Father Boniface Hardin was born in Bardstown, KY, on November 18, 1933. He came to Saint Meinrad in 1947 as a high school student. He was invested as a novice in 1953, professed his simple vows on July 31, 1954, and his solemn vows in 1957. A jubilarian of both monastic profession and priesthood, Fr. Boniface was ordained to the priesthood on May 11, 1959.
After his ordination, Fr. Boniface served as assistant treasurer of the Archabbey for six years. In 1965, he was appointed assistant pastor at Holy Angels Parish in Indianapolis.
In his first years in the parish, located in an African-American neighborhood, social tensions ran high and the threat of violence was imminent. Fr. Boniface became a speaker for, and leader of, the black community in the search for justice and civil rights.
In 1969, he founded the Martin Center, an Institute of Afro-American Studies, named in honor of St. Martin de Porres and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Center aimed to combat oppression, particularly as minority individuals and groups encountered it through racial prejudice. The Center's mission also included assistance to those affected by sickle cell disease and associated disorders through its supportive services, education and advocacy.
In 1977, with the assistance of Sister Jane Schilling, he founded Martin University, also in Indianapolis, with the mission of serving low-income, minority and adult learners. He retired as the university's president in 2007.
For a number of years, Fr. Boniface was instrumental in introducing many seminarians from dioceses throughout the United States to the ethos and needs of the black community through a program in which participating students would reside and work with the black community in Indianapolis for several weeks.
Fr. Boniface was the recipient of many awards and honorary doctorates, among them the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1997 from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.