Robert C. Hardin, 35BS, 37MD, continues his 50-year association with the University of Iowa as professor and dean emeritus, College of Medicine. During his early experience as a resident at the University, he and Dr. Elmer L. DeGowin produced the seminal work that lead to the feasibility of shipping preserved whole blood long distances for use in transfusion. The military implications of this development were obvious. Hardin left his residency to enter the Army and, at a young age, became the commanding officer of the European Theater of Operations Blood Band and senior consultant for shock and transfusion.
When Dr. Hardin returned to the College of Medicine after World War II, he surprised his associates by forsaking the field of blood preservation for the study of diabetes mellitus. With Dr. Robert L. Jackson, he established for the first time that there was a direct relationship between the control of hyperglycemia and the development of vascular degenerative changes in diabetes patients. He published his observations in 1949-1950 and in 1956.
Hardin's work on diabetes earned him national recognition that culminated in his election to the presidency of the American Diabetes Association in 1969. Inspired by what the Association could do for patients, he helped plan and direct the change of the ADA from a purely professional organization to a lay, volunteer health organization. At the UI, he helped establish one of the country's foremost programs for diabetes treatment and research.
In spite of these national achievements, Dr. Hardin's priorities always insisted that his patients and students at the University of Iowa were his first responsibility. Today, Bob Hardin is a legend on this campus. Successively rising in the administration of the College of Medicine, he engineered the planning and funding of Bowen Science Hall, conceived the Health Sciences Library and determined that private funds could be raised to build it, supervised the revision and upgrading of the medical school curriculum, encouraged the establishment of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Iowa City, and made sure that the College of Medicine remained an integral part of the University of Iowa.
His reputation on all levels is well deserved.