Forty Under 40: Bill C. Hardgrave

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Bill C. Hardgrave, 39, plays two roles at the University of Arkansas a professor of information technology and director of the research center. As professor, he holds the Edwin and Karlee Bradberry Endowed Chair.

He not only holds the highest degree possible in his field, but hes the first person in his family to graduate from high school and go to college.

Hardgrave was born in Clarksville. He earned a bachelors degree in computer science from Arkansas Tech in 1987, a masters in business administration from Southwest Missouri State in 1990 and a Ph.D. from Oklahoma State University in 1993.

At the age of 21 and while still in college, Hardgrave was manager of a software development company in Russellville called Computec. From there, he went to Springfield, Mo., to work with a startup company that designed software for the transportation industry. Hes been at the University of Arkansas for the past 10 years.

Receiving the endowed chair was the pinnacle of his career, Hardgrave said. He plans to grow with the university and has no other career plans.

Ive found a career that I love. When I wake up in the morning I cant wait to get to work, he said.