Three Inducted Into HSU’s Hall of Leaders

Harry Bradley, James Porter, and Lucile Sandefer named to Hall in 2016


(Abilene, Texas)  - Hardin-Simmons University inducted three people into the Hall of Leaders during a noon luncheon Friday in the Johnson Building Multipurpose Room.  

Established in 2001, the Hall of Leaders provides for permanent recognition of graduates, former students, former employees, and other university leaders who have distinguished records of achievement and have proven themselves as men and women of good character.

President Dr. Lanny Hall said the Hall of Leaders located in the Skiles Building serves as an important symbol on campus.

“Its presence in such a prominent place on our campus is a constant reminder to our faculty, staff, and students as well as to visitors to our campus of the tremendous heritage of Hardin-Simmons University and the terrific people who have been a part of this place,” he said.

The 2016 Inductees were:

Mr. Harry T. Bradley (‘65), Public Servant
Mr. James E. Porter (‘68), Educator, Public Servant
Mrs. Lucile Gilbert Sandefer, University First Lady 

*Full bios at bottom of page

Bradley said he did not believe in the phrase “self-made man” and gave thanks to the people at HSU and beyond who have helped him over the years.

“The recognition today goes to the so many people that have helped me throughout my life,” he said.

Porter said he felt blessed to have two callings in his life. One was to work with children and the other to work in churches as a musical director.

“I want to thank you for what I consider an undeserved honor because I haven’t worked a day in my life because I’ve loved everything I’ve done,” he said.  He said he plans to earn his honor over the rest of his life by continuing to serve as an advocate for children.

First Lady of HSU Carol Hall accepted the award for the late Mrs. Sandefer, whom she called a fine example to those who filled the role after her.

“On behalf of the family, I’m honored to accept this plaque in recognition of a woman whose great vision and leadership skills I have grown to admire and respect,” Hall said. “She established the relationships and the constituencies through which she accomplished great things.”

Families of the recipients were also in attendance. Hall of Leaders recipients received their plaques with the honor engraved exactly as it will be displayed in the Skiles Building rotunda. 

For full biographies on each of the inductees and for a full list of past inductees, visit:
 Doyle and Inez Kelley of Houston provided the funding for the Hall. 

Mr. Harry T. Bradley

Harry T. Bradley was born in Coleman, Texas, on March 1, 1943 to I.L. and Ava Jewel Bradley. His father's job with the Halliburton Company would result in Harry living his formative years in several West Texas towns. However, Anson, where his mother’s family lived, was his designated home.

After graduating from Cisco High School in 1961, he enrolled in Hardin-Simmons where he was a member of Tau Alpha Phi fraternity and Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. He worked part time at Dyess Air Force Base and for HSU basketball coaches, Lou Henson and Paul Lambert, while he earned a Bachelor of Science degree which he received in 1965.

Upon graduation, Harry served in the United States Air Force from 1965-1967, returning to Hardin-Simmons to complete a Master of Arts degree in economics in December of 1969.

Following graduate school, he moved to Austin and worked for the Texas Water Development Board. During his spare time, he became involved in Democratic Party politics and campaigns, working in numerous local, state and national elections. He kept his involvement with the Democrats a big secret from his paternal grandparents because they were "dyed-in-the-wool Republicans." He was their only grandson, named after his grandfather. This was a promise made to his mother because of something called "family harmony."

In 1979, Harry was hired by Abilene State Senator, Grant Jones, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The educational and professional experience he gained through that position allowed him the opportunity to work for Attorney General Mark White and afterward in the Governor's Office as Special Assistant to Governor White. In this capacity, he helped Governor White lead the effort to finalize the agreement between the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Colorado River Municipal Water District to build Stacy Reservoir, known today as the O.H. Ivie Reservoir.

He returned to the Texas Water Development Board in 1987. Three years later, he joined the Bob Bullock for Lieutenant Governor Campaign, working full-time in both the 1990 and 1994 campaigns.

At the close of the 1994 campaign, Lieutenant Governor Bullock appointed Harry as Superintendent of the premiere burial ground for honored Texans, the Texas State Cemetery, where he continues to serve today. In addition to statewide elected officials, the Cemetery is the final resting place for heroes of the Texas Revolution, Civil War soldiers and cultural icons, as well as such historical figures as Stephen F. Austin and Sam Rayburn, members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate, members of the Texas House and Senate, and notable astronauts, artists, and authors.

