Stephen J. Hardy, a lecturer in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences in the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, passed away January 8.
“Stephen was a truly kind and gentle man who was beloved by all who knew him,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the college. “He was dedicated to his students and passionate in teaching others about Deaf culture. Stephen will be greatly missed and long remembered.”
A member of the PHHP faculty since 2015, Hardy taught courses in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. He also served as the advisor for the UF chapter of the American Sign Language Honor Society and for the social Deaf culture club, Signing Gators. He taught American Sign Language, ASL linguistics, and Deaf studies for more than 18 years at the collegiate level, including 12 years at Santa Fe College.
A double Gator, he earned a B.A. in political science and an M.Ed. from the University of Florida. He served in several leadership positions at the county and state level, including as president of the Florida Association of the Deaf for four years, member of the Florida Rehabilitation Council, legislative chair for the Florida Association of the Deaf Inc., and member and advisor of the North Central Florida Signing Alliance. He provided service to the campus community as a commencement marshal and ASL coordinator for the national anthem at all home football games. He also served as a member of several committees, including UF’s Persons with Disabilities Committee and the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
On Facebook, hundreds of colleagues, former students and friends shared comments mourning the loss of a leader in the Deaf community and much-loved instructor who has impacted many lives.