Christian Hardigree selected as USF St. Pete’s next regional chancellor

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Hardigree will replace Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock.

Christian Hardigree is set to become the next regional chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, the university announced Wednesday.

Hardigree, who most recently served as the founding dean of the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver, will take the role on July 1.

“We are thrilled to welcome Christian Hardigree, a leader who brings a demonstrated history of academic and administrative experience, as well as an excellent record of serving the communities she has been a part of throughout her career,” USF President Rhea Law said in a statement. “I am confident she will be an outstanding advocate for the St. Petersburg campus and a trusted partner to me as we work together to continue the University of South Florida’s tremendous momentum.”

Hardigree will replace Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock, who is stepping down to return to teaching at the USF College of Education after five years of leading the campus.

“I absolutely fell in love with the faculty, staff, students and community members I met at USF St. Petersburg,” Hardigree said in a statement. “It’s clearly a special place, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead such a vibrant campus. I can’t wait to get started and am honored by the confidence that President Law and other members of the USF leadership team are showing in me.”

Hardigree led the transition for the MSU School of Hospitality to become a free-standing school, implementing departmental structures, a strategic plan, and other initiatives. During her time at MSU, she secured more than $3.7 million in external funds to support the school, which is the largest hospitality program in the region and led faculty through curriculum redesign of six degrees and majors, eight minors and nine certificates.

Hardigree also developed and oversaw a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that helped to increase the underrepresented student population by more than 8%. She designed, launched, and funded an initiative to transition 80% of courses to utilize open education resources, which make learning materials more accessible.

“Chancellor Hardigree brings a compelling mix of energy, enthusiasm, and experience to this vital position,” Melissa Seixas, chair of the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board, said in a statement. “With more than 20 years spent in higher education, she has the knowledge and understanding necessary to take our distinctive campus to even greater heights. I am confident USF St. Petersburg will continue to flourish under Chancellor Hardigree’s leadership.”

Before she started her work at MSU, Hardigree served as the founding director and professor of the Institute for Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Georgia. There, she oversaw 50 faculty and staff and grew the program to about 800 full-time students.

From 2001 to 2012, Hardigree worked as a professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, where she eventually became the department chair of Hotel Management.

Hardigree earned a bachelor’s at UNLV, and her juris doctorate from Walter F. George School of law at Mercer University. She’s worked for Parnell & Associates as a senior litigation attorney and partner focusing on employment discrimination, arbitration, mediation and labor-management relations.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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