• Hardage’s career of service exemplifies ‘Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana’

    Dr. David Hardage on Baylor's campus

    Dr. David Hardage (BA ’79), winner of Baylor’s 2023 Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service, has spent a lifetime serving the church in Texas — from his call to ministry at the age of 10, to a decade of service leading the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

    Even before he came to Baylor as a student, Hardage was preaching. Starting at the age of 14, he preached in small towns near his hometown of Lamesa, Texas, and continued to do so as a college student. At Baylor, he met his wife, Kathleen (BSEd ’79); you can hear that story and more in the video below. Although they have lived all over the state after they graduated, Baylor always served as a home away from home for the Hardages.

    After Baylor, Hardage earned his master’s and doctorate from Baptist seminaries, and pastored at Baptist churches for a quarter century. He returned to his alma mater to serve as director of development for Truett Seminary before becoming the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ (BGCT) executive director in 2012.

    Hardage spent 10 years leading the BGCT before retiring last year. In that role, he made visits to churches across the state a hallmark of his stewardship of the BGCT. While he couldn’t visit every one of the more than 5,000 Baptist churches in Texas, he used the opportunities to share stories of the work God was doing through BGCT congregations and the BGCT ministry. Upon his retirement, he was recognized by many as a peacemaker who excelled in the challenging job of leading thousands of congregations serving millions of parishioners — epitomizing Baylor’s “Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana” motto throughout the entirety of his career.

    Although retired, Hardage is not through with ministry. He and his family can also regularly be found at Baylor events, both athletic and otherwise.

    “I think the opportunity to pursue higher education in a Christian institution, particularly at a place like Baylor, is a unique opportunity, one which should be taken advantage of today,” says Hardage. He believes that students with such an education will be “academically and spiritually prepared for what they’re going to face in the workforce in the world ahead of them.”

    Sic ’em, Dr. Hardage!