Temple Gets its First Rhodes Scholar: a North Philly Kid

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Hazim Hardeman’s mother wished a greater college than the household’s North Philadelphia neighborhood may supply her son.

So she falsified the household’s tackle and despatched him to Shawmont in Roxborough.

“For her, it was a life-and-death situation,” mentioned Hardeman, now 23. “She understood that having access to this education at such an early age would really be formative and could shape or even determine the trajectory that my brother and I would be on.”

For Hardeman, a 2017 magna cum laude graduate of Temple University, her selection might need been life-altering.

This weekend, Hardeman was awarded the celebrated Rhodes Scholarship – the primary pupil in Temple’s historical past to obtain the dignity. He’ll pursue his research in sociology or political principle subsequent fall at Oxford University in England.

Hardeman, who transferred to Temple after getting his affiliate’s diploma on the Community College of Philadelphia, completely represents the form of pupil that Temple founder Russell Conwell hoped to coach, mentioned Ruth Ost, senior director of  Temple’s honors program.

“We talk about acres of diamonds in our own neighborhood,” she mentioned. “Here is Hazim, born and raised in North Philly. If we had to choose someone who represents the values of Temple and what Temple really cares about, this is the man who does that.”

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Hardeman, who’s working as a adjunct professor at Temple this year, is one in every of 10 African American students out of a complete of 32 to get the award, probably the most in a single class.

“It’s awesome,” mentioned Hardeman, as he sat at a desk Sunday in Temple’s Annenberg Hall, the place he had taken courses as a strategic communication main. “What I surmise is that we will all bring experiences to bear on that institution and subject it to transformation in whatever little way.”

Several different students with native ties additionally have been among the many 32 named Rhodes Scholars. They embrace Christopher J. D’Urso, a University of Pennsylvania pupil from Colts Neck, N.J.; Jordan D.Thomas, a Princeton pupil from South Plainfield, N.J.; and Alan Yang, a Harvard pupil from Dresher, Montgomery County.

Hardeman grew up at 23rd and Diamond, simply blocks from Temple’s campus. The college all the time appeared like “another world.” He dreamed of crossing the barrier.

“I thought it was a chance for me to show that it is a possibility,” he mentioned.

After attending a number of faculties in his neighborhood that have been starved for  assets and the place many college students struggled, he transferred to Shawmont in third grade.

“They really pushed you to achieve academically but they also had programs to cultivate students,” he mentioned.

His expertise at Shawmont didn’t go away him proof against different points that may derail a pupil’s schooling. When he was in highschool at Murrell Dobbins Vocational School in North Philadelphia, his mom, fighting private points, moved to her hometown of Atlanta for a yr and a half.

“From there, things sort of got off track,” mentioned Hardeman, who stayed in Philadelphia and lived together with his older sister. “It became easy to lose sight of what was important.”

He started failing his courses. His GPA plummeted. His dream of attending Temple dimmed.

Then his mom returned, and the look on her face when she realized he was failing galvanized  him. She paid for him to take additional programs and graduate on time from the now-closed Hope Charter School, the place he had transferred.

Hardeman completed with a 2.three GPA, not adequate to get into Temple. So he went to group school, and his life as a scholar took off. He received into the honors program, for which he had excessive reward, and served as vp of the scholar physique.

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At Temple, he sat entrance row at school and met professors who helped to form his scholarly targets. He additionally had a analysis stint at Cornell University and labored within the Philadelphia mayor’s workplace, getting ready a report on how higher playgrounds may enhance town’s baby care amenities, which might be denied funding absent high quality outside areas for kids to play.

Hardeman desires to be a professor and a researcher. He has an curiosity in jail reform.

“One of the desires I have is to teach in prisons,” he mentioned.

That need developed after taking a category in Temple “Inside-Out” trade program the place undergraduates be taught alongside jail inmates.

“It really changed what I think justice should look like,” he mentioned. “It moved from who did what and how can we punish them to who was hurt and can you restore the humanity of each person involved.”

Ost heard Hardeman give eloquent closing remarks when the category ended.

“She came up to me and said we finally got one,” Hardeman recalled. He didn’t know what she meant. Ost defined: He might be Temple’s first Rhodes scholar.

“It was absolutely true,” Ost mentioned Sunday, recalling that second. “I’ve rarely met anyone who had the level of erudition, eloquence and authenticity that this man does.”

When he realized he received, a spread of feelings hit, together with a touch of unhappiness.

Nathan Dillard