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Professor emeritus elevates peace studies at ASU

September 12, 2008

ASU professor emeritus Annanelle (Ann) Hardt, along with her late husband, Anthony (Tony) Nickachos, has created a named faculty chair at ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict.

The holder of the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies will lead research and teaching on the ideas, resources and practices that contribute to a sustainable peace; will regularly teach courses in peace studies; provide ongoing leadership and direction in advancing peace studies; and collaborate with other concerned faculty.

“It has been a privilege to work with Ann Hardt on initiatives related to religion, conflict and peace studies over the past few years,” says the center’s director Linell Cady. “It is wonderful to see a former faculty member make so generous an investment in future teaching excellence. We are gratified by her gift as it enables us to focus on an important aspect of our mission.”

Spreading an understanding of peace was Hardt’s passion as a professor in the College of Education, and it continues to be her passion since her retirement in 1990. During her years at ASU, Hardt taught multicultural education, peace and conflict studies, cooperative learning, elementary education, and school and society. She also directed conferences at ASU on “Alternatives to Violence” and “The Meaning and Control of Conflict.”

“For many years, I wanted ASU to have courses in peace,” Hardt says. “Several times I taught ‘Peace Studies in Education,’ which was modeled after an introductory course for peace majors elsewhere. As a society we have studied war and violence, but have had very little study of peace and non-violence. It’s time to study peace at ASU.”

Hardt has received numerous awards and recognition for her work on behalf of peace. Nickachos was frequently by her side, offering constant support and feedback. He supported her Initiative in Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies at ASU, and encouraged, challenged, supported and helped her formulate some of her critical public statements on peace.

“Tony was the great support of my life,” says Hardt. “He believed in peace, and because of his military background, he was able to keep me honest in my peace activities and statements. As I worked in the community, he expressed his life by personally helping others.”

Nickachos was a retired Navy Lt. Commander. He earned a teaching certificate from the ASU College of Education and taught in the Roosevelt School District in Phoenix. He was known as a kind and giving teacher who often helped students after school.

Peace studies is a broad field applicable to nearly all academic disciplines. It examines the possibilities for non-violence, peace and alternatives to violence expressed throughout human history and culture.

With the Hardt-Nickachos Chair in Peace Studies, ASU is aiming to elevate their profile in this important area. The Hardt-Nickachos gift is leveraging university funds, as well as additional operating support, from the president’s office to ensure that the new chair holder is a nationally recognized, high-level faculty appointment.

“Religion and culture will continue to play a major role in shaping global conflict and possibilities for peace in the 21st century,” Cady says. “This makes the establishment of the Hardt-Nickachos Chair all the more urgent.”

The ASU Foundation raises, invests and manages private funds to benefit Arizona State University and serves as the university’s entrepreneurial arm in technology commercialization, real estate investment and other emerging initiatives. One of Arizona’s oldest 501(c)(3) organizations, the foundation was incorporated in 1955 and currently manages assets exceeding $756 million. Learn more about the foundation at