Harding University is entering its ninety-fourth year as the 2017-2018 school year begins. Founded on the belief that the best education is built on faith in God, Harding continues to confess this core conviction in all we do. We are committed to the integration of faith, learning and living in every aspect of university life. Our unique mission is to provide a quality education which will lead to an understanding and philosophy of life consistent with Christian ideals. Though no institution can claim to be perfect, we believe that Harding University offers the best possible setting for developing a deep and dynamic Christian faith in a setting of academic excellence. For almost a century, our teachers have sacrificed and labored to be a part of this grand mission, and our students have come from all over the world to join us in this great adventure.
If you are a prospective student, we invite you to visit us on the Harding campus. We are confident that you will be impressed with what you find and that you will want to become part of the Harding family. Campus tours can be arranged through the Admissions Office, located in the Burks American Heritage Building. The office is open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (1-800-477-4407). The admissions staff will be happy to arrange a campus tour for you and to put you in touch with professors from whatever field of study interests you.
If you are already enrolled at Harding, this catalog serves as your official academic document. It will guide you through the academic process, and the entire Harding family will do our very best to help you reach your educational goals.
Bruce D. McLarty, D.Min., President
Searcy, Arkansas 72149-5615
Harding University admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin. Also, in compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Harding University does not discriminate on the basis of sex or handicap in its educational program, activities or employment except where necessitated by specific religious tenets held by the institution and its controlling body.
Harding began as a senior college in 1924, when two junior colleges, Arkansas Christian College and Harper College, merged their facilities and assets, adopted the new name of Harding College, and located on the campus of Arkansas Christian in Morrilton, Ark. Harper had been founded in 1915 in Harper, Kansas, and Arkansas Christian had been chartered in 1919.
Upon completion of a study begun in May 1978, the board of trustees approved the study’s recommended change of Harding to university status, and on Aug. 27, 1979, the name of the institution officially became Harding University.
The college was named in memory of James A. Harding, co-founder and first president of Nashville Bible School (now David Lipscomb University) in Nashville, Tenn. A preacher, teacher and Christian educator, James A. Harding inspired his co-workers and associates with an enthusiasm for Christian education that remains a significant tradition at Harding University.
With the merger J.N. Armstrong, who had served five years as Harper’s president, became president of Harding College, and A.S. Croom, president of Arkansas Christian for two years, became vice president for business affairs. In 1934 Harding was moved to its present site in Searcy, Ark., on the campus of a former women’s institution, Galloway College.
One of Harding’s first graduates, George S. Benson, returned from mission work in China in 1936 to assume the presidency of his alma mater. The vigorous educator quickly directed the College out of deep indebtedness and launched it on a journey to financial stability, national recognition and academic accreditation. When Dr. Benson retired in 1965, his 29 years of tireless service were more than evident in a multimillion-dollar campus, regional accreditation, a strong faculty, and a continually growing student body. Dr. Benson died in December 1991 and is buried in Searcy.
Dr. Clifton L. Ganus Jr., a 1943 graduate, served as president from 1965 to 1987. A former history department chairman and vice president of the College, Dr. Ganus kept alive his predecessor’s drive for excellence by leading a plan of campus improvement and expansion. During his administration, enrollment increased from 1,472 in the fall of 1965 to 2,767 in the fall of 1986. Seven major academic buildings, four large residence halls, and several married students’ apartments were constructed. A $1 million addition to the Science Building was completed in 1984. Also, six academic buildings were renovated and/or enlarged. The nursing program, the social work program, the Mission Prepare program, the School of Biblical Studies (with programs in Searcy and in Nassau, the Bahamas), and the Harding University in Florence (Italy) program were developed during his administration. In Memphis, Tennessee, the School of Theology experienced significant growth, received accreditation by the Southern Association, and added the Doctor of Ministry degree to its program. Upon his retirement, Dr. Ganus became Harding’s first chancellor, and in his honor, the board of trustees named the physical education complex the Ganus Activity Center. He became the University’s first chancellor emeritus in 2013.
Dr. David B. Burks became Harding’s fourth president in May 1987. A 1965 graduate, he has been a member of the faculty since 1967 and previously served as dean of the School of Business. As professor of business and director of the American Studies program, Dr. Burks received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1974 and 1986. A CPA and consultant, he has written The Christian Alternative for Business and Strategic Management Simulation as well as his memoir Camaraderie. He instituted the course in Christian Business Ethics, a requirement for all business majors. He holds a doctorate in administration of higher education from Florida State University. Under his leadership, the University experienced record growth in enrollment and giving and, more importantly, continued to place significant emphasis on Christian servanthood. He transitioned into the role of chancellor after retiring from the presidency in 2013.
Dr. Bruce McLarty, the University’s fifth president, entered office in June 2013. A 1978 graduate of the University and 1982 graduate of Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tenn., McLarty was the first vice president of spiritual life for the University, serving concurrently as dean of the College of Bible and Ministry. He served in the dual positions until 2008, after which he retained the vice presidential role. Prior to serving at Harding, McLarty was a preacher for a number of years and was pulpit minister at College Church of Christ in Searcy for 14 years. In 2010 he was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree from Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. As the result of his doctoral work, the University adopted his five-chapter curriculum, “Embracing the Mission,” which focuses on maintaining the faith-based principles Harding was built upon.