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NMSU graduate and president of Munchkin, Inc. establishes business scholarship

Just because you're a college graduate doesn't mean you're done experiencing growth.


For Margaret Hardin, a 1994 New Mexico State University College of Business graduate, it took several years and multiple career moves to work her way up toward becoming president and chief operating officer of Munchkin, Inc.

The growth of this private business, which specializes in the creation of innovative baby and toddler products, was organic in its maturation; while their young clientele were learning to walk and expanding their horizons using Munchkin, Inc. products, the company itself was following in their consumers' tiny footsteps and also learning to function in a larger, worldlier environment.

"Munchkin has been very fortunate to grow consistently since I joined the company, and that growth always presents new opportunities and challenges as the company has to constantly adapt and evolve to support more revenue and more people," Hardin said.

While the company was undergoing this necessary growth, Hardin was busy expanding her responsibilities from finance to operations in her earlier years at the business. Soon, the critical milestone of $100 million in revenue would be met, springing into action the corporate objective for Munchkin, Inc. to grow internationally.

"My career has taken many unexpected turns since graduating from New Mexico State University, not the least of which is the globalization of companies in many industries and at many sizes," Hardin said. "In choosing how I wanted to support New Mexico State, I wanted to provide a student with the opportunity to view the globalization of trade first hand."

Only viewing the growth of international trade through her work history, Hardin decided to put forth support for international business travel and study abroad experiences for NMSU students through the creation of the Stephen Hardin Endowed International Travel Scholarship, named in honor of her late father.

"I am so pleased that Margaret Hardin has elected to fund a scholarship in her father's name, as a tribute to him and a thank you to New Mexico State University for offering her an outstanding education. We are proud of Margaret, her accomplishments, and her leadership in her company and industry," Garrey Carruthers, dean of NMSU's College of Business and vice president for economic development, said.

The scholarship will be funded through an initial $3,000 gift. Four additional payments of $3,000 will be made by Sept. 1 for the next four years, to reach $15,000.

"The goal is to have a large enough principle that the interest can be used to fund the scholarships such that they can be awarded for many, many years to come," Hardin said.

With more than five years of service as president, Hardin said that continuing international growth remains one of her top priorities for the organization.

"There was a time when only the Fortune 100 firms were considered global, but that changed long ago. Now, even the smallest of companies may have sales or services in multiple countries," Hardin said.

This is true of Munchkin, Inc. ? Target Corporation's 2010 Partner Award of Excellence ? which now operates offices in Canada, China and the U.K.

For scholarship eligibility, the student must have a declared major in the College of Business and a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Preference will be given to students majoring or minoring in international business, economics or information systems.