2014-224.5 Tim Cox-9 Hi, my name is Tim Cox and as a child, I loved to draw, and my parents encouraged my interest in arts mostly because it kept me entertained, kept me quiet during church services, and kept their refrigerator well decorated. But at 11 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer, and my love of drawing became my escape from the tests, the waiting rooms and, most of all, the pain. During my battle with cancer, my parents and other mentors emphasized the idea that  “attitude is everything,” which helped me develop a slightly off-center sense of humor. The humor helped during my many hospital stays, and I had to take the reigns of my faith and depend fully on God to help through this time. The cancer eventually crushed all the nerves in my spine making me a paraplegic and a latter infection caused me to have my left leg amputated. So for about 10 years my life changed drastically, but the things that mattered most stayed consistent like my family, my faith and my love of creating.

After high school, I attended Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and received my A.A. in fine arts, graduating cum laude. It was at NOVA that a mentor encouraged me to consider a career in graphic design because it complimented my talents and interests. From there, I continued my education at Harding majoring in graphic design. I discovered that my mentor was right — I enjoyed the daily creative challenges, and I developed a skill-set that readied me for internships and the real world.

Shortly after graduating with my B.F.A. in graphic design, I began work as a government contractor in the Washington, D.C., metro area with the National Counterintelligence Center, a division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). I was thrown head first into an exclusive world of intelligence, politics and complex issues where my designs were needed to help educate and inform the intelligence community. My challenge was to provide quality designs on various documents — posters, report covers, seals, info-graphics, brochures and websites — that would make people take notice and, more importantly, remember amidst a sea of paperwork and red tape. During my tenure with the CIA, my work garnered high praise including several intelligence citations and awards.

I met my wife Erin (Harrington) Cox in a Bible study in Fairfax, Virginia, in early 1999. She had just graduated from Harding and was working on the White Water investigation as a paralegal, and her brother, Brian Harrington, gave her my name because he and I had both been in Knights. She and I soon became friends and after several “dates” where I let her pay her own way because I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not, we began dating. We got engaged in May 2000 and were married in February 2001. We both were working very stressful jobs and tired of the rat race of the D.C. area, and we decided we would move but were not sure where that would be until we ran into Dr. John Keller from the art department. He said that, if I was ever interested in adjuncting, I would be welcome. We decided God was tapping us on the shoulders, and we moved to Searcy in November 2002 where I discovered the best of both worlds by teaching amazing students and continuing my work with the government by telecommuting.

We both became and remain very active on campus becoming sponsors for Knights and Chi Omega Pi. We believe that working with the students is the reason God pointed us in this direction. The students are very special to us, and we love having them over to our home and joining in on their myriad activities. They all have become older siblings to our daughter Corban, whom we adopted in 2006, and our son Sullivan, whom we adopted in 2011. Knights even queened Corban, and she loves the extra attention she gets from them. Erin loved her time with Chi Omega Pi but Delta Nu had a need for sponsors last year so she made the move over to them and greatly enjoys her time with them. The students have helped make our house a home that they are always welcome in.

Work was as busy as ever but on March 1, 2013, God allowed us to depend on him once again. After 16 years with the CIA contract, my position was lost due to government sequestration and sweeping budget cuts. Though this was quite a blow, I truly feel that it is a blessing. We did not want to leave the students and the friends we have made so until full-time work could be found, I decided to further my education and was accepted to Savannah College of Art and Design where I am currently pursuing my Master of Fine Art in graphic design online. It has been challenging but the benefits to my creativity have been incredible. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to now work full time for Harding as one of the graphic designers in the Public Relations Office, but I also get to continue teaching as a adjunct in the art department. I am excited about bringing my creativity and skills to this position and help make sure the Harding that I love looks as great as I know the faculty, staff and awesome students make it. God continues to bless my family and me, and we look forward the path he has laid out for us.

Tim Cox, graphic designer



I never really had a dream job in mind. I remember sitting in class listening to Dr. Jim Miller and Dr. Jack Shock “sort” people in their dream jobs and future careers, and I never participated because three other people had already said “SNL writer” and I didn’t know what else to say.

I was aware of some of the more progressive career opportunities out there through my internships and conversations with superiors, but there wasn’t a corporate ladder I felt compelled to climb or an executive position I was aspiring to reach — I just knew what I liked to do. I’ve always known what I like to do. I like to be creative, and I like to tell good stories.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work here in the Public Relations Office and do exactly that — my official title is “web content manager,” but I have my own way of describing what I do. It’s more like an outlet for progressive and imaginative thinking, a medium for endless creativity ­— and of course my favorite part — a venue for producing great stories compiled from the people who are the pillars of this great school. Unfortunately they can’t fit that on my nametag so the former title will have to do.

