Debra Nesbitt believes spending time with family is important. She lives with her husband, Alan, her three kids, and the residents of Keller Dorm. Nesbitt is currently in her 16th year as a residence life coordinator of Keller.

“My kids really like being dorm kids,” she says. “My two older children interacted more with the students when they were younger, but my youngest still loves to be out in the lobby meeting as many people as possible. We all love to have such a huge family.”

Nesbitt actually grew up in the dorm as the daughter of a dorm dad. She loved helping her dad close down the dorm for breaks, and she says it felt like home to come back and do the job herself.

“My favorite part about being a dorm mom is being able to stay in the lives of the students and to give them a home away from home — a place where they feel connected and comfortable,” she says. “I love building the relationship and getting to know each person. It’s such a blessing to have such a fun job!”

Whether it’s playing games, eating a meal, or just having conversations about life, Nesbitt says that her family tries to find any moment they can to spend time together.

“It doesn’t really matter what we are doing — just spending the time together is where we get the time to talk and stay involved in each others lives,” she says. “I love walking through this life with these guys. God was so gracious to give us each other to walk with. They are always so supportive, encouraging and a safe place where we hold each other accountable. I want more than anything to be with them all in heaven.”

Hannah Owens, director of news services


Thankful food 2

“I love cooking,” Erin Cox (’99) said. “I love most everything about it — the menu planning, the grocery shopping and especially the eating. But I don’t love cleaning the dishes.”

For Cox, cooking is a creative outlet and a great way for her to use her talents to provide for her family. She remembers helping out in the kitchen at a very young age, standing on a step stool to help her great-grandmother make homemade rolls.

“Every summer we would sit at her small table and snap huge piles of fresh green beans so we could can them, and we would line her shelves with jar after jar of the beans, homemade jellies and tomato relish,” she said. “Now that I have my own children, I love that I am passing on those recipes and building memories with them.”

After more than 30 years of practice, Cox feels very comfortable in the kitchen but says she still likes to try new recipes and food from a variety of cultures and countries. Every Friday, the Cox family has “Foreign Food Friday” where her two kids get to choose a country, and Cox makes a type of food that represents that country.

“We as a family learn about the culture and maybe even a few foreign words, too,” Cox said. “The kids each have a blank passport and a sticker book of foreign flags, and they rate the food with their own star system. We’ve discovered some new family favorites, and we’ve had the occasional bust, too. But the benefits are that I get to cook all sorts of fun things not readily available in small-town Searcy, and my kids expand their tastes and learn a bit too. It’s my favorite night of the week!”

Cox believes that sharing a meal is a bonding experience, and she says her family loves to open their home to guests and college students to share a meal and get to know people on a deeper level.

“Some of my favorite times since we have lived in Searcy have been sitting around our kitchen table, sharing a meal and getting to know students who come from all different backgrounds and different parts of the world,” she said. “My husband, Tim, and I have differing sets of spiritual gifts, but we are both committed to developing and using the gift of hospitality.”

At Thanksgiving, Cox has a list of foods she loves to both make and eat, including apple-cider brined turkey, caramel sweet potatoes, and cornbread dressing.

“I think my favorite Thanksgiving dessert I’ve made is a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and salted caramel sauce, which you could poor on an old boot and it would be good!”

-Hannah Owens, news director


Photo by Grant Schol

Photo by Grant Schol

Every day, I’m always working to make better what I did previously. I’m constantly trying to build on what I’ve already done. And rightfully so — what else would life be if we don’t strive to make it something incredible? I guess you could call me a busy person. Whether it is my professional aspirations, personal relationships or day-to-day errands, my infinitely long to-do list never becomes a “done” list, and through all of my toil, worrying and lack of sleep, I never seem to find rest. But fall always seems to put life back into perspective for me.

I look up at the trees, some of which are three times older than my feeble 23 years, and observe how they go about their day-to-day life. I’ve discovered I have much more in common with them than I ever thought I would. Though they may not “think” about what they have to get done like I do, they still have tasks that must be completed before year-end and are always busy preparing for the next season. In the same way, just as I am sent here to live on Earth to be a living sacrifice to God, so are the trees. They live their lives in perfect harmony with their Creator. Absolutely everything they need is provided for them, and in return, they do exactly what God intended them to do: move from season to season, adapting to the changing weather. Their lives are a visual reminder of the redemption story for all of us, constantly cycling from one season to another but ultimately showing that though the leaves fall, new life springs from death. They remind me that I am not in control, everything I need is provided for me, and the worries of life are tiny in relation to the One who created it all.

Fall is my favorite season because it reminds me that all the “stuff” I have to get done is just that — it’s stuff, and it can wait. Fall is my favorite season because it reminds me that life is fleeting, and the beautiful colors won’t always be around to bring joy to my life. And fall is my favorite season because it reminds me of the hope I have in knowing that with every fall, a spring is right around the corner.

Grant Schol, ’15




In his first semester of college, Hunter Jackson is learning about psychology, the New Testament, and what it means to have great relationships with faculty members. A psychology major and Bible and missions minor, Jackson is currently in Visiting Missionary Alan Howell’s New Testament survey class.

