Dr. Hardee earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Arts from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
In 1958, Dr. Hardee joined with Dr. W. Hugh Stickler and Dr. Raymond Schultz in the formation of the Department of Higher Education. She became a full professor in 1959 and held that position until her retirement from full time teaching in 1985. During that time, Dr. Hardee served as major advisor to 123 doctoral candidates as well as committee member to many more, and supervised the work of more than 120 masters degree students. She was known to all as “The Mentor” and created the “Life Net” for her students, a support network that began during graduate studies and extended into professional careers.
Dr. Hardee was prominent in the field of student personnel administration. She served as president of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) from 1962-1964, and a charter member and subsequent president of the Southern Association of College Student Administrators (SACSA) from 1955-1958. In 1986, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) named its dissertation of the year award in her honor and later SACSA named its Dissertations of the Year award in her honor. In 1987, she was named a Senior Scholar by ACPA. In 1988, she received the Robert H. Schaffer Award from NASPA for her personal inspiration to graduate students, service on doctoral committees, and distinguished record of scholarly achievement.
Twice a year, Dr. Hardee returned home to Clarion, Iowa where she founded and was part-time curator of a museum housing a history of the state. She established the Draheim Memorial Library in memory of her parents.