Women in Business

Coker University

300 East College Avenue

Hartsville, SC 29550

Phone: 843.383.8000

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Dr. Natalie J. Harder

Coker University’s president leads compassionately, advocating for each student who walks through the campus gates. Dr. Natalie J. Harder assumed the position in 2020, becoming the institution’s first female president. Before Coker, Dr. Harder served as chancellor of South Louisiana Community College for eight years. She earned her Ph.D. in community college leadership at Old Dominion University, her M.S. in public policy and administration at The H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and her B.A. in economics from SUNY Buffalo.

Dr. Harder is committed to decreasing low education rates in Darlington County. Eighteen percent of Darlington County adults ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Coker University’s strategic plan includes pathways for student success and community partnerships to ensure the university is putting more caps on heads.

Dr. Harder aims to lead Coker’s students in a holistic manner, encouraging rigorous academic thought while emphasizing discussions on improving mental health across a diverse campus. Her leadership team consists of seven vice presidents, six of whom are women. The team demonstrates how campus culture can blossom under female leadership. Harvard Business Review reports, “Firms with more women in senior positions are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences — among many other benefits.” Harder’s team supports this approach, benefiting students’ overall well-being.

She knows every student by name. You can often see her eating lunch with students in the Linville Dining Hall. She takes the stands at athletic events and tries never to miss a student art exhibit or performance. If she can’t be there in person, she’s cheering for her Cobras virtually. She sends her Cobras off with a big hug at graduation. As college students experience heightened anxiety in an ever-changing world, she provides a consistent foundation for their next chapter of life.