Alumni Gather to Celebrate Dr. Bradley Hardy ’98 and Randy Baker

The Durham Academy alumni community gathered on April 29 to celebrate 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree Dr. Bradley Hardy ’89, a labor economist and professor at Georgetown University, and Faculty and Staff Legacy Award recipient Randy Baker, who retired this spring after 41 years as part of DA’s maintenance team. The reception and ceremony, hosted in the Upper School quad and the Smith Hall assembly space of the STEM & Humanities Center, marked the first in-person DA alumni event since the start of the pandemic.

“Given his meteoric rise in the world of economic policy research, none of us who know Bradley would be surprised to see his face someday on a $1,000 bill. … But at the same time, Bradley is remarkably humble, unassuming, down-to-earth and kind. … Congratulations to Bradley Hardy, who has remained an all-around nice guy and who has distinguished himself both personally and professionally as a force for what is good and right in the world.”

Michael Ulku-Steiner, head of school

“I come from the vantage point of being a college professor now, so I have a lot of students coming through, and I think I see some of what works and what doesn’t. I think that DA provides a safe learning environment, both emotionally and physically. So you can take chances, push yourself physically and intellectually. And you can dust yourself off at the same time. … DA was all about effort and teamwork, the importance of a collective effort.”

Dr. Bradley Hardy ’98

“Can you imagine how Durham Academy would be different — how many of us would all be different — if [then-DA business manager] Jim Horner hadn’t changed his mind and just followed his instincts on people and hired Randy Baker 41 years ago? … I’ve been at every event where the Durham Academy Faculty and Staff Legacy Award has been presented. I’ve worked closely with all of the former recipients. All of the former recipients are my friends, and they’re all talented and excellent and deserving. But I can say no one has deserved this honor more than Randy Baker.”

Steve Engebretsen, Middle School PE teacher and former director of athletics

“I learned quickly that working here, you didn’t just become friends, you became family. This was reinforced when my daughter Katie went to school here, with all of the wonderful teachers she had. I have many wonderful memories over the years … The one that really touched me the most and that I will remember always, is helping the Preschool incubate the eggs. It was a lot of fun. And the joy on the kids’ faces when the chicks hatched was amazing, it just touched me.”

Randy Baker, retired DA foreman