. 9, 2016 at his home near Ferrum, served as Ferrum College president for fifteen years, from 1971–1986. During that pivotal time in the College’s history, he was instrumental in advancing Ferrum toward the prominent position it enjoys today as an esteemed liberal arts and professional studies institution.
Hart’s leadership took Ferrum from a junior college to a four-year school by bringing in outstanding faculty, building innovative programs, seizing opportunities and securing significant resources to ensure its success. He spearheaded the establishment of the Ferrum College Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, increased professional qualifications of the faculty, and earned a reputation as the “students’ president” because of his active involvement in student life on campus.
Hart was a 1951 graduate of Emory & Henry College and earned a master’s degree in political science from Duke University in 1953. In 1967 he received a PhD in international relations from American University. Prior to his tenure in higher education, he served in the intelligence corps of the U.S. Army and with the National Security Agency before being employed by Research Analysis Corporation in McLean, Va. He was also the founder and president of International Planning Associates, Inc., and was instrumental in the establishment of the McLean Community Center, serving as its first president.
Hart continued his career in higher education as president of the Virginia College Fund for 11 years. He was active in real estate in Canaan Valley, WV, and was a member of St. James United Methodist Church in Ferrum and a past board member at First Virginia Bank.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Ferrum College in memory of Dr. Joe Hart.