“He shares a different aspect on teaching. He’s able to share a lot of what he’s experienced — not just in Mozambique but around the world — and that’s something that I really like because I’m looking to go into missions,” Jackson said.


Jackson, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, took a few Bible as literature classes at the public high school he attended, and he came into this class thinking that he knew a lot.

“Every day, what we talk about is something I didn’t know,” he said. “He’s an awesome teacher. We can just openly discuss anything we want to, and I didn’t have that in high school.”

Earlier in the semester, Jackson’s older brother, Adam, was diagnosed with cancer. Jackson said that he is encouraged by the amount of care his professors have shown to him since he found out.

“Pretty much every day, my Bible professor or my psych professor will ask me about how he’s doing,” Jackson said. “They just really do care — not just about you but about everything going on in your life. It’s almost like all of your professor are close friends, and they’re there to talk to you whenever you need them. That’s just so awesome.”

-Hannah Owens, news director


Sophomore Molly White [right] spends dome quality time with her friends before the Thanksgiving break.

Sophomore Molly White [right] spends some quality time with her friends before the Thanksgiving break.

“I’m thankful for my friends because I could be having the best day or the worst day, and those are the people I go and talk to,” said sophomore Molly White.

A business management major from Franklin, Tennessee, White made several friendships with Harding students before she even started school here. After attending Honor Symposium the summer before her senior year of high school, she stayed in touch with those new friends throughout the year before she started school in August 2014.

“I’m thankful for community and a crowd of witnesses that keeps me on track,” she said. “They have the intention to improve my life and bring joy wherever they go.”

White joined women’s social club Pi Theta Phi in the first semester of her freshman year, and she participated in Spring Sing the following spring. She said both experiences enabled her to build many lifelong friendships.

“One of the things I like most about PTP is that I know that if anything was wrong or if I was having a bad day, I could go to any one of those girls and talk to them,” she said. “It’s a constant friend. There’s always going to be someone there to smile at me and ask me how my day is going, and that’s comforting.”

White says that having friends in the Harding community allows her more opportunities to make meaningful connections.

“There’s something about the Harding community where you become good friends with the person you sit next to in class, then you might see them at church, and then you might go to the same Bible study,” she said. “There are different outlets for you to become friends with people, and they’re outlets that bring you closer to God.”

-Hannah Owens, news director


Systems Librarian Brenda Breezeel checks oil for a student.

Systems Librarian Brenda Breezeel checks oil for a student.

I usually check chapel announcements on Pipeline daily to know what is happening on campus. There were only four today, but they blessed me because of the messages they conveyed. They follow:

  • Students, take your cars to the GAC parking lot today or tomorrow (weather permitting) between 3 and 6 p.m. where faculty and staff will help you check tires, oil and other basics before you drive home for Thanksgiving break.
  • The Red Cross blood drive will continue through Thursday. The donor coaches will be parked in the Benson parking lot and will be open from 1-7 p.m.
  • Chi Kappa Rho, Phi Kappa Delta and GATA invite all who are interested in Spring Sing to attend an interest meeting today in McInteer 150 from 4-5:30 p.m.
  • The SA invites you to a prayer service, which will focus on those suffering after the Paris attack. Join them at 11 p.m. tonight in the McInteer Rotunda.

It is great to know that faculty and staff at the University where I work care enough about students to help them get their vehicles ready for their trips home for the upcoming holiday. As a Red Cross blood donor as a student, it is good to see this tradition of helping others continues today. Spring Sing plans are beginning where students will give their winnings to help organizations they believe in. And people suffering elsewhere are not forgotten with a prayer service for Paris.

Sometimes with all the bad in this world we read about daily, it’s nice to be reminded, even through chapel announcements, our University is still serving, helping, giving and praying.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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I’ve grown up watching football all my life. I’ve been to many football games, including high school, Harding, my home state team, and NFL and indoor arena games. I like football, and I like watching football. Watching it from the sideline is a whole different experience, and I know that now after spending last Saturday’s home game on the sideline for a magazine assignment.

You might be thinking, “Duh, it’s different,” but you have to understand that I have been completely oblivious to the magnitude of the exploding excitement that erupts from a hundred helmeted, padded giants when something incredible on the field happens. After Harding scored the first touchdown in the beginning of the second quarter, I quickly began clapping. My clapping was like a soft whisper in the wind compared to the helmet slapping, cleat stomping and bison roaring that took place simultaneously.

I had many notable experiences, which included somehow exiting the field at half time in the midst of the visiting team (which I thought had to be some sort of horrible bad luck charm I had then just put on the team) and constantly finding myself accidentally in the middle of the hiker as he practiced hiking the ball to the kicker/punter. But I think the most incredible experience was getting to hear what players and coaches were saying to each other in between drives.

