Hayden Wins Bernhardt Award at SWOSU

Photo of Dr. John Hayden and company.
Dr. John Hayden (third from left), professor in the Social Sciences Department at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, won the Bernhardt Academic Excellence Award Thursday night at a banquet in Weatherford. The award is made possible by Dr. William and Theta Juan Bernhardt (far left) of Midwest City. Also pictured are (from left) Hayden’s wife, Laura; SWOSU President John Hays; Oklahoma State Regents Chairman Jimmy D. Harrel of Elk City; and Oklahoma Higher Education Chancellor Paul G. Risser.

Dr. John Hayden won the Bernhardt Academic Excellence Award Thursday night at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

Hayden, a professor in the SWOSU Social Sciences Department, won the prestigious award at a banquet held at the Pioneer Center in Weatherford. SWOSU alumni Dr. William and Theta Juan Bernhardt of Midwest City are sponsors of the annual award that goes to an outstanding faculty member who exhibits exceptional achievement in teaching, scholarship and service.

For winning the award, Hayden received a $2,500 cash award, Waterford crystal clock and engraved pen set.

Guest speaker for Tuesday's banquet was General Jerry Grizzle of Edmond.

Hayden was born in New York City in 1962. The grandson of Irish immigrants, he spent his grammar school years living in the Bronx, and since Yankee Stadium was only a few blocks away, he had ample opportunities to sit in the $1 bleachers and grow into a devoted Yankee fan. As a teenager, Hayden lived in Queens and commuted into Manhattan to attend Regis High School on a four year scholarship.

In 1980, Hayden enrolled at Georgetown University on a partial scholarship. As a student there, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. In 1983, the Leopold Schepp Foundation awarded Hayden the first of several scholarships from that organization that would help him throughout his studies. When he first enrolled at Georgetown, he had a vision of going to law school but, while at Georgetown, the influence of several professors convinced him that his real interest was in the study of history. In 1984, Hayden graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown with a Bachelor's Degree in History.

After graduation, Hayden worked as a legal assistant in Washington D.C. for the law firm of Williams & Connolly. In 1986, he enrolled in the master's program in history at the University of Virginia. As a master's student, his areas of study were early modern English and French history. In 1988, he completed his master’s degree in history and entered the doctoral program.

Photo of President John Hays and Dr. John Hayden.
Dr. John Hayden (right), winner of the Bernhardt Award, is congratulated by SWOSU President John Hays after Thursday’s banquet.

As a doctoral student, his areas of concentration were medieval and early modern English history, modern French history, and the history of English architecture. During these years, Hayden worked as an instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. He spent the fall semester of 1989 researching in various archival locations throughout England. In the summer of 1991, Hayden completed and defended his dissertation on "Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton, 1547-1596." The work was a study of the public career and private life of a prominent proto-industrialist within the context of Elizabethan society and culture.

For the academic year 1991-1992, Hayden worked as the assistant dean of the Arts and Sciences faculty at the University of Virginia. In the spring of 1992, he accepted an appointment as an assistant professor at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. In May of 1992, he married Laura Endicott whom he had met in the graduate program at Virginia.

Since they would be moving to Oklahoma, they thought it was time that he learn to drive. And so, that spring and summer, his wife taught him. In August of 1992, Hayden joined the faculty at SWOSU. His primary teaching responsibilities were in world history and a variety of courses in European history. In 1996, Hayden was granted tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 1997. In 2004, he was promoted to professor.

While at SWOSU, Hayden has published a variety of entries in a historical dictionary dealing with the history of medieval England. He also co-edited and co-wrote the centennial history of Weatherford. He is also a regular contributor of book reviews to the Sixteenth Century Journal.

Because of his experience in teaching the history of western civilization and world history, publishers regularly ask him to review textbooks in those fields.

At SWOSU, Hayden chairs the General Education Committee. He has also served as president of the Faculty Senate and twice as a member of the University Tenure and Promotion Review Committee. From 1997-2002, he offered a section of freshman orientation. He also sponsors the Southwestern History Club.

In the community, Hayden is a past president and current member of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society which operates a food pantry and provides other types of aid to local residents and travelers. He has given lectures on history and New York City to a variety of local organizations, and he has also served as a judge for the American Legion's oratorical contest. Presently, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Clinton Catholic Charities Regional Office. He is also a member of the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce.

The Haydens, with their two children, Christiana and Alexis, live 10 miles south of Weatherford on two acres representing the only land any Hayden has ever owned in America that was not a cemetery plot.

Previous winners of the Bernhardt Award are (in order by year): Dr. Vilas Prabhu, Dr. Stuart Burchett, Dr. Gary Wolgamott, Dr. Terry Segress, Dr. James Hunsicker, Dr. Jill Jones, Dr. James Breckenridge, Dr. John Ludrick, Dr. W. Steven Pray, Dr. Les Crall and Dr. Peter Grant.