Famous for FifteenThis morning on the way to work, “The Final Countdown” started playing on the radio. How appropriate. While our alma mater is typically the anthem associated with Harding, this next week is a different story — next week is “The Final Countdown.”

It’s crunch time for many on campus involved in Spring Sing to get the final details of choreography cleaned up, to finish the final touches on props and costumes, and make sure lighting, sound and graphics are perfected.

On another side of campus is another final countdown: the new Harding website. While the countdown to the website involves more coding than excess glitter, Spring Sing and the website both bring visitors to our campus, so I’d make the claim that they both serve an important purpose.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 11.53.06 AMBut through my time on The Bison newspaper staff, in my internships and now in the Office of Public Relations, I’ve learned that strenuous deadlines are when people amaze you the most. It could be a project that has moved along like molasses until that deadline sneaks up on you, and then magically all the brilliant ideas you’ve been waiting for come out of the woodwork. It’s then when you see that every person involved has enough motivation and determination to run a marathon while playing the guitar and conducting an orchestra.

Please note: If you actually know someone who can do these three things at once, please send their information. I’d like to interview them.

Regardless — it’s go time, and exciting things are happening on Harding’s campus.

Stay tuned for the website redesign launch coming March 31, and join us for Spring Sing “Famous for Fifteen” April 2-4.

Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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An artist's rendering of the trellis in the proposed First Ladies Garden

Rendering of the trellis in the proposed First Ladies Garden

Spring’s growth can be seen across the entire campus as everything seems to be in bloom. The growth is not limited to the foliage though as seen in last week’s announcement of $11 million worth of renovations set to take place within the next year. One of those additions is a first ladies garden that will be between Shores and Stephens Halls. This garden will honor the five first ladies of Harding: Woodson Armstrong, Sallie Benson, Louise Ganus, Leah Burks and Ann McLarty.

All of these women have been important to the legacy of Harding, but I feel a special kinship to Harding’s first first lady, Woodson Armstrong. I learned a few years ago that my home congregation in Nashville, Tennessee, Woodson Chapel, is named for Mrs. Armstrong, who also was the daughter of James A. Harding. J.N. Armstrong preached a gospel meeting for the Christians gathering there in 1890, and when they were able to build a building that was completed the next year, the congregation chose to name it after Armstrong’s wife since the couple was much beloved by the group.

It seems that Woodson Armstrong has been a part of the two places that have had the biggest impact on my spiritual and personal growth, and I’m happy to see her honored along with the other Harding first ladies.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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03202015 Pro Day Luckett

Eight Bison football players including Donatella Luckett (above) and Romo Westbrook (below) went through the drills March 20 for professional football scouts, including representatives from the Saint Louis Rams, the San Fransico 49ers and the Canadian Football League. The Harding athletes were trying to impress the scouts to enhance their status in the pro football draft or their chances for free agent contracts. Luckett had participated in the 2015 NFL Combine and was looking to improve his 40-yard time.