Harry is a member of the Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church in downtown Austin. He has served as a Baptist deacon since 1986. He has one son, D'Marcus Dynell Wilson, who is the love of his life, and one grandson, D'Marcus Dynell Wilson, Jr., and a daughter-in-law, Dezhia Gorrer.

He has long served as a mentor and tutor in the Austin public schools and in 2005 was chosen as Mentor of the Year by the Austin Independent School District for elementary schools. His interests also include working with youth basketball and football leagues. He is a lifetime member of the American Legion. He was awarded the State Community Builder Award for Non-Masons by the Grand Masonic Lodge of Texas in 2006.

When Harry was a student at HSU, he could not have imagined the amazing opportunities he would experience in Texas government. For many years he was a familiar face in the Texas Capitol Building where he interacted daily with the key leadership of the state. A master storyteller, he has a host of stories and memories, which he loves to share. He retains a vast reservoir of knowledge about the players in Texas politics spanning the last five decades.

In 2013, Harry was instrumental in bringing special recognition to Hardin-Simmons University as he spearheaded an effort to have a memorial to the late HSU President Evan Reiff displayed at the Texas State Cemetery. Harry wanted to recognize Dr. Reiff for his work in integrating the HSU student body in the early 1960s. The memorial stands today because Harry demonstrated bold leadership in making this happen. He also held a special ceremony at the Cemetery honoring the life of Dr. Reiff on the day the memorial was dedicated.

In recognition of his service to the State of Texas and his love for his alma mater, Hardin-Simmons University proudly inducts Harry T. Bradley into the HSU Hall of Leaders.

Mr. James E. Porter

James E. Porter was born to Earl and Venice Porter on October 31, 1944. He called Dallas, Texas, home until he enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University, where he would plant himself and cultivate and develop key skills that would guide and shape a very successful career in educational leadership.

A music major, Jim became a member and active leader of the men’s music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, serving as president. As a member of the men's social club, Kappa Phi Omega, he served as president and in other leadership positions. He was selected as the Sigma Alpha Iota "Beau" for 1966-1967. Active in student government, he served on the Men's Interclub Council and was later elected as president of the Student Senate.

He was named to "Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges" during his senior year. Immediately upon graduation, he left Texas for Ellington, Missouri, to assume the position of music teacher for Southern Reynolds R-2 School District. In Ellington, he taught music for all grades – kindergarten through high school. He continued to pursue his education, earning his Master of Education degree in Secondary Education from North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and certification as an Education Specialist from Central Missouri State University, with additional graduate study at Southern Methodist University, Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Virginia.

Within the Ellington Schools, he advanced to the positions of Assistant Junior High School Principal and High School Principal before moving to Amoret, Missouri, where he assumed the position of Superintendent of Schools for the Miami R-1 School District. From there, he served as Superintendent of Schools for Iron County C-4 School District, in Viburnum, Missouri, and then St. James, Missouri, as Superintendent of Schools for the St. James R-1 School District. After serving as Assistant Director of the South Central Regional Professional Development Center, with the University of Missouri at Rolla, he returned to the public school arena as Superintendent of Schools for USD#484, Fredonia, Kansas.

In addition, Jim has served as an Adjunct Instructor at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for Southwest Baptist University in Salem, Missouri, and for the University of Missouri at both the Columbia and Rolla campuses.

After 47 years in public education, including 34 as Superintendent of Schools, he retired from public education and was elected to the District 9 seat on the Kansas State Board of Education. In that elected capacity he holds one of the ten positions on the Kansas Board of Education, representing school districts primarily in southeastern Kansas.

He serves on the State Board Policy Committee, Professional Standards Board, the NASBE Governmental Affairs Committee and as liaison for the Kansas State School for the Blind.

Throughout his distinguished and successful career in Missouri and Kansas, he has always devoted time to the communities in which he has lived. Most recently, his civic involvement includes service on the Fredonia Hospital Board of Trustees, the Fredonia Arts Council and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the 31st Judicial District.

