Harding University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Harding University
Harding University Logo (Trademark of Harding University)
Motto"Developing Christian Servants"
Religious affiliationChurches of Christ
Endowment$108 million (as of 6/30/2012)
PresidentBruce D. McLarty
ProvostLarry L. Long
Academic staff314
LocationSearcy, AR, USA
35°14′52″N 91°43′38″W / 35.24785°N 91.72711°W / 35.24785; -91.72711Coordinates: 35°14′52″N 91°43′38″W / 35.24785°N 91.72711°W / 35.24785; -91.72711
CampusSuburban, 350 acres (140 ha)
Colors         Black and Gold
Jump to: navigation, search
Harding University
Harding University Logo (Trademark of Harding University)
Motto"Developing Christian Servants"
Religious affiliationChurches of Christ
Endowment$108 million (as of 6/30/2012)
PresidentBruce D. McLarty
ProvostLarry L. Long
Academic staff314
LocationSearcy, AR, USA
35°14′52″N 91°43′38″W / 35.24785°N 91.72711°W / 35.24785; -91.72711Coordinates: 35°14′52″N 91°43′38″W / 35.24785°N 91.72711°W / 35.24785; -91.72711
CampusSuburban, 350 acres (140 ha)
Colors         Black and Gold

Harding University is a private liberal arts Christian university in Searcy, Arkansas, about 50 miles (80 km) north-east of Little Rock, associated with the Churches of Christ. The university takes its name from James A. Harding.

The school was founded in 1924 as Harding College in Morrilton, Arkansas and moved a decade later to the campus of the defunct Galloway Female College in Searcy. Today, the University contains forty-eight buildings, a Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee, satellite campuses in North Little Rock, Paragould and Bentonville, and International campuses in Brisbane, Australia; Viña del Mar, Chile; London, England; Porto Rafti, Greece; Florence, Italy; France; and Namwianga Mission, Zambia.[1] The fall 2013 student body of 6,295 students includes 4,429 undergraduate and 1,808 graduate students from all fifty states and forty-eight foreign countries.[2] The fall 2013 enrollment is the 27th consecutive record fall undergraduate enrollment for the University and included 53 undergraduates who were selected as a National Merit Finalist.

Harding University also operates Camp Tahkodah in Floral, Arkansas, Harding Academy in Searcy, and the Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee.

American Studies Institute[edit]

The Administration Building of Harding University

The Harding American Studies Institute (ASI) is designed to supplement students' academic training and promote "a complete understanding of the institutions, values, and ideas of liberty and democracy."[1] In doing so, the ASI exhibits a generally conservative political stance, focused on going "back to the fundamental values that made this country great." The formal roots of this program date back to 1953, when Harding formed the School of American Studies.

Prior to the formal foundation of the ASI, Harding was also involved in the production of a series of animated cartoons extolling the virtues of free-market capitalism. This, too, forms a precursor to the political conservatism that has characterized the ASI. This series, including 1948's "Make Mine Freedom"[3] and "Going Places",[4] as well as 1949's "Meet King Joe",[5] were all produced by John Southerland Productions as part of a concerted propaganda program to fight against the perceived threats of communism at the beginning of the Cold War using popular media. The animations attempt to contrast mainstream American values with the values of Soviet communism. The initiative represented a central concern of Harding president George S. Benson, who believed that fighting socialism was a moral imperative, causing him to abandon the pacifism and political disengagement championed by founding influences James A. Harding and David Lipscomb, reversing the university's course and setting it on its current conservative political trajectory.

Currently, the ASI sponsors a number of programs aimed at promoting these values. These include entrepreneurial and leadership programs, a distinguished student honors program, the Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education, and participation in the Walton Scholars Program, which brings in qualified students from Hispanic countries to Arkansas colleges and universities.


The David B. Burks American Heritage Center on the Harding University campus

The campus comprises 48 buildings located on 350 acres (1.4 km2) near the center of Searcy.

