Never forget

Firefighters raising US Flag

Thirteen years ago I was sitting on the fourth floor of the New Headquarters building of the Central Intelligence Agency in McLean, Virginia. I was the graphic designer for the National Counterintelligence Executive, and I had been at work for about an hour. The day was clear and bright and felt like any other day. Around 9 a.m., a friend stopped by my cubicle and told me to go online to watch coverage of a plane striking the World Trade Center in New York City. I switched it on and immediately saw very tiny video of a plane flying into one of the gigantic skyscrapers. At first, because of the size of those buildings, I thought it was just a small plane that had probably lost control, but then upon seeing more of the coverage and the scale of the towers, I realized the plane that struck it was a passenger jet.

We all gathered around a TV in the front office with the director as smoke was billowing out of the tower. A few minutes later we watched as a second plane speared into the second tower dissolving into fire and smoke. We were speechless. I was surrounded by highly trained and experienced FBI, CIA and military intelligence agents who had seen what they had thought was the worst that humanity could accomplish, and they were speechless.

The executive officers in my office started scrambling making phone calls and making necessary contacts. The majority of us could not leave the TV so that we could see the coverage and try to understand how something like this could happen. We continued watching as coverage in New York suddenly switched to some pixelated coverage of a plane striking the side of the Pentagon. America was under attack. Others ran to their phones to call friends and family who were at work in that very building. Phone lines were down or so flooded that it was hard to get a phone call out. A few minutes later the loudspeaker system crackled with life: “EVACUATE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY!”

My director, an FBI agent with decades of experience, came running out of this office and told us, “Get the [expletive] out! Another plane has gone missing, and it could be headed this direction.”

Everyone dropped everything and did our information evacuation protocols and then hurried to our vehicles. I carpooled with a friend every day, and I couldn’t contact him because even the internal phones were tied up. Cellphones were not allowed in the building, so I couldn’t contact him like that either. I just had to go and hope he would meet me at my car. I rolled out the front doors with the crowds but was amazed that as I left there were men and women heading into the building to do their mission at finding information and updating the President with what was happening. Their safety was secondary to the mission. I got to the garage, and my friend was waiting for me. We jumped in and then had to slowly make our way out of the now congested garage exits. We both were looking out at the sky as much as possible and trying to get the radio to pick up any information. We finally got out into the open air and could hear that another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania. Were there more planes missing? And would they now attack the congested beltway system that surrounds our nation’s capital?

Our drive home was usually filled with conversation, but that day we said nothing as both of us watched the skies and listened to the news station for more information. Our cellphones were useless as the cell towers were overloaded. My wife, Erin, worked for an organization in Alexandria, Virginia, right across the river from the Pentagon, and I couldn’t get hold of her even when I got home. The phone lines would be busy for many hours that day. Erin gratefully got home fairly soon after me, and we sat in silence around the TV for the rest of the day.

When I returned to work, I was amazed again at how politics were forgotten for those first few weeks. The mission was all that was at the forefront of everyone’s workday. Our country was unified like nothing I had seen since the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle — and really not since what I had heard about America during World War II after Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately politics and the media always come back to play, but I hope this day is never forgotten for those people lost that day. I hope that their families are never forgotten when they suddenly had loved ones ripped from them. I hope true heroes are never forgotten that sacrificed their lives in Pennsylvania to spare other Americans. I hope this day is never forgotten for the unity that this great nation can have in good and bad times. Never forget 9/11.

Tim Cox, graphic designer

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Self-portrait

Self-portrait

During the school year, I have the opportunity to teach photography for the communication department. The major assignment I give to the students is based on the work of a photographer named Vivian Maier. Maier was a nanny in Chicago, and she spent much of her free time photographing the things she encountered in everyday life. Maier never shared her work and was undiscovered as a great photographer until after her death in 2009. My students have to turn in 600 photos during the course of the semester, and they learn that interesting things are happening on campus like they were in Chicago in the 1950s if they only pay attention to what’s going on around them. I do this homework assignment along with the students, and I set a goal for myself of 1200 photos during the semester. As the University photographer, I am constantly out capturing the life of the campus so it really is not hard for me to do the project. I started with a self-portrait because Vivian Maier took a bunch of self-portraits. I hope you enjoy this small sample of the 151 photos I have taken so far this semester.

