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Former Wofford College president dies after battling ALS

WSPA Staff - CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WSPA) - A former president of Wofford College has died.

Paul Hardin III was 86.

Hardin served as the eighth president of Wofford College. He was also chancellor emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Hardin died Saturday at his home in Chapel Hill after battling ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, according to a university news release.

He's remembered as a visionary leader.

Prior to serving as UNC chancellor from 1988 to 1995, Hardin led Wofford College.

Dr. Nayef Samhat, the current president of Wofford College, released the following statement:

The Wofford College community is saddened to learn of the death this morning of Paul Hardin III, our ninth president. We mourn his loss with his family and friends. Paul's tenure as president at Wofford – 1968 through 1972 – was a time of enormous change on college campuses nationwide, and he served as a visionary leader who oversaw and directed Wofford's transition into a leader among national liberal arts colleges. Paul championed more openness on campus, including an open speakers policy as well as guarantees for free student expression. He continued previous efforts to desegregate the student body, and he hired the first African-American administrator on campus. Those of us who have followed in his footsteps – Joe Lesesne, Bernie Dunlap and I – are deeply indebted to Paul and his wife, Barbara, for the roles they played in positioning Wofford for the 21st century and for building our culture of openness, tolerance and excellence in everything we seek to do. Our thoughts, prayers and gratitude are with the Hardin family at this time.

While chancellor of UNC, Hardin led the school into its third century and is remembered as a civil rights advocate who increased faculty diversity.

Hardin was born in Charlotte in 1931, and graduated from Duke University and its law school.

The AP contributed to this report.

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