Many people have said that you can find a Harding connection almost anywhere. For President Bruce McLarty, those bonds are common everywhere he goes.

“I love to wear Harding gear because I know that if I see somebody that has Harding gear on, I’ll walk up to them, and people will walk up to me like that,” McLarty said. “It has been in Europe or in South America that I connect with a Harding person. All you have in common is that you went to Harding, and yet there is a level of understanding that you begin with that’s huge.”

The moment that the impact of Harding as a connected family really clicked with him was when he and Ann were living in Cookeville, Tennessee. McLarty was in the library of the church where he preached looking for something when a man walked in who also had graduated from Harding.

“It was like we had grown up in the same family because we shared Harding in common,” he said. “We had a few overlapping friends, but that wasn’t the bond. The bond was that we were from Harding. I was stunned by the depth of the relationship with someone I did not even know at Harding. And yet, it was very much, ‘We are Harding family.’”

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services


“Food is really a form of art,” said Liz Howell, assistant to the president for parent and alumni relations.

From participating in her Supper Club to planning and cooking for parties for others, Howell says that food is definitely something for which she is thankful. For the past 25 years, she has met regularly with a group of friends to cook and bond over their mutual love for food.

“It can be ultimate gourmet or completely casual — the food is always fabulous,” Howell said. “But it’s the relationships and friendships that occur over the food that are special.”

Howell says she loves to cook because it is relaxing. As the oldest of five children, she was often the one cooking dinner for the family. During Thanksgiving, Howell says the dressing is a big part of her family’s celebration, and her granny was the person who always made it. Over the years, the responsibility of cooking the dressing has been passed down to her mother and now to her, including her granny’s exact recipe and the only pan in which the dressing has ever been made.

“The real key to this recipe is the cornbread. We’re all kind of food critics of the dressing,” she said. “For us, it’s the ultimate comfort food, and it takes us back to our childhood.”

To make her granny’s famous dressing, Howell shares the recipe below:


(The secret ingredient)

  • 2 c. of cornmeal
  • 1 c. of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 2 c. or more of buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. of vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour vegetable oil in an iron skillet or 9 x13 baking dish and place in oven as you mix all the dry ingredients. Add buttermilk. If your batter is too thick, add more buttermilk. Pour batter into the hot vegetable oil and bake until golden brown. Allow cornbread to cool.


  • 3 stalks of celery (optional)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 c. butter or oil
  • 1 chicken or 4 bone-in breasts
  • 4 or 5 qt. of water
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 -4 slices of bread
  • Sage, salt and pepper to taste

Chop celery and onion. Sauté in saucepan until soft. Cook one chicken in four or five quarts of water. Cover and cook until tender. Add salt to taste. Remove chicken, debone and chop into bite size pieces. Let broth cool. Crumble cornbread into large pan. Add eggs and work in three to four slices of bread to the mixture. Add sautéed onion and celery to cornbread. Add sage, salt and pepper to taste. Begin adding broth to cornbread and stir. You want the bread all covered and very moist. Add chicken. Keep adding broth until mixture is very soupy. Bake at 425 degrees until golden brown.


  • 1/4 c. of butter
  • 1/2 c. of flour
  • Chicken broth

Melt butter in a skillet. Gradually add flour. Don’t let it brown, then slowly add chicken broth until gravy thickens. Stir with a fork. You may add chicken or boiled eggs to the gravy. Serve over dressing.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services


Emily Sanders of Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduated from Harding in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Throughout her undergraduate career, Sanders said she had a number of memorable experiences in the classroom and learning from University faculty.

Sanders took French for three years under Dr. Robert McCready, associate professor. Though the class was difficult at times, Sanders said McCready went out of his way to help his students understand the material.

“He was very engaging in class and always encouraged students to go beyond what they felt comfortable with in learning French — which you have to do to really master a new language,” she said. “I learned that hard is not always bad! I just always appreciated his teaching style and the fact that he seemed to care very much about his students and their success.”

Another class Sanders remembers is Associate Professor of English Larry Hunt’s history of language class, which Sanders admitted she initially had doubts about.

“I don’t really know how he did it, but Dr. Hunt made that class so entertaining, Sanders said. “He had the best laugh and would crack us up every time in class with funny stories or videos about the history of language. It turned out to be one of the most fascinating classes I took.”

In a Bible class with Dr. Scott Adair, associate professor, Sanders remembers many moments when he made her think about the Bible and her own faith from a new perspective. She said she’ll never forget the day he brought in a steel animal trap with cloth covering the teeth to illustrate faith in God.

“He told us it wouldn’t hurt if someone stuck his or her arm into the trap and it snapped; he had done it before,” she said. “Would we act on faith that what he said was true? There were no volunteers. He certainly made his point though.”

Looking back on her experience in school, Sanders says she is thankful for the teachers in her life and the influence they have had on her future.

“I’m very thankful to have had teachers who were not only gifted in their area of study but were also gifted in communicating to, connecting with, and inspiring their students,” she said. “You don’t always get both, so it’s special.”