Jim is the recipient of many honors, awards and recognitions. Included among these are "Outstanding Emeritus Educator" for the South Central District from the Missouri Association of School Administrators and the 2002 award for "Statewide Leadership in Service of At-Risk Families through Family Literacy" from the Missouri Family Literacy Initiative.

Among the many associations and councils of which he has been a member are the United School Administrators of Kansas, the Kansas Association of School Administrators, Kansas Council of Superintendents, the Kansas School Superintendents Association Board of Directors and The Leadership Academy of Missouri Department Elementary and Secondary Education.

He has served as a church music director for more than 30 years and is currently serving as director of the Fredonia Community Choir. He and his wife, Charlene, have three adult children and two grandchildren.

For his distinguished service as an educational leader and public servant, it is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to induct one of its own, Jim Porter, into the HSU Hall of Leaders

Mrs. Lucile Gilbert Sandefer

Lucile Gilbert Sandefer was born on February 27, 1869 to Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Gilbert of Fayetteville Tennessee.

From an early age she recognized the value of education. After public schools, she attended Martin Female College at Pulaski, Tennessee; Howard Female College at Gallatin, Tennessee; and the Southern Female University at Birmingham, Alabama. In addition, she studied art and music at the Nashville Conservatory.

She married Jefferson Davis Sandefer on December 26, 1893 and embraced his love of service to institutions of higher learning. Early in his career at Strawn College in Strawn, Texas, she served on the faculty with him.

Throughout her long, active life of 81 years, Mrs. Sandefer had the philosophy that "women should do something for society outside of home activities." As First Lady of HSU, she was well known by the student body and faculty for her interest and involvement in their lives and contributions to their environment.

During her record thirty one years as First Lady of HSU, she was active in various activities which included starting a museum, leading the effort to have electricity extend from downtown to the Forty Acres and founding the HSU Round Table Organization for the purpose of cultivating friendships among wives of the University professors. Under her capable leadership, the organization engaged in entrepreneurial efforts to financially support the beautification of the campus through the planting of trees and flowers, installing an irrigation system and establishing a permanent loan fund for student scholarships.

For more than fifty years, she was active in local, state and national women’s organizations. At the time of her death, she was serving as District Chairman of the Texas State Federation of Women’s Clubs.

As her husband was the son of a Confederate soldier and her father had six sons who fought for the Confederacy, she was a member and served as Vice-President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A leader in genealogical circles, she served as Record Chairman of the Daughters of the American Revolution and took pride in tracing her lineage back to James Polk, 11th President of the United States. Her grandfather's six brothers all fought in the Revolutionary War.

She held memberships in the West Texas Historical Society and the First Baptist Church of Abilene. In addition, she served as president of the Women's Missionary Society and the Jonathan Hopkins Society.

Lucile Sandefer understood the importance of embracing the past while looking to the future. She initiated the project to save the cracked University bell, which had dutifully awakened the campus and prompted students to their classes during its prime, by having it mounted near the campus triangle. She participated in the groundbreaking for the Sandefer Memorial Building and Smith Hall and in 1916, laid the first brick for the Mary Frances Hall dormitory.

About Lucile Sandefer, Yvonne Stackhouse wrote in Hardin-Simmons University: A Centennial History, "The wife of the president enjoyed the affection of the whole campus. . ." Quoting from a 1950 Range Rider, "Her heart and soul have been entwined in the building of this worthy institution…Her loving personality, keen mentality, splendid character and unusual faith exemplify all the virtues of a gracious and kindly womanhood."

In the 1940 Bronco, Mrs. Sandefer said, "My service here has been one of love and devotion. To those who have had the privilege of passing the Hardin-Simmons way, and to those who may come, I extend every good wish. I believe that Hardin-Simmons University is in its embryonic state and I sincerely trust that the service we have rendered here will be but the stepping stone of a brilliant future."

Lucile Sandefer passed away on September 26, 1950. Her body was buried beside her beloved husband in the small cemetery in front of what is now Moody Center. Yvonne Stackhouse wrote that memorial gifts in her memory were given to ". . . the beautification of the campus, since that had been one of her life-long interests."

For her dedicated service and leadership, it is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to posthumously induct its longest serving First Lady, Lucile Gilbert Sandefer, into the Hall of Leaders.



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