The heart of the campus includes the George S. Benson Auditorium, which hosts daily chapel and sits facing the McInteer Bible and World Missions Center. Brackett Library, the American Studies Building (Education and English departments), the David B. Burks American Heritage Building (hotel and offices), Patti Cobb Hall, and the Administration Building frame a grassy central commons area upon which can be found several paths, a fountain, and a bell tower made out of bricks from the institution that once stood there: Galloway Female College. Notable additions in recent years have included several dormitories. Expansions of the cafeteria, student center, art department, David B. Burks American Heritage Building, along with the addition of the McInteer Bible and World Missions Center, came with the closing of the road that once ran through that part of campus. It is now a pedestrian mall.

After years of playing in the Ganus Athletic Center, Harding's volleyball and basketball teams moved back to the Rhodes Memorial Field House, a round-topped airplane hangar from WWII. The "old gym" as it was once called was retrofitted to accentuate the already deafening acoustics of the facility, which has worked to the advantage of the home teams. The campus also has extensive intramural sports facilities.

The campus lies roughly between Race Avenue and Beebe-Capps Expressway and includes several other minor thoroughfares, the campus of Harding Academy, Harding Place (a retirement community), and portions of surrounding neighborhoods.

Student life[edit]

The Original Harding College Arch

Most students participate in local churches, social clubs, spiritual devotionals, or intramural sports. Each weekday morning students attend chapel, a 35-minute devotional session. Chapel presentations are usually led by students or faculty, but special events and guest speakers take place on a regular basis.

Social clubs[edit]

Harding forbids formation of local chapters of national social fraternities and sororities. In lieu of the traditional Greek letter organizations, Harding sponsors student-led "social clubs" that serve a similar social networking function to the Greek system. Most of these organizations have adopted Greek letter names that are similar to national fraternity and sorority names. Currently there are 13 women's social clubs and 14 men's social clubs at Harding. Social clubs are open to all academically eligible students and serve as some of the university's most visible student-led organizations. The clubs are a prominent part of student life with slightly more than half of all undergraduate students participating as social club members.

The social club induction process begins when clubs host "mixers" in the fall to recruit new members. Prospective members then complete a "visitation," which requires that they meet and interview every current member of the club. The membership process culminates in Club Week, when each prospective member bonds with the other members of the club through a series of scheduled activities throughout the week.

At the end of the week, potential members are scored, and if their efforts are sufficient, they are accepted into the club. Once a student is accepted into the club, they attend biweekly meetings and can participate in club-sponsored sports, service projects, and Spring Sing.

List of clubs:

  • Alpha Tau Epsilon
  • BAX
  • Chi Sigma Alpha
  • Chi Kappa Rho
  • Chi Omega Pi
  • Delta Chi Delta
  • Delta Gamma Rho
  • Delta Nu
  • Gamma Sigma Phi
  • GATA
  • Iota Chi
  • Ju Go Ju
  • King's Men
  • Knights
  • Ko Jo Kai
  • Kyodai
  • OEGE
  • Omega Lambda Chi
  • Omega Phi
  • Pi Kappa Epsilon
  • Pi Theta Phi
  • Regina
  • Shantih
  • Sigma Nu Epsilon
  • Sigma Phi Mu
  • Sub T-16
  • Theta Nu Xi
  • Titans
  • TNT
  • Zeta Pi Zeta
  • Zeta Rho

The social clubs have been involved in hazing controversies over the years, resulting in the disbandment of some clubs over the years, including the Seminoles in 2010 and the Mohicans in 1982[6]

Spring Sing[edit]

Spring Sing is an annual musical production held during Easter Weekend, featuring performances by the social clubs. It is widely attended by current and prospective students, alumni, and Searcy residents. An estimated 12,000 people attend the show each year. [7] Each year, an overall theme is selected, and each club develops music and choreographed routines for the show. Rehearsals begin as early as January.

Spring Sing also typically features two hosts, two hostesses, and a general song and choreograph ensemble, with these roles chosen by audition. The ensemble performs to music played by the University Jazz Band.

Each club act is judged, and according to their performance, each club is awarded a certain amount of money. The clubs then donate this money to charities of their choice.