But I don’t think it’s about “finding your dream job” so much as making it your dream job. There are good days and bad days wherever you work, and I think you have a responsibility to provide your own good days — not only for yourself, but for your colleagues as well.

My dream job isn’t at Google or some other place that probably has a water slide entrance with mandatory nap rooms and espresso machines built into all the office furniture, but to me a dream job is a place where I can openly live out my faith, where I can express new ideas and ways of thinking, and be surrounded by people who challenge me and encourage growth. (But I’m hoping they consider the espresso option ASAP.)

That being said, my name is Bethany Aspey. I graduated this May with a degree in public relations. I’m from Hudson, Colorado, but spent my final semester studying abroad in Greece, where I pretend to be a permanent resident. I love writing, design, coffee, witty Snapchats and anything that’s the color green. Oh, and I work at my dream job.

 Bethany Aspey, web content manager


Sometimes as a photographer, you just get lucky.  I just happened to be at Camp Tahkodah on the night of the supermoon at the perfect time to witness the moonrise.

I had to go to camp to get my daughter for a Saturday All Stars softball tournament. I arrived at camp at about 6:30 p.m., and I planned on picking her up and getting back home quickly so we could go to bed early and be well rested for the softball games. Well, it was cabin night, and Josie was out having fun with her cabin, so I sat on the porch of the dining hall with some of the adult staff and enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather. The moon started rising just as the kids started trickling back into camp for canteen and the evening deco. We collected Josie’s laundry, and as we got ready to go, the moon, sky and lights at the gym all balanced perfectly.  Like I say, “Sometimes you just get lucky.”

Jeff Montgomery/photographer


Theme dinner at 2013 Freshman Impact.

Theme dinner at 2013 Freshman Impact.

I remember it like it was yesterday: a house packed with college students; the smell of sweat filling the air; voices shouting, off-key singing, adrenaline pumping. We were bringing the house down. Like way down.

This may sound like the start of a frat party (well, at least the ones I have seen in stupid teenage movies — you know, the ones where the nerdy girl gets a makeover and the jock accidentally falls in love with her). But it wasn’t. It was spring break my sophomore year. I signed up for a mission trip to Long Beach, Mississippi. It had been a year since Hurricane Katrina, but the devastation in that area was still quite severe.

Before you write me off as an Angelina Jolie wannabe, I must be upfront that my motives were not all Mother Teresa. You want full disclosure? Here it is: the guys that signed up ahead of me were cute. Like “I will gut a house to be in your presence” cute. Sitting around my hometown all week also was not appealing.

But back to the packed house. I have never, before or since, been a part of such hard labor. They make demolition look so easy on TV, but it’s exhausting. I, along with several other girls on the trip, had been working tirelessly to bring down one of the walls. In order to rally the troops (and because I had been recently heartbroken), I said, “Girls, I want you to think of someone who has done you wrong. On the count of three, I want you to shout their name and sledgehammer this wall as hard as you can.”

One. Two. Three.

It was a scene out of the movie “300.” Even shy girls were charging the wall like they were seizing an enemy army. The wall came down before we could even think of a second ex-boyfriend. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

It’s memories like this that come to mind when I read articles like the one released this week naming Harding as one of the nation’s “lamest party schools.” I can’t say that I gasped in disbelief when I read this. I simply thought to myself, “The author of this study obviously never attended one of my karaoke parties on first floor Pryor.” A front row performance of my roommate singing the high part of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” would have been enough to drop us off the lame list.

When people ask about the idiosyncrasies of attending a private Christian university, I always tell them the same thing: “You will find exactly what you’re looking for. But Harding makes it easier to find the good.”

If you want to party, you will find a party. If you want to use your youth to make the world a better place, you will be stuffed in a 15-passenger van for hours with complete strangers.

Like life, college is what you make it. It can be a time of maximum growth; it can be a time of world travel; it can be a time to fully prepare for life beyond school. Or it can be four years you barely remember.

Lame is not bound by one definition; it is not measured by alcohol intake, lack of curfews and a lively party circuit. A lame college experience is completely dependent on the student’s chosen experiences.

And as for me?

I had the time of my life.

Ashton (Reely) Ray graduated from Harding in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism and in 2010 with a Master of Arts in Business Administration. 


A rendering of the new Office of Student Publications space. (Scott Ulliman, Columbus, Ohio, motion graphics animator.)

