Dr. Larry Schardt Establishes “Rock ‘n’ Roll!!!” Scholarship

BRADFORD, Pa. — Probably no University of Pittsburgh at Bradford alumnus is better known within the Pitt-Bradford community than Dr. Larry “Rock ’n’ Roll!” Schardt.

Schardt, known for a trademark shock of 1970s-style white hair and mustache and energetic cries of “Rock ’n’ Roll!” at alumni events, has cemented his place in Pitt-Bradford lore with the establishment of the Dr. Larry “Rock ’n’ Roll!!!” Schardt Scholarship.

The “Rock ’n’ Roll!!!” Scholarship was one of the last created through a match from the Agnes L. and Lewis Lyle Scholarship Challenge.

“I’d like to help young people have the ability to go to school,” said Schardt, who attended Pitt-Bradford from 1972-74, before it was a four-year institution. “I was blessed to be given a huge break when I went to college.”

In fact, he had never even really thought about going to college, until he stumbled upon the right group of people.

The oldest of eight children, Schardt helped his mom support his family by working as a paper boy, a stock boy, babysitting, cutting grass, shoveling snow and just about any other odd job to help keep his family afloat. He gave every penny to his mother to help with his younger siblings.

When his mom went to work on Sunday evenings, Schardt would leave the house and head to Mount Lebanon Park, where he found a church group that met in the park for potluck dinners. The church, called the No Church Church, didn’t own a building. Its members believed in using their money to help people and the community instead of spending the money on a building.

“They kind of adopted me,” Schardt said. “I was a really wayward kid. I was always into the whole hippy thing of love and peace and especially kindness.”

When it came time for Schardt to think about graduation, members of the No Church Church encouraged him to go to college and even sat with him as he filled out the application to Pitt-Bradford. Then they helped significantly with Schardt’s tuition, room and board. He left Pitt-Bradford in 1974 and worked on a garbage truck for a couple of years in order to help his mother before heading to Penn State to finish his bachelor’s degree in forestry.

Eventually, he earned a master’s degree and doctorate in education. He recently retired from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a central Pennsylvania organization dedicated to helping communities through creative partnerships in arts, culture and conservation.

Now he’s trying to give back in a number of ways, including his new scholarship. Schardt will also be sharing his expertise this fall with students at Pitt-Bradford, where he’ll be teaching a class about community and conservation.

“Pitt-Bradford occupies a huge part of my heart and soul,” he said. “I was not an angel when I was in school there. I got in a little bit of trouble. I want to give back to the university because the people there believed in me and gave me confidence when I didn’t have confidence in myself.”

For more information on establishing a scholarship at Pitt-Bradford, contact Jill Ballard, executive director of institutional advancement at jballard@pitt.edu or (814)362-5091.

 


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