Though Herb Yardley was raised in Tampa, World War II forced the relocation of his family to Washington D.C. When the war ended, Yardley says it was "a joy supreme" to return to his native state and, eventually, to become a student at the University of Florida. He attended UF in the late forties and again in the fifties after serving his country in Korea. It was a "wonderful time," Yardley says of his life in Gainesville, which included witnessing, among other momentous changes, "the huge influx of GI Bill students."
Yardley credits his CLAS courses with providing him the necessary skills to forge a successful 13-year career at the Chrysler Corporation. "Due to some excellent professors - Blodgett in economics and Harrison in history - I learned the value of study, research and preparedness." He is an honors graduate of CLAS.
Working in a national corporation allowed him to measure his UF pedigree against the varied educations of his co-workers. "A great personal pleasure," Yardley says of his time at Chrysler, "was to learn that my UF education allowed me to compete with graduates of Michigan, Stanford, Indiana, etc. I loved tweaking Yankee noses." Later, he maintains, "these skills helped me in managing my own automobile business." He now runs two dealerships, one in Hobe Sound and the other in Plantation.
Yardley is more than a vocal supporter of UF and the College. He serves on the CLAS Major Gifts Committee, which will spearhead college fundraising throughout the "It's Performance That Counts" Capital Campaign. Additionally, he and his wife, Catherine, fund a faculty award ("The Herb and Catherine Yardley Term Professorship") that benefits a different CLAS professor each year.
Says Yardley of his contributions: "My wife, daughter-in-law and two of my sons all benefited from a Florida education at very low cost. It is payback time." He believes that his own Florida education has been a "wonderful asset," but that these days the value of a UF education is even higher: "The students are better, the teachers are better and the future of our university is superb. The University of Florida and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have earned our support." To any alumni out there who are undecided about giving back to the College, Yardley insists that "payback time is fun!"