This summer, many changes are happening on campus. One big renovation is in the Reynolds Building where the former communication sciences and disorders speech clinic is being remodeled to become the new Office of Student Publications.

I joined the Student Publications staff in spring 2014, and I got to tour the new space last week. Though the office is unfinished, I quickly began picturing the finished product and the creations that would take place here. With every nail, loose tile or wire hanging from the ceiling, I saw a bustling room and familiar faces of friends —all with common deadlines and a shared understanding of exhaustion mixed with late night Chinese takeout to push us through. In place of paint splattered on the ground, I saw the quaint, new offices for editors and a wide, open work space for staff members. I could see the long hours, creativity, commitment and laughter that will fill these walls.


A shared, open work space for the newspaper and yearbook staffs. (Scott Ulliman)


An editor’s office. (Scott Ulliman)


A new photography and graphic arts studio. (Scott Ulliman)

A photography and graphic arts studio in the new space will provide student photographers and multimedia editors with space to spread out and expand their creative capabilities. The staffs of the Petit Jean yearbook and Bison newspaper will be working alongside each other for the first time in a shared space.

Among these advancements, students can expect to have a new and improved work experience and environment with a coffee station, seating area, and technology updates such as large monitors, projectors and computers.


A reception and seating area. (Scott Ulliman)

Additional updates are also underway in the department of communication side of the Reynolds and include a classroom renovation and a new paint color in the hallways. Photo displays showcasing TV16 news station as well as student awards, photography and artwork will also be a feature of this hallway.

The new Student Publications office and other department renovations should be completed by fall 2014. I can’t wait to be a part of the first group of students to learn, grow and communicate in this new space.

Taylor Gleaves, public relations intern

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There’s a calm on campus today. The last session of Uplift campers departed this morning, and Summer I classes finished just in time for the Fourth of July holiday. Even the remodeling of the cafeteria seemed to be in a quieter mode as I walked back into the Burks Heritage Building after lunch.

While there are no public firework displays in Searcy this year, the day marking the independence of our country should be beautiful for holiday activities with a forecast of sunshine and a high of only 83.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July from Harding magazine.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer


Jack McKinney.2011-171-5227I first met Jack McKinney in 1974 while traveling in Europe. My wife, Sherry, and I were on our way back to the states, and one place we visited was Zurich, Switzerland. It was on a Sunday, and we found the local church. To our surprise we met an American who preached that day and was leaving soon to teach at a college in Arkansas. I told him we were also on our way back to teach and discovered that we were going to the same place — Harding! Not only were we going to Harding to teach, but we also were both going to teach in the Bible department. That was the start of a long relationship with Jack and his wife, Joanne.

I did not know Jack before our chance meeting in Zurich, but I was not around him long before I recognized the brilliance of the man. He was a sharp, knowledgeable student of the Greek language. I, for one, quickly perceived that Jack had forgotten more Greek than any of us who also taught the language would probably ever learn! He was powerful and clear in his teaching, and his students thrived under his leadership.

Although focused on his teaching, Jack never forgot the mission field in Europe he had left. For many years during the summer he took students with him to Germany, Switzerland and other places. Several who knew firsthand of Jack’s preaching and teaching in the German language said that he was absolutely first rate. Knowing Jack, this did not surprise me, and it can truly be said that Jack was an extremely capable linguist and scholar. One day while visiting in his office, I noticed that he did not have very many commentaries on his shelves. When I mentioned this to Jack he said, “Well, as long as I know the original languages, I do not have to depend primarily on what others say.” This made a deep impression on me, and I took it to heart to know the Bible more directly through the Greek and Hebrew texts than to rely first and foremost on what various scholars were saying.

My other connection to Jack and Joanne came through our work with the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Jack and Joanne were charter members of the group, and both devoted many hours to the cause. Recently in cleaning out my office after retiring in May of this year, I ran across some old pictures stuck away in a box. In several of these there was Jack at the finish line after running in our 10K race to raise funds for our chapter. Many years he won his age group! Jack was a good athlete and believed in taking care of his body, but he also kept his mind active. After retiring from Harding, Jack continued to teach Bible classes at the College church and to study. He was working on a commentary on Galatians when he started having strokes and unfortunately did not live to complete the task after having made substantial progress. Plans are being made to finish off what Jack started, and, knowing him, it will be an excellent piece of work.

