C. Howard Hardesty (‘49 JD)
C. Howard Hardesty Jr., was born in Fairmont, W.Va., and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Duke University in 1943. After serving as a naval officer in World War II, he returned to the West Virginia University College of Law in 1946 where he graduated in 1949, Order of the Coif.
Upon graduation, he became a partner in the firm Furbee & Hardesty, Attorneys, in Fairmont, where he remained until 1963. From 1961-62, he served as West Virginia State Tax Commissioner and organized the income tax division of the State Tax Department.
He joined Consolidation Coal Company as general counsel in 1963 and in 1966 became director of the company. From 1968-72, he served as senior vice president, then executive vice president and director of the parent company, Continental Oil Company. He was named president of the Eastern Hemisphere Petroleum division in 1974 and in 1975 became vice chairman of the company.
He resumed law practice as a partner in the firm, Rose Schmidt, Dixon, Hasley, Whyte & Hardesty in 1978. Hardesty has continued to practice law for more than 35 years. In addition to his legal background, he has an extensive business background particularly in the area of corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions.
From 1979-1981, he served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Commonwealth Oil Refining Company. He took over the position while the company was in bankruptcy, restructured its operations and developed a reorganization plan permitting the company’s emergence from bankruptcy. He then resumed law practice as a partner with the firm, Corcoran, Hardesty, Whyte, Hemphill & Ligon, PC.
In November 1985, he became president and chief executive officer of Purolator Courier Corporation to bring the company out of bankruptcy. For 22 months, he significantly improved the profitability of the company through selective acquisitions and divestitures ultimately completing the profitable sale and distribution of all assets.
Since 1985, Hardesty has been associated with the Washington law firm, Andrews & Kurth. He became a partner in 1987.
He is a member of the American Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association and West Virginia Bar Association. He is on the Advisory Board of Concord Partners and is a Trustee Emeritus of Duke University, retired director of NCR Corporation, and a retired director of Consolidated Natural Gas Corporation. He received an Honorary Doctor of Energy Science degree from Salem College in 1977 and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in 1987.
Hardesty served on the WVU Foundation Board of Directors and established the C. Howard Hardesty Research Fellowship at the WVU College of Law, which provides student research assistantships.