 

The first chapel of the semester

The first chapel of the semester

Andrew and Jenna Montgomery ( nephew and daughter)

Andrew and Jenna Montgomery (nephew and daughter)

Jeff Cavitt

Jeff Cavitt

Nursing transition ceremony

Nursing transition ceremony

Rainy morning

Rainy morning

COBA faculty group

COBA faculty group

Class change

Class change

Dr. McLarty's ice bucket challenge

Dr. McLarty’s ice bucket challenge

Visiting

Visiting

Posing

Posing

Golf action shots

Golf action

COBA open house

COBA open house

Art department watermelon social

Art department watermelon social

Skateboarding

Skateboarding

Academy football

Academy football

Walking to chapel

Walking to chapel

Missions computer lab

Missions computer lab

Dr Thompson's preaching class

Dr Thompson’s preaching class

Chapel exodus

Chapel exodus

Front lawn

Front lawn

Jeff Montgomery/photographer

CampusI recently attended a meeting with iFactory (the creative team we’re working with to build the new website) and was able to see some first snapshots of the art direction for the site.

This is an exciting part of the redesign because we all want to see what the final product will actually look like. The team presented 10 examples that we were able to review to determine pieces that best fit the “look and feel” of Harding and really capture the mood, tone, etc. that we want to convey.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can see how that’s important,” or you may be thinking, “So? It’s just a website. Pick a font, and a color, and let’s get this thing rolling.” In some ways, I was more in tune with the latter mostly because I’m excited for the end result and sometimes get impatient. But after all the meetings I’ve had with iFactory, IS&T, and departments around campus, I’m realizing the importance of getting the “look and feel” of Harding and other details on the website just right.

Some have said that it only takes a student stepping foot on campus for the first time for them to fall in love with Harding. This statement sounds pretty bold, but I know from personal experience it can be true. I was a first-generation Harding student, meaning I didn’t have a long legacy of family who came to Harding before me; I was the first to attend.

I, like so many others, originally had no interest in Harding — it was far from home and I knew nothing about the school and especially Searcy. But fortunately, a friend was planning to visit campus for Summer Experience (now called Summer Stampede), and I was able to hitch a ride and come see what this place is really all about.

When you visit campus, you really get to experience a snapshot of Harding; you get to experience the “look and feel” of what your life would be like here. While a campus visit for a prospective student is ideal, it’s not always possible. Instead, students occasionally must rely on their interactions with their admissions counselors, what their friends have said about Harding, and, as it is 2014, the University’s website.

So even though I still catch myself getting impatient in the design process and the time it takes to get everything as close to perfection as possible, it helps me to evaluate the “look and feel” of Harding and remember why it matters.

Harding can be a life-changing experience, and it has been for many who have come and gone. When I think about all the work put forth for “just a website” and all the time and effort it takes to get all the details just right, I remember the part that it plays in bringing students to our incredible campus.

So keep an eye on the horizon for the future harding.edu, and please be patient as we work to capture Harding in every detail as best we can. It has been a process and a learning experience for everyone involved in this project, but one of the most important things I’ve come to understand is that it’s not about me, and it’s not about you  — it’s about them. It’s about our students and what we can do as a University to teach, encourage and inspire them, so that they in turn will do that for others. That’s the “look and feel” of Harding — it’s our community of mission. Fortunately I’m not one of the designers, because I have no idea how any of this would translate into a font or a color. I just know I’m excited to be working alongside those who do, and ultimately to be a part of a team working on a new way to tell our story and show our future students why it’s great to be at Harding.

 Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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The third week of the fall semester has officially begun, and it’s a great feeling because this time of year is my favorite. New students are getting to know campus, returning students are reconnecting with friends and meeting new ones, and everyone is trying to find their place here.

The University announced another record undergraduate enrollment this year, which is 4,492, a 1.4 percent increase from last year. This year, students come from 49 states and 44 foreign nations. Harding continues to be an environment in which many students desire to learn and grow. It gives me great joy to know that past, present and future Harding students will forever be connected by unforgettable experiences this university has to offer.

Instagram just came out with a new app called Hyperlapse. I took this video using the app, and I realized how much it represents my time here. My life as a student went by so quickly, but the memories I made are precious, and I will treasure for life the people I was blessed to meet at Harding. Students, take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Your time here will go by in a flash.

Hannah Owens, director of news services

HBS

This was the crowd for our first night back to home Bible study for the 2014-15 school year.

For almost seven years, my husband and I have helped lead a home Bible study for Harding students. This Bible study has been a central part of our time together. When we were students, we actually met and began our relationship at this same Bible study. Throughout our years, the students have changed, rotating in and out as seniors graduate and freshman enter, but our attachment to our home Bible study has stayed the same.

As a student, Bible study was a welcomed respite in the middle of the week, gathering in an actual home rather than a dorm room or classroom to sing, discuss, encourage and (of course) eat. It was wonderful to connect with other students who I might not meet within my major or class year and to develop bonds with the Bible study leaders who became mentors and friends, celebrating in the good times and comforting in the difficult ones.