My acquaintance with Jack came to an end this past Sunday, June 15, when I visited with him after the evening worship service at College Church of Christ. He was talking to the young man who had preached. I spoke to Jack for a few minutes — not knowing this would be my last conversation with him and that he would suffer a fatal stroke during another meeting that same evening. My acquaintance with Jack had come full circle — from meeting him in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1974 to talking with him nearly 40 years later only a few minutes before his death. In all those years, I can say I never met a kinder, gentler spirit than Jack McKinney or a more brilliant scholar. He was a true Christian brother and servant of the Lord. May his name be blessed and may he enter his eternal reward.

 Paul Pollard, friend and colleague

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Soccer sign.06-17-2014-70226

As any soccer fan knows, the FIFA World Cup officially kicked off June 12 in Brazil. America took a thrilling win yesterday over Ghana 2-1 as substitute John Brooks’ powerful downward header goal made the difference in the hard-fought contest.

But today, there’s a little extra soccer enthusiasm on the Harding campus as the new scoreboard is erected. It’s a considerable improvement over the old sign and will be a welcome addition to Bison and Lady Bison soccer this fall.

Until then, we’re soaking up the World Cup excitement and proudly chanting USA.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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To many, Harding University is a place to call home, or the home in between you might say. Harding is a place where students build new lives in their college chapter and are daily challenged with new things. In 1984 Uplift camp was born and has been a time for kids from 7th to 12th grade to come to Harding for a week to experience this “summer camp on a college campus.” Training for counselors kicked off on Thursday for Uplift. Being a counselor for the first time, it’s going to be a new and exciting experience for me and for everyone. Uplift has many new changes this year, and I am exhilarated to join the team.

Friends have been telling me about Uplift since I first came to Harding as a freshman. Many of them grew up coming to Uplift and marked it as one of the main reasons they chose to come to Harding. Its impact has been heard all the way to the ears of someone who didn’t even know what Uplift was until a few years ago. Yet, I am here.

The theme this year is, “You Are Here.” In our first night of training, the counselors split into groups and walked all around campus to the buildings and areas where activities would be happening throughout the next three weeks. We walked to each building and prayed that these places will be present with God’s spirit and that Satan will be far from it, for Uplift is a harness for big things to happen — spiritually big things. We walked around campus praying in the student center for conversations and connections. We prayed in the Administration Auditorium that our worship would be pure and on fire, and through this moment of prayer, I began to see that my school emanates such a different light — a new light.

There’s no better theme for Uplift than one centered on being you and recognizing that God meets you where you are. Through the many different stages of our faith, God is ready and able to hold you in his hand, and that is why I am here.

Taylor Gleaves, public relations intern


Soon-to-be Harding freshman pose with Buff the Bison in the Stampede photo booth.

Soon-to-be Harding freshmen pose with Buff the Bison in the Stampede photo booth.

It is hard to believe that almost 10 years ago to the date, I arrived on campus at Harding University for Summer Stampede prior to my freshman year. I drove the three and a half hours all by my lonesome from the rural Arkansas town of Horatio. As I sat alone in my white Chevrolet truck, cruising down the interstate, I was filled with anticipation, nerves and uncertainty. Little did I know that I was about to solidify one of the best decisions of my life.

Now, as I stand on the other side, as an assistant director of admissions at Harding, I am eager to see the excitement, nerves and incertitude on the faces of those joining our student body this fall. For I know what wonderful opportunities they have in front of them.

For the first time in my life I feel old. I know that others are even further removed from their Summer Stampede experience (they must feel ancient), but I am definite that they remember it like it was yesterday. I know that I do. Transitions in life are truly memorable, and the one from high school to college is certainly no exception. As someone who is not an admirer of change, I am filled with relief when a change is transformed over time to become the new normal. However, the transition from high school, moving away from home and leaving the only life I had ever known to come to Harding is a change that I would eagerly experience again. Nothing compares to starting over, making new friends, uncovering unknown opportunities and developing your own faith.

While Stampede serves as an orientation for incoming freshman, preparing them for their first semester on campus, it also serves as stepping stone to an exciting new chapter in life. Even though many of these students were probably gifted a copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! for graduating high school, I doubt that any of them will view Stampede now with as much depth and fondness as they will when they reflect back on it decades later. Dr. Seuss writes, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go …”

On the surface, Stampede is a schedule of breakout sessions, presentations and paperwork, all purposefully designed to springboard students to a great and worry-free start to their university career, but at its heart it is a time for connections: the development of new life-long friendships, meeting your academic mentor and friend, and just maybe meeting that special someone. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Harding family to welcome these students and their families with open arms to fuel the fire of excitement, to calm and extinguish the nerves, and to provide certitude in their decision to attend Harding. “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to great places! You’re off and away!”

Scott Hannigan, assistant director of admissions


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