Dr. Shirley Hardin Paying It Forward Scholarship Application

Established by the “Paying It Forward” Committee and Dr. Shirley H. Hardin (January 16, 2020), this scholarship honors the 40-year academic legacy of a dedicated professor, an exceptional administrator and vibrant personality. A product of the Early County Schools, Dr. Hardin was encouraged by her parents (Freddie Hodge, Sr. & Susie Hodge) and her older siblings, all of Jakin, GA, to complete a B.S. Degree in English from Albany State College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from The Florida State University, graduating among the top of her class with the aid of grants, scholarships and fellowships. Dr. Hardin came to Valdosta State College in 1976 after having taught English for one year at her beloved undergraduate Alma Mater, Albany State College. A few of her accomplishments include being promoted to full professor in English, helping to establish and serve as the first director of the dynamic VSU African American Studies Program, and directing HEROES Institute, an African American Male Initiative, an approved project of the Georgia Board of Regents. Dr. Hardin embraces her mentor, Dr. Maya Angelou’s personal mantra: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This scholarship continues to encourage the tradition of academic excellence, service to others, and a trailblazing spirit of success!

The successful applicant will receive at least $500 to be paid directly to the college or university for tuition and fees. This scholarship is not automatically renewable.

The VSU Africana Studies Program and the Advisory Selection Committee will declare at least one recipient, but no more than two recipients, each academic year through the submission of applications. 

Applicants must be Africana Studies (AFAM) Minors who have demonstrated academic excellence at VSU and have taken and completed at least three - 3000 level or above AFAM classes. The recipient must also be a full time VSU student enrolled as a sophomore, junior, senior (who has at least one more semester left before graduation), or first year VSU graduate student who has completed the AFAM minor.

Please submit the following: Application form, official VSU transcript, one letter of recommendation from a university professor from whom you have taken a class, a recent photograph (for publicity purposes), and an ESSAY of at least 500 words addressing one of the two questions below:

Question #1: Recently, Critical Race Theory (CRT) has become politicized. Discuss the importance of African American literature and what you have learned from one or some of the classes you have taken as an Africana Studies minor.”

Question #2: Given the historical marginalization, limited opportunities, and racial disparities for Americans of African descent in the United States, identify and discuss two or three 21st century black trailblazers who have inspired your personal academic career choice and have served as a great impetus for your success in college and beyond.


For further information, please call 229-249-4843 or come by the Africana Studies Office located at 1107 Nevins Hall, Valdosta State University.

Scholarship Fund Established: January 16, 2016

Scholarship Endowed: January 16, 2020

Please fill out the application: Paying It Forward Application link and add the file to the submission box listed under "Paying It Forward Application" once complete

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  • Africana Studies
    • 1107 Nevins Hall Valdosta, Georgia 31698
    • Mailing Address
      1500 N. Patterson St.
      Valdosta, GA 31698
    • Phone: 229.249.4843
    • Monday-Thursday 8:00am-5:30pm

      Friday:  8:00am-3:00pm