The decision to give back to the Walsh community was, in fact, easy for the Harders.
The Walsh College alumni couple has always made it a life priority to invest their time and talents to community service for the greater good. But they recently decided to elevate that value of personal commitment to their alma mater with a substantial planned gift to Walsh College.
Dennis Harder (MSF, '97) and Christine Harder (BBA ,'99) have enjoyed successful business careers. Dennis is Managing Director at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Christine is vice president, Health Alliance Plan.
A combined sense of purpose to share their skills and resources guides them."Christine and I have a thought-process around giving back," Dennis said. "We serve on a number of boards and participate in a number of campaigns around Detroit. As Walsh alumni, it makes sense to us to help someone else. There are a lot of people in different situations that need our support."
Dennis noted that Walsh was good to him as a student, and he benefited from several scholarships."I got to know a lot of the professors, many of whom I still count as friends," Dennis said. "I built a lot of relationships with the administrative staff as well, and got involved in a lot of activities at Walsh such as the Economics Club. The strength of most institutions is built through people, and Walsh was no different for me."
"I am extremely proud to be a Walsh alumna," Christine added. "There is such a sense of community here at Walsh. It has given us both a great education. It's important that we 'pay it forward.'"
As alumni, the Harders are proud that the College and its students have continued to build a reputation for business education excellence. And their involvement remains immeasurable. For example, Dennis, the vice chairman of the Walsh College Foundation Board of Directors, chairs the leadership awards dinner and other social events. He has also served as an adjunct professor for more than 13 years.
Dennis and Christine are also long-term members of The President's Club, the College's donor-recognition society.
Dennis has a simple philosophy about the best attribute for a business professional: The most successful people in business are the hardest working people. "As a teacher at Walsh, I always encouraged my students to strive for that next level, because there is never a shortage of average students," he said. Several Walsh students are among the high achievers he has hired for his firm throughout the years.
Giving back and getting back. The Harders' Walsh College legacy is palpable.