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services


May 2014 graduate Holly Bohnett (left) and theatre major Xavier Miller enjoy a cup of coffee in the student center.

May 2014 alumna Holly Bohnett (left) and  Xavier Miller enjoy a cup of coffee in the student center.

Xavier Miller didn’t know many people when he first came to Harding in 2011. He knew a few people from a church camp he attended, but it didn’t take him long when he got here to make friends.

“I am thankful for friends because they help me get through my toughest days,” Miller said. “They shine light and laughter on situations when things get a little too serious. No, my friends aren’t perfect, and I wouldn’t want them to be. We each provide wisdom to each other in a certain way. We learn from each other, most of all, and we love each other through and through.”

Miller says that he tries to live every day by the golden rule, “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” He cherishes the friendships he has, and he highly values the people in his life.

“These relationships are also important because Christ remains the center of our lives,” Miller said. “That’s why we have friends — to hold each other accountable and to keep our sights focused.”

Throughout his time at Harding, Miller has made many meaningful friendships, and he says that every friendship is unique. His advice to others is to consistently cherish friends and fully engage in the gift of those relationships.

“Encouraging words, tough love, and hearing the hard things should be something you strive for with your friends,” he said. “Be there when they cry, and be there when they’re happy. The prevalent presence of friendship should be something that guides you and nourishes you throughout your life.”

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services



“Fall is definitely my favorite season,” said Ashel Parsons, international programs administrator. “There’s something about the cool weather, campfires, hot drinks and especially the colors that make this one of the best times of year.”

For many people, the changing colors of fall are what make this season the best. For Parsons, standing in the midst of fall colors allows her to be closer to God.

“The colors look so unreal at times, and I stand in awe of God’s glory,” she said. “For me, it’s God’s way of giving a spark of hope and joy before the cold almost colorless winter. I thank God for the pop of brightness in the midst of change.”


Parsons has been a photographer in Central Arkansas in a variety of capacities, including working for the University’s student publications, capturing images around the globe for the international programs office, and freelancing for local newspapers and various events in the area. But her favorite place to film is directly under the sky.

“I am a photographer, so I am constantly looking at what’s around me and trying to see it from new perspectives,” Parsons said. “Fall colors make my eyes go crazy, in the best way. The colors are so vibrant and full of beauty. Trees that have been lush and green for so long suddenly turn bright red, orange and yellow.”

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset


“I am always trying to capture what is around me in a way that others will be able to share in the experience, so having the rich colors makes the ordinary look stunning,” Parsons said. “I am so thankful for the unique colors because it makes people stop and take in nature that they might have been passing by for so long. It’s a simple reminder of how uniquely beautiful things are around us.”

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services
Photos by Ashel Parsons


IMG_0007This past week as I updated the operating system on my iPad, it locked up and I had to do a complete restore. The process was mostly painless as I had a fairly recent backup to use to reinstall my apps. The thing that was lost was my background and lock screen art. Yesterday, as I was out shooting images with my photography class, I ran across the perfect fall image for my iPad screens.


I also do my own desktop art for my computer too. These lovely pansies in the planters by the art building were my previous iPad background art.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 2.15.22 PM

So. in an effort to rid the world of generic desktop art, I have decided to share a few of my iPad and computer desktop images.  I have put a small selection of fall images for you to use at the following link.



Jeff Montgomery/photographer


This morning as I was walking through the student center, I stopped at a booth with students selling T-shirts and baked goods. After I purchased a shirt, I hung around and talked to a few members of the Harding Veterans’ Association, a group that began last fall and became an official University organization last semester. The group has about 20 members with one major thing in common — they are all members of a branch in the United States military.

“I had been living in one world, the Marine Corps world, for six years,” said Cpl. Paden Timms, a junior psychology major. “Coming back to Harding, it was like living from one end of the spectrum to the other.”

His mother the residence life coordinator of a girls’ dorm, Timms grew up in Searcy and always lived on or near campus. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after he graduated high school early and spent six years there. Once he returned to Searcy, he spent time doing electrical work before coming to school at Harding. Now, he helps coordinate the Veterans’ Association’s activities, including a postcard drive last spring and a fundraiser for the organization this week.

“What I’ve seen from a lot of these guys is that they didn’t know what to expect,” Timms said. “It’s a little bit of a culture shock coming back into an environment like this. And so the primary goal of this group is to help those guys transition from coming from such a completely crazy world to something like this.”

Zach Martin is a sophomore electrical engineering major, and he’s also a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a member of the Harding Veterans’ Association.

“I’ve been around the world,” Sgt. Martin said. “I’ve been to war, and it’s good to have some other guys that I can talk to. When you first get to school, there’s definitely a lot of questions you have, and with this veterans group, you have some guys that have already been through that. They kind of help you get taken care of. It’s a good thing.”

The organization is sponsored by Dr. Shawn Fisher, assistant professor of history, with involvement from a number other faculty and staff. The association allows student veterans to be a part of a group of like-minded people and also facilitates service opportunities for campus as a whole, such as the postcard drive last spring where cards were sent to servicemen and women and a coat drive they hope to organize soon.