For my magazine story, one of the athletic trainers I’m featuring told me that the coaches’ theme or moto for the team is “honor God.” What I witnessed was constant positivity and encouragement from players to each other. And I know they weren’t doing it because someone was watching. (I couldn’t be seen. Trust me. I’m almost six feet tall, and these guys towered over me). They were doing it because they strive to honor God and lift each other up. Win or lose, the bison football team is a team I’m proud to call my alma mater’s. But just in case you were wondering, they did win this weekend in an exciting fourth-quarter comeback and beat Northwestern Oklahoma State University 42-30.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

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Club week is over, and many students probably spent their weekend catching up on sleep and basking in the excitement of becoming an official member of a social club. Throughout the week, we shared photos from previous club weeks on social media, and alumni bonded over shared experiences and memories of forming bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

“Participating in a social club enriched my Harding experience by providing an avenue to build strong, lasting friendships that only grew stronger the further I went along in school,” Chris Quattlebaum (’11) said. “I was able to create friendships with not only those who I pledged with but also with the older members of TNT.”

Quattlebaum said that even to this day, there are moments he thinks back on during club week that remind him how much he enjoyed the experience.

“The thing I value the most about my social club participation is the friendships that I was able to form,” he said. “These are lifelong relationships and don’t just end once you graduate. Ten other guys from my pledge class and I still get together a couple times each year for a little reunion weekend. We update each other on our lives, tell the stories from our time in college that we always tell when we get together, and end up laughing the entire weekend.”

Jennifer Gibson (’10) was a charter member of Zeta Pi Zeta in 2009 and said she really enjoyed the unique perspective that starting a new club gave her.

“The process allowed us to work through problems and see the club process from another angle,” she said. “We got to be creative and come up with something that was ours.”

Her advice to new club members is to jump in and be involved in as many activities as possible.

“Do Spring Sing, play sports, go to functions, or serve as an officer,” she said. “You pledged and did a lot of work to become part of a family. You need to take advantage of that family and do some fun stuff with them.”

For many people, relationships that are made at Harding don’t stop after graduation. They carry on throughout a lifetime, and many of those relationships begin with a week of silly outfits, cheering until you lose your voice, and learning about traditions.

“What people need to know is, that, once you get off Harding’s campus, your club experience isn’t over,” Quattlebaum said. “The lifelong relationships that you form with people in your club during your time at Harding will continue. I hope that everyone will be able to look back on their time in their respective clubs with fond memories and friends who last a lifetime.”

Hannah Owens, director of news services 

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Granberg self portrait

Granberg self portrait

While on a quick stroll to take a proof across campus this glorious fall day, I decided to stop at the Stevens Art and Design Center and view the two shows currently on display in the galleries.

I was so glad I did.

I first stepped in to Joshua Granberg’s (’08) “Artful Journey” exhibit and was blown away by the impressive collection, which includes portraits and still lifes. I knew his parents, Stan (’78) and Gena Catterton (’79) Granberg, during my college days. Joshua earned both his B.A. and B.F.A. in painting from Harding before studying at the Florence Academy of Art. He says his work is a glimpse into his spirit and into the spirit of the One who made us, and I have to concur.

Next I moved into the gallery next door for the memorial show of Dena Leasure Groover, a 1975 graduate who died last year. Consisting mainly of watercolors, perhaps the most unique thing about the show is that the guest book is the same one used in 1975 for her senior show. Seeing familiar names written there and finding my own signature from my freshman year brought back memories from the old gallery in the former Benson home.

The shows will be up until Nov. 6, so if you are in the area, plan a visit to see them. You can also view Joshua’s work at

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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There’s a lot going on this weekend, and looking at the entire schedule can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few event highlights and a potential schedule for you to get the most out of your Homecoming weekend.

  1. Pick up a schedule when you arrive on campus. Homecoming schedules are placed throughout the Heritage building and student center. If you find a digital schedule more convenient for you, you can find that here: LINK.
  1. Attend a session of the Faith and Business Symposium in the College of Business Administration today. The event is going until 3 p.m.
  2. Go to the Black and Gold Banquet tonight at 5:30 p.m. Support your fellow alumni who are receiving awards, and catch up with old friends and teachers.
  3. Attend the Homecoming musical tonight or tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
  4. Right when you wake up Saturday morning, check the schedule for reunions and other events you might be interested in attending so you don’t miss something important.
  5. Stop by the First Ladies Garden at 11 a.m., and check out this new space and a fun technological feature that it includes.
  6. You might have to choose between the two, but attend a Belles and Beaux concert or a Pied Pipers show at 11 a.m. I’m sure it will be fine to come a little late after your stop at the First Ladies Garden.
  7. Tailgate in the GAC. Don’t let the rain spoil your fun before the big game at 2 p.m. Head on over to the GAC, and see who’s tailgating.
  8. Cheer on the Bison Football at 11:45 a.m. as the Walk of Brothers starts in front of the GAC. The game will be at 2 p.m.
  9. Check the schedule after the game for reunions still happening, or attend the musical at 8 p.m.
  10. Don’t forget about the Theatron show in the McInteer Rotunda at 10:30 p.m.


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