Hardegree named exec. director and dean of Health Science Institute

Lester HardegreeLester Hardegree, Ed.D., joined MCC in November as the MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute’s first executive director and dean.

In this role, Hardegree is responsible for academic oversight of Penn Valley’s health science programs and administrative oversight of the Health Science Institute, providing visionary and tactical leadership for the state-of-the-art facility and its programs. He cultivates relationships in the healthcare industry and elsewhere in the community to ensure the programs are equipping graduates to meet the expectations of area employers.

Hardegree comes to MCC with a wealth of healthcare education experience, including his most recent post at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar in the Middle East. There, he served as program director of biomedical sciences and as assistant to the associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Prior to his work in Qatar, Hardegree ran a consultancy that helped healthcare employers and community colleges work together in order to address the employers’ workforce shortages. In that role, he developed the nation’s first post-baccalaureate histotechnology program at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he then was appointed to serve as adjunct clinical professor for clinical pathology.

Prior to his consulting work, Hardegree held various positions at Armstrong State College in Savannah, Ga. There, he developed the first post-baccalaureate certificate for medical technologists in the state and helped develop a bachelor of science in medical technology, which he then grew into the largest in the state. While at Armstrong, he served in volunteer leadership positions with the Georgia Society of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and the Georgia Society of Allied Health Professions.

Before Armstrong, Hardegree worked at Darton State College in Albany, Ga., where he served as assistant professor, director of evening operations and advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Hardegree has been active in the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. He has received professional honors from national and state medical technology societies, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, and the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program. In 2012, he was named the Medical College of Georgia’s Alumnus of the Year.

Hardegree holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Nova Southeastern University and a master of science in science education from Georgia State University. He also holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from the University of Georgia, a bachelor of science in medical technology from the Medical College of Georgia and an associate of science from Darton State College.