Growing up in the small rural town of New Edinburg, Arkansas, Patricia Hardy never imagined that one day she would work for the top public university in the nation. As a child, Patricia and her brother would watch their dad plow their fields behind a mule. Their mother stayed home to take care of the household. Patricia’s parents instilled the values of hard work, family, and education; lessons she would later instill in her own children. The Great Migration during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s led Patricia and her family to Oakland where she would meet her husband, start a family, purchase a home, and begin her career at UC Berkeley.
In 1967, Patricia decided to transition from her work in the banking industry to apply for a role at UC Berkeley. She had heard that Cal would be a great place to build a long-term career. Her first role on campus was in the Graduate Division. Then she moved on to Berkeley Summer Sessions before eventually securing her career role in the Department of Statistics as a clerk/senior typist. One of Patricia’s fondest memories from her career in Statistics was with Professor Elizabeth “Betty” Scott.
“Professor Scott took us to Evans Hall in the 1980s to ask us (staff) to look for changes to improve the building. Because of Professor Scott’s vision to include staff in that tour of the Evans Hall construction, changes were made to include women's restrooms on every floor and at least two restrooms that included interior rest areas with a small sofa,” she recalled. “Scott knew it was important to have women's restrooms on every floor. From this, I learned there were many ways to contribute to campus, even as a staff member.”
The Statistics faculty provided immeasurable support to Patricia throughout her career. She recalls never feeling like her role was less important than faculty and that she was a valued member of the department. “Deb Nolan, David Blackwell, Jerzy Neyman, David Freedman, and Erich Lehmann were some of my biggest supporters.”
In 2003, Patricia earned her BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley, fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a college graduate. “I was inspired by our children. My husband and I had a dream to put our children through college without any student loan debt and we did it. After our kids completed college, I decided it was time for me to pursue my education.” Just three years later in 2006, Patricia retired from the department; commemorating a 39-year career with UC Berkeley. “I am so happy I worked for UC Berkeley. It was the best thing ever! I attribute my connections to the community to UC Berkeley and Statistics.”
Patricia continues to reside in Oakland as the proud mother of three adult daughters and six grandchildren. She enjoys spending her time volunteering in the community. She supports a variety of organizations such as the Reclaim Your Vote Campaign, Oakland Promise, and she serves as the president of the Oakland Women’s Rowing Club.
~ Lauren Pitcher