As a leader, Bible study is still that welcomed break. Now I’m energized by the passion the students bring and am encouraged by their Christ-seeking hearts. I love to watch them talk and play with my son and how important they make him feel. They are role models, and even though he’s only 2, I see my son wanting to mimic them. I can’t imagine a better group for him to look up to.

I asked some other Bible study leaders about their group and what they take from their meetings each Wednesday night. Here’s what they had to say:

“I loved our home Bible study in college because of the relationship we formed with our small group leaders and the great discussion. I hope that this new study will do the same. We had more than 30 show up to our first meeting, and approximately 80 percent of them are freshmen. I am hoping that this will become a ‘home base’ for them while they are in college and that we can form some deep relationships with them.”

— Anessa Westbrook, assistant professor of Bible

“The students are amazing! They bring such vitality to our home. They are refreshingly honest, open and eager to find God’s will for their life! Our family is blessed far beyond our contribution to them.”

— Mike Williams, vice president for advancement

“In my intergenerational women’s Bible study, I personally love the time with all of the ladies, especially the college girls, because I don’t have a lot of connection with college students anymore. I taught in the communication department for several years and was adviser for the Bison and Petit Jean, which gave me lots of connection with students, but my current position keeps me pretty much out of the college loop. The college students bring so much zeal, energy and commitment to our time together, and they deeply appreciate and love the older women in our group.”

— Kay Gowen, director of Abundant Living

“One of the main things is that I am able to form closer personal relationships with the students than would be otherwise possible through the classroom alone. These relationships in many cases last for several years while the student is here at Harding and often last far beyond the time that they are here at Harding. Getting to know the students is a great benefit — to see in them the love for God and the desire to serve and to see how they nurture one another during good times and bad. It is a great inspiration and encouragement to both my wife and me.”

— Lambert Murray, professor of physics

For any student who hasn’t gotten involved with a home Bible study, I strongly encourage you to do so. The Office of Alumni and Parent Relations has a full list for you to choose from, or you can ask around and see where your friends go. However you choose one, you’re sure to find just what you need wherever you go.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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2000-108 Robinson Art Show-16

Don Robinson, 81, chair of the art and design department from 1978-98, died Aug. 20 in Searcy. His visitation will be Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. at West Side Church of Christ with his funeral to follow at 11.

I was his student in the late 1970s shortly before he became chair, and he was a teacher I greatly respected. Not only did he have tremendous abilities, he lived his Christianity. Perhaps one of the things I most respected him for was his constant striving to make his department better, asking visiting alumni for any ideas that would have strengthened their degrees.

In the winter 2001 edition of Harding, we featured his work on the cover and in the magazine pages after an exhibit, which filled both galleries with art that we described as “not only beautiful but also uplifting.”

He wrote an introduction for that piece which tells more about the man he was than my feeble attempts could.

“Art has been a major part of my life from my childhood. In elementary school, I entertained both myself and my peers by illustrating storybook characters in chalk on the blackboard. The encouragement of fellow classmates, teachers and family removed any doubt that may have been in my mind about whether I should be an artist. I considered going into advertising art but chose teaching art as a profession because it encouraged the concepts of discovery, integration of knowledge, application and sharing. Teaching art as a profession has allowed me to pursue my love of art while engaged in teaching and encouraging thousands of young people in the development of their talents.

“While I believe that art is self expression, I have found it to be much more than that. It is also sharing, informing, persuading, encouraging and uplifting. I have enjoyed exploring a variety of subject matter, forms and medium. Teaching in a relatively small art department has encouraged breadth. Yet, throughout this exploration, it has remained my conviction that art is at its best when it is done with unity of form and a positive goal in mind. I have tried to hold to a Christian ethic that seeks to lift the spirits of my fellow humans and honors the God who created us. I hope my work will leave the viewer with a greater sense of wholeness, peace and appreciation for the Creator and for the world he has made for us to enjoy.”

He served as an elder at West Side for many years. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Shirley; two sons, Danny and Mark; a daughter, Kathy Crossman; and eight grandchildren.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Kevin Kehl freshman

Kevin Kehl, freshman year (Petit Jean yearbook)

I don’t know if fall 1979 set any heat records in Searcy, but I do recall that one of the first things I did was purchase a fan to put in the window of my room on the third floor of Armstrong Hall. It was warm to be sure, but the slight breeze created by the fan meant I could concentrate on the intramural softball games being played across the street. I’ll confess that during that first week I probably looked forward to getting out on the intramural field more than attending my classes. When orientation had ended and classes began, I remember teachers holding me to a higher standard than I was used to which was both frightening and refreshing at the same time.