Honor societies[edit]

Harding is the current national headquarters of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society. [2]

Policies and code of conduct[edit]

In keeping with the university's expectation of the "highest standards of morality, integrity, orderliness and personal honor," Harding has a number of rules that were designed to foster these standards on campus.[8]

Chapel and Bible class attendance are mandatory for students who are taking at least 8 hours for credit in a given semester. Additionally, students must complete at least 8 hours of Bible courses in order to complete the Liberal Arts curriculum. "First Time In College" (FTIC) students must take a survey course in New Testament during the their first year, the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) in the first semester, then the rest of the New Testament the second followed by a survey of the Old Testament during their second year (Genesis-Job in Semester 1 and Psalm-Malachi in Semester 2).

Students who live on campus (a majority of students) are required to be in their residence halls by midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on weekends. Except in certain open house events, men and women are not allowed to visit one another's dorm rooms.

Harding has had a no smoking policy on campus since August of 1978. Disciplinary action may be taken against students who use illegal drugs whether on or off campus. The consumption of alcohol is also prohibited for students and faculty both on and off campus. A violation of this policy usually results in expulsion for one semester. Searcy, Arkansas is in White County, which is a dry county.

Harding requires faculty to dress professionally when attending class, chapel, lyceum, and American Studies programs. Prior to August, 1979, female students were required to wear dresses to class, and are still required to dress "modestly".


Harding has competed in the NCAA at the Division-II level since 1997 and began in the Gulf South Conference in 2000 before moving to the newly formed Great American Conference (GAC) in 2011. Men's sports include Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Men's and Women's Soccer (plays in the MIAA), Tennis and Track and Field. Women's sports include Basketball, Cheerleading, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball (begins spring 2014), Tennis, Track and Field and Volleyball.

The facilities for the sporting events are: First Security Stadium, Ganus Athletic Center, Jerry Moore Field (baseball) and the Rhodes Memorial Field House.

In the GAC's first season, Harding won conference championships in women's cross country and women's golf and placed second in the conference's all-sports trophy standings.

Harding's baseball team qualified its first NCAA Tournament in 2011. The Bisons won a school-record 42 games, won the Gulf South Conference West Division, and finished the season ranked 11th in Division II.

The Bison cross country team, under head coach Steve Guymon, has won 10 conference championships and 10 regional championships during its time in the NCAA. Harding's men have also placed in the top 10 at the national meet seven times.

Harding women's cross country also has 10 conference championships, four regional championships and four top-10 finishes in the national meet since 1997.

The Bison football team, coached by Ronnie Huckeba, has been known for its prolific triple-option rushing attack in recent seasons. In 2011, Harding led Division II with 360.9 rushing yards per game.

In his 20th season as head coach of the Harding men's basketball team, Jeff Morgan has led the Bisons to 15 postseason appearances, including three trips to the national tournament. In 2010-11, Morgan led the Bisons to a 25-5 record, a Gulf South Conference Tournament championship, its third berth in the NCAA Tournament, and a No. 11 national ranking.

In February 2013, the Rhodes Field House was named the Best Road Trip Destination in College Basketball by Enterprise Rent-A-Car and GEICO in an online fan poll, receiving more votes than nine Division I institutions, such as Indiana University, the University of Arizona, West Virginia University, and others.[9]

Harding women's basketball has had six straight winning seasons under eighth-year head coach Tim Kirby. In 2011-12, the Lady Bisons advanced to the finals of the GAC Tournament in Bartlesville, Okla.

The Lady Bison volleyball squad has won seven conference championships since 2002 and earned four berths in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. Harding has a 113-12 (.904) winning percentage in conference play in the last 10 seasons.

David Elliott served as the head tennis coach at Harding from 1975 until 2013. During his tenure his men's and women's teams combined for 1,136 victories during his career.[citation needed] Marco Ruiz, a Harding graduate, former Harding tennis athlete and native of São Paulo, Brazil, replaced Elliott as head tennis coach in 2013.


Dr. Ganus as Vice-President in 1962.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]