As our conversation was coming to a close, Timms and Martin were sharing stories about funny letters they had received from students in elementary schools. When they began talking about military titles and the logistics of achieving them, I was thankful they had each other and an entire group of people who understand what those words mean, because I didn’t have a clue. Though I thanked them for their service as I was walking away, I don’t feel like my words accurately reflect just how thankful I really am for them and so many others like them. I think Dr. Fisher said it best as he ended chapel this morning.

“Today, in a very somber way, we celebrate our protectors — our guardsmen on the wall. We salute those who have given all they have to make it so that we can have a life in peace.”

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services

Crafts Fair.2014-172-0883

There was frost on the ground this morning, but that is not what has me thinking that Christmas must be just around the corner.

The first sign this week that Christmas is coming soon to Harding is that physical resources has begun hanging the lights on the quadrangle. Look for them to be turned on Dec. 1 with a lighting ceremony at 6 p.m.

The second sign is the Holiday Craft Fair going on in the Student Center from 10-5 today and tomorrow. Debbie Howard has brought in more than 25 vendors for this event, which benefits scholarships at the University. There are some truly beautiful and unique items for sale so, if you are in the area, stop by, start your shopping and benefit a great cause.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Homecoming weekend was packed with activities and events for thousands of students, parents and alumni. The staff of Harding magazine shares some of their favorite moments from the weekend:

“Going out to the annual Knights reunion softball game and watching as current and past members came together and acted like they had all known each other the whole time. Past members telling old stories and new members filling them in on the latest happenings. It was great to see that no matter the year, these guys were trying to put God first, others second and self last.”
-Tim Cox, graphic designer

“This weekend was all about seeing familiar faces and new spaces — I toured the new student publications office during the Reynolds’ open house and was able to see several old and new Comm friends. Working on the Bison staff was one of my favorite college experiences, so it was great to catch up with some of the people I spent hours with hovering over paper layouts, eating tremendous amounts of junk food with, and dealing with the craziness that low sleep levels and high blood sugar can bring out. I think it’s safe to say we were all a little jealous of the new office but still excited for the growth we’ve already seen take place at our alma mater.”
-Bethany Aspey, web content manager

“The best part of Homecoming occurred for me after the game at a family favorite, KJs Restaurant in Judsonia, where we celebrated my freshman daughter’s birthday. Being with my family and my children’s friends from Harding brings me joy as does supporting a local business whose owners have become friends to me. On the way out, the happy owner told me all the patrons at his completely filled restaurant were connected to Harding. I love seeing great town/gown relationships.”
-Tom Buterbaugh, assistant director of public relations

“A surprise telephone call after the football game from a boyhood friend was a highlight of Homecoming 2014 for me. A Harding alumnus, he had not been back to campus in more than 15 years before returning  Nov. 1. We spent hours reminiscing, including his sharing stories of my dad, some of which I had never heard.”
-David Crouch, director of public relations

“As social media manager for the University, my favorite part of Homecoming was seeing the positive and diverse content shared on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from alumni, parents and students. I loved seeing so many people share common experiences, post photos from favorite places on campus, and express positive feelings about the University and everything for which it still stands.”
-Hannah Owens, director of news services

“My favorite memory of Homecoming weekend came from the football game.  I loved seeing the genuine surprise and joy as the name of the Homecoming Queen was announced. The smile on her face and that moment shared with her dad are just special.”


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“I also had a game moment, too. In the third quarter, SEOSU stopped us on the two-yard line, and their player who made the stop jumped up and started smack talking about how we didn’t score. One of our big linemen, and I wish I remembered which one it was, looked at the SEOSU player, smiled and said, ‘We’re goin in….oh yeah, we’re goin in.’ On the next play we did go in for six points. I love our football team, and I love watching them play for each other.”
-Jeff Montgomery, photographer



Every once in a while, I will visit my high school during its annual homecoming football game. A flood of memories always surrounds me as I remember classes, teachers and experiences that I had there. Homecoming at Harding for me is a little different because I graduated and couldn’t stay away. I don’t know what it’s like to leave this place and come back to visit. But Homecoming is still my favorite time of the school year because of how this place connects us all together.

In addition to cheering on the Bison football team in their 2 p.m. game against Southeastern Oklahoma State University on Saturday and enjoying a performance of “Shrek The Musical,” visitors on campus and current students can choose from a wide range of activities to relive favorite college memories and create new ones with friends. Student groups like Pied Pipers, Good News Singers and Belles & Beaux will be performing, and there are a number of reunions scheduled for Saturday. For an updated schedule, visit http://www.harding.edu/homecoming/schedule.

We would love to see your homecoming photos and hear about some of your own memories and experiences, so please share them with us throughout the weekend using #HardingHomecoming. It’s a special time for Harding as we are in the midst of our 90th year, and we hope to see you on campus to join in the celebration.

Hannah Owens, director of news services


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