My memory of that first week of school might best be described as snapshots that come into clear focus again and again during this time of the year. Here are a few of those snapshots:

• Guys hanging around the landline phone located in the middle of the hall anticipating a call from home or, better yet, from the girls’ dorm
• A roommate sharing homemade brownies he had received from home
• A letter from dad with a small amount of gas money inside
• Singing at night around the lily pond for hours.
• Daily chapel meeting in the Administration Auditorium.
• A mixed feeling of loneliness, anxiety and excitement as I longed for the familiar, dreaded the unknown and anticipated the possibilities.
• And finally, a keen sense of being in a special place with special people by which God was going to shape me

Kevin Kehl, director of first year experience and academic resources

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Liz Howell freshman

Liz Howell, freshman year (Petit Jean yearbook)

Remembering my first day at Harding is easy because I relive it each time I walk across campus. A calm, sweet spirit fills my soul as I walk under the canopies of oak trees and remember how quickly 40 years have passed. I lived in Kendall, and my best and oldest friend from home, Rhonda Brown Wilson, lived in Cathcart. We decided not to room together because we didn’t want to take a chance on hurting our friendship. We had a well-worn trail between our dorms and were inseparable during our first semester. As a girl from a small town in Southwest Arkansas, Searcy was a big city with many food choices that included pizza and cheese dip. I loved going to church camp, and I felt like going to Harding was better than church camp and a glimpse of heaven. I lived on the third floor and ran those stairs numerous times a day, and there was no air conditioning. I think I took two or three showers a day because it was so hot! We only had one phone on each wing, and miraculously that worked. That had to be some kind of divine intervention. Marcy Helton Allison, from Bossier City, Louisiana, lived across the hall from me. We became friends on my first day in the dorm. Rhonda and Marcy are the type of friends who I don’t see often, but they are life-long friends because of our Harding experience.

Liz Howell, assistant to the president for alumni and parent relations

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Zach Neal freshman

Zach Neal, freshman year (Petit Jean yearbook)

It was fall 1997. I was accomplishing a goal from a list I made in sixth grade: “Graduate high school and major in Bible at Harding University.” I remember having butterflies in my stomach as I walked out of Armstrong 213 thinking, “Yes, it is finally here.” My grandmother was a dorm mom in Kendall in the 80s, so I was on campus a lot as a kid. Add basketball camp and Uplift to the mix, and I spent many summers walking these sidewalks. My brother was an upperclassman while my sister and parents were already alumni, so I was definitely ready to add to the Harding tradition. If I remember correctly, more than 20 students of my high school graduating class were freshman at HU, so I knew it was going to be a lot of fun.

My brother gave me some practical advice: “1) Save your new clothes for the second week or you might as well write ‘freshman’ across your chest. 2) Order burgers without pickles at the Student Center Burger King so you won’t have to get one from under the heating lamps. And 3) Buy a large umbrella because you never know when you may need to walk a girl across campus.”

I remember thinking I was one of the few students who ate breakfast before 8 a.m. in the cafeteria. I remember thinking what an honor it was to be sitting in Dr. Neale Pryor’s New Testament Survey. I was amazed when he listed the names of my parents and siblings including where they sat in class. I remember thinking Dr. Ken Neller made Greek look a lot easier than it is. I remember going to bed that night looking forward to the next day.

As I think back to that first day I am reminded again what an honor it is to experience a “first day” every year with all of our new students.

Zach Neal, assistant vice president of student life

 

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Beckie Weaver freshman

Beckie Weaver, freshman year (Petit Jean yearbook)

I arrived on campus in September 1969. I may have been the most excited freshman on campus that year. Being a student at Harding College had been my goal for the last three years, and I came ready to join every club, participate in every mixer or devotional, and meet every other student on campus (and attend class). The idea that the majority of students at this college shared the same faith as me was the most exciting and joyful notion that I could imagine. I came to Harding College expecting to feel like I had felt at church camp, Camp Sunset, all year long. Harding did not disappoint me. It was heaven on earth.

Those first few days, I met friends who I still treasure. From the laughing short, blonde girl from Mississippi to the tall, quiet boy from Little Rock, to the group of sophomore Sub-T members who gave all the freshmen girls a fake name, they are all still part of my world. Harding College gave me what I was looking for; it gave me a string of human pearls of friendship. I will wear that necklace close to my heart forever.

I did attend class and acquire a degree, but the relationships that were established here have been educating me for eternity.

Dr. Beckie Weaver, dean of the College of Allied Health

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