Dr. Jim Hadley remembered as 'fabric' of College of Doctoral Studies

Dr. Jim Hadley (right) served as the program chair of psychology for the College of Doctoral Studies.

Dr. Jim Hadley’s travels took him to places as far as Europe, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, European Division, while serving in the United States Air Force.

His lifelong theme was helping people, and that was evident during his 10-plus years as program chair of psychology in the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University.

Hadley’s influence on others will live on after he passed away Oct. 29 following a bout of cancer, with his wife, Susan, at his side.

“He always described psychology as the study of people, and it was clear that people were his passion and focus in the way he worked with faculty, staff and students,” the college's dean, Dr. Michael Berger, wrote in an email.

A celebration of Hadley’s life will be planned after the holidays to allow travel time to accommodate friends throughout the United States and Canada.

Hadley, 67, joined the college when it had fewer than 1,000 students. Under his steering, the doctoral degree in the General Psychology program swelled to almost 2,500 students at its peak and has produced more than 900 graduates.

Hadley played a prominent role in the fabric of the College of Doctoral Studies and the University, CDS assistant dean Dr. Nicholas Markette said.

“Not only did he lead the psychology program, but he also co-led our residencies, served on University committees (such as Rank/Tenure and Code Conduct), and was a ‘bigger-than-life personality,’ ” Markette added.

Hadley, who was born in East St. Louis, Illinois, served in the Air Force from 1975 to 1998. He held numerous positions, including his final assignment as commander of the 55th Mission Support Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After his military service, Hadley served in training and development at First National Bank of Omaha and West Corporation from 1998 to 2003.

He earned his master’s degree in marriage/family and child counseling from Chapman University in Orange, California, and a doctorate in psychology from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in Oakland in 2003.

Hadley embarked on an executive role at six colleges and universities before landing at GCU in 2013 and providing stability, insight, humor and passion to his work.

“Jim Hadley was my partner and my friend,” Doctoral Chair Wayne Schmidt said. “He made every day I knew him better than the days I didn't.”

Hadley loved riding his Harley motorcycle with Susan and listening to  music. He also possessed a lifelong love for the St. Louis Blues hockey team and St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

In addition to his wife, Hadley is survived by daughters Julie Hadley and Michelle Watson (husband Jon), brothers Bob (wife Debbie) and Brian Hadley, sister Nancy Huitt (husband Randy), stepdaughter Jessica May, and granddaughters Kinsey and Hazel Watson.

Hadley was preceded in death by mother Betty Hadley, father Robert Hadley, sister Diana Hadley Albright and stepson Joshua May.

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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