Established on 06.30.1987 by friends and former students of Dr. Harding C. Noblitt
Harding C. Noblitt, professor of political science, retired from Concordia in the Spring of 1990 after teaching here for forty years. Noblitt has taught political science, run for the United States Congress from Minnesota's 7th District, served in World War II and has served on numerous state boards including the Minnesota Higher Education Board.
Noblitt joined Concordia's faculty in February of 1950 to fill a mid-year vacancy. In 1950 semesters ran from mid- September to the end of January, then from February 1 to May. Noblitt was working on his dissertation at the University of Chicago when he received a call from President Brown asking him if he'd take the job. Desiring more time to work on his dissertation, he quickly accepted.
In 1950 the political science office was combined with the history office. Noblitt has taught both history and political science courses ranging from American History to International Relations. "I've probably taught over twenty different courses since I came to Concordia," said Noblitt. A self-proclaimed ham, Noblitt enjoys getting in front of a class of students and haranguing on a wide variety of topics. "I know I'm a ham," said Noblitt. "That’s one reason I enjoy teaching so much. In the classroom I've got a captive audience."
Noblitt has had several students go on to very important positions. He has several students each year go on to law school, as well as many who go into politics. "A former sufferer of my Constitutional Law class has recently argued in front of the Supreme Court," reflected Noblitt. "I also had six former students serving in the North Dakota Legislature last session."
Noblitt has received numerous awards and honors for his academic career. Only ten years after coming to Concordia, he received the Great Teacher Award from the students. He was a Wije Distinguished Professor from 1979 to 1982 and earned the Flaat Distinguished Service Award 1982 to 1985.
In addition to his academic work with politics, Noblitt has taken an active part in Minnesota politics. Almost immediately after arriving at Concordia he became active in the local DFL party. At the time there were only two other faculty who were Democrats, or at least only two brave enough to admit it.
Noblitt has been a delegate to numerous state conventions, as well as the national level. He was the campaign manager during Bob Bergland's first, and successful, bid for the House. He has also served on many state boards, being appointed by both Democratic and Republican Governors. He was appointed to the Governor's Citizens Council on Aging in 1963 and served until 1967. Four years later in 1971 he was appointed to the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board. He served on that board for ten years, and served as its president from 1979 to 1980.
Perhaps the most visible political work he has ever done was running for the United States House of Representatives from Minnesota's Seventh District in 1962. Noblitt took a semester's leave without pay to run for the office.
In the Democratic primary, Noblitt defeated two other candidates for the position, and faced the incumbent, Odin Langen, in the general election. At that time, campaigning was quite different than it is today. The general election was only eight weeks after the primary, which led to some rather intense campaigning.
The Seventh District is one of the largest in the state, which gave Noblitt quite an area to cover. At first, he thought flying from city to city may help solve the shortage of time problem, but quickly discarded the idea. "After trying to fly a bit, we quickly gave up on it," said Noblitt. "Different cities schedules were very difficult to accommodate, you see." While receiving 48 percent of the popular vote, Noblitt lost the general election and remained here at Concordia.
Many years earlier, Noblitt was stationed in Europe during World War II. "I didn't see much war," said Noblitt, "but was fired on three times, shelled once, and fired a total of two shots at the enemy." Noblitt also waded ashore at Normandy, but that was several days after the large invasion. "There's a big difference between wading into Normandy," said Noblitt, "and wading into live rounds being fired at you." Noblitt was "relieved without prejudice for the convenience of the government" on April 3, 1944.
Bio obtained from an article in the Concordian written by Kirk D. Johnson, published 4.27.1990
The Dr. Harding C. Noblitt Endowed Scholarship is awarded by the Office of Financial Aid upon the nomination of the Political Science Department. Selection is based on academic accomplishment, intellectual promise, and leadership potential.