The Phil Hardin Foundation
To Improve the Education of Mississippians

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The Opportunity
     The Thomas R. Ward Fellows Program, initiated and funded as a project of the Phil Hardin Foundation, supports twelve to sixteen Mississippians interested in strengthening local and state public school leadership by attending programs at Harvard University.
     Public school administrators and board members, Mississippi Department of Education board and staff, university/community college board and staff, and other persons strategically associated with public school improvement efforts are encouraged to apply for a variety of eligible institutes offered by Harvard's graduate and professional schools.

About the Ward Fellows Program
     The Thomas R. Ward Fellows Program was established in 1995 to encourage and enable Mississippi public school administrators to re-think, re-envision, and restructure schools in our state.
     From 1995 to 2005 the Ward Fellows Program provided ten fellowships for Mississippi principals and assistant principals to attend summer institutes offered by the Harvard Principals' Center.
     Beginning in 2006, teams of Mississippians may apply for Ward Fellowships. Preference will be given to applications from school district teams. Teams sponsored by other appropriate organizations such as the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi Public Education Forum, and the Board of State Institutions of Higher Learning also may apply.
Teams typically will consist of three to six members. A school district team might include a superintendent, board member, principals and assistant principals, key central office personnel, and/or a strategically selected community member.
     Team members do not have to all attend the same Harvard program. They have the option of selecting from an array of Harvard institutes including those at the Graduate School of Education, Harvard Business School, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard School of Public Health, or other appropriate programs that would develop the capacity of key Mississippi administrators and policymakers to strengthen Mississippi public education.
     Team members may all attend the same institute or may choose different institutes. The sponsoring organization must provide a carefully developed plan that explains how and why the institute(s) selected will further the organization's strategic planning goals and priorities. We are especially interested in such efforts that address improved academic and civic performance by all students and that mobilize broad-based community involvement and engagement for public education.

     The Phil Hardin Foundation will provide approximately $75,000 each year to support the Ward Fellows Program. Since the tuition differs for the Harvard institutes and programs, the exact number of Ward Fellows may differ from year to year.
Fellowships for Teams and Individuals
     While Harvard will give preference in admission to applications submitted on behalf of teams, some fellowships may still be awarded to an individual applicant provided (1) his or her district is not applying to send a district team, (2) the individual meets Harvard's selection process, and (3) there is space available.

About Thomas R. Ward
     Mr. Thomas R. Ward of Meridian was the first president of the Phil Hardin Foundation. When Mr. Ward was 16, his father died, leaving Tom as sole support for his mother, a younger brother, and two younger sisters. He went to work for a local accounting firm. At age 21 he passed the CPA exam, becoming at that time the youngest person in the United States to have passed that exam. He subsequently read for and was admitted to the Mississippi Bar. In 1958 Mr. Ward was admitted to New York University as a "special student" (since he had not previously attended college) to study tax law. He returned to this state where he was one of the few (if not the only) lawyers in Mississippi trained in tax law. He also was a strong Episcopal churchman and a member of the Mississippi Advisory Committee to the U. S. Civil Rights Commission.
     Mr. Ward's commitment to stewardship and service was reflected in his many civic, religious, and philanthropic activities. As an estate and tax advisor, Mr. Ward showed clients not only the tax benefits of planned charitable giving, he also excited them about the potential of private foundations and trusts as permanent pools of charitable capital to support good works.      The Phil Hardin Foundation established the Thomas R. Ward Fellows Program to perpetuate Mr. Ward's commitment to competence, renewal, and service.

How To Apply
      To receive information about eligible Harvard institutes and programs and an application for admission, please visit our web site or contact the foundation.