03202015 Pro Day WestbrookDavid Crouch, director of public relations

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03-18-2015-7240 Every coach who has ever recruited has searched for that one special class to come along and change everything. I was lucky because for me that class was my first. A class like The Triumvirate — defined as a group of three people who share a position of power — of 2011 comes along once upon a program. I know this because history tells me so. Sure other great players have come before them, and great players are sure to follow, but only one class gets to be the first — the first to radically transform culture; the first to break the glass ceiling; the first to get the Rowdies to show up at 5:30 p.m.; the first to win a championship, be ranked in the Top 10, and make the NCAA Tournament; the first to come back the next year and do it all again; the first to be ranked in the top 25 for 435 consecutive days; and the first to win three rings, bring home five trophies, cut down three nets, and hang five banners. They are history makers. The Triumvirate came in to make a difference together, and they‘ve done just that. When their final season began, the theme was Legacy. Posters were made. A video was produced. (Watch Legacy video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8swRpk2O-5Q) Expectations were raised. The team, led by these three seniors, delivered. They delivered in the form of a back-to-back GAC regular season title, the program’s first ever GAC Tournament Championship, 23 wins, and a return trip to March Madness. They wanted to leave a legacy to be proud of. With a combined 2,919 points, 2,000 rebounds, 729 assists, 312 steals, 319 starts, and an 89-30 record, their legacy is complete. Tabitha HaneyTabitha Haney was the first of the fabled trio to commit to be a Lady Bison, and she has been a rock for the program throughout her career — a constant presence of grit, determination and burning desire to win. Tab was a ferocious competitor but often flew under the radar due to her willingness to make the extra pass and sacrifice for the good of the team. Yet she still finished fifth all-time in threes, sixth all-time in minutes played, and sixth all-time in starts with 87. Tab was the glue and a crucial ingredient of the championship core. Simply put, Tab is a winner. Montana LewisMontana Lewis was our “Iron Mon,” a relentless warrior who, every game of her career, played multiple offensive positions and guarded the opposition’s best scorer. She started 113 consecutive games (second all-time) and played more minutes than anyone to ever wear a Lady Bison jersey while making double zero an iconic number at Harding. She finished fourth all-time in offensive rebounds, seventh all-time in defensive rebounds, and 12th all-time in scoring. For four years, Mon was the heartbeat of the program. She also was its voice as she was able to relate to any teammate, all the while carrying herself with a grace and class that was respected by all. Arielle SaundersArielle Saunders has been the cornerstone from her first day on campus. Unwavering in her consistency, she earned an immediate starting spot as the center of the offense and the anchor of the defense, going on to start a program-record 119 games. Physically, A was seemingly invincible, never missing a start, never out with injury, and never missing time on the track. (Including running a 6:00 minute mile all 4 years, with a personal best 5:52.) Mentally, she was above reproach. From hitting game-winning free throws to a perfect 4.0 GPA that helped her earn First Team Academic All-American, A was the epitome of mental toughness. Her numbers have been astounding. She holds every Harding blocked shot record, is the all-time leader in double-doubles with 44, all-time leader in both offensive and defensive rebounds, second all-time in minutes played, and eighth all-time in both scoring and assists. Above all, she knew that being a Lady Bison was about more than her impressive stat line. (Link to Arielle’s reflections on her career https://medium.com/@asaunders32/forever-a-bison-d81ba0717de) The TriumvirateTab, Mon and A are the foundation. They stayed the course and steadied the ship in difficult times. They led the way great leaders lead with love, strength and resolve. It was a pleasure to recruit them, a joy to watch them grow through the years, and an absolute honor to coach them. I can assure you that as great as they were on the floor, they’ve always been far better off of it. As individuals, their accolades are impressive, but what has catapulted this group into legendary status is the sum of their parts. Their greatest glory lies in the winning. They put Lady Bison basketball on the national map and took it to unprecedented heights. (GAC Championship highlight link: http://goo.gl/BfVzqH ). The Triumvirate never settled. They never bought into the idea of a glass ceiling and always pushed for new levels of greatness. At the end of their journey, they landed in the stars. This is their legacy.

David Walker, assistant women’s basketball coach

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Smith singing.2015-030-8905“There’s a stirring deep within me; could it be my time has come?”

For senior Nicholas Smith, the time came for him to meet his gracious Savior during an accident March 7 on an icy interstate in Kentucky while headed on a Spring Break mission trip to New York.

Last evening hundreds of students gathered in the McInteer Rotunda to pray, sing, weep and celebrate the life of Nicholas. Even though he described him as quiet and unassuming, roommate Jacob Norwood said Nicholas cared loudly about sharing what he believed and that he blessed people and inspired them to lead others to Christ.

Smith arm in arm.2015-030-8932Arm in arm, students sang “There’s a Stirring” more beautifully than I’ve ever heard it before. It was a moving testimony to a life that was content to obey God here but that now knows everlasting joy.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Brantly.03-18-2015-4365 Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly spoke last evening as part of the American Studies Distinguished Lecture series. Today the campus was fortunate that he and his family spent the evening in Searcy so he could address both sessions of chapel.

He told of his favorite passage in all of Scripture, Mark 6:34, which says, “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

These words were especially meaningful because the man who read them has lived a life of compassion, contracting Ebola while ministering and treating those in Liberia.

Brantly said compassion is to come alongside and participate in another’s suffering. He paraphrased the Good Samaritan story to “love your neighbor as yourself,” telling the audience your neighbor is anyone whose path you cross who has a need. He said we need to feel the same sense of compassion for the people we don’t know that we have for the ones we do.

He concluded his message by saying “God wants us to participate in the extension of grace to a hurting world.”

Brantlycake.03-18-2015-4395Surprisingly though, chapel wasn’t over. His daughter, Ruby, turned 6 today, and she was pleasantly surprised by the students singing “Happy Birthday” and a birthday cake presented to her on the Benson stage.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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03-16-2015-0814The University was forced to close Thursday and Friday before Spring Break because of snow and ice. This morning as I walked in to the office, I was surprised to see a bunch of daffodils blooming behind the big Welcome to Harding sign. It is amazing what a difference a week can make.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

"You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." -Psalm 18:28

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” -Psalm 18:28

I was awakened by a text message at 5:26 a.m. Saturday that every parent – and college president – dreads. It was news that one of our Harding students, Nicholas Smith of Buford, Georgia, had been killed in a car wreck and that another student in that car, Drew Taylor of Whitesboro, New York, had been med-flighted to the University of Louisville Hospital and was in surgery.

The next hour was a blur of text messages from Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee and several Harding staff members in Searcy. By 8 a.m., the Harding plane was loaded with eight passengers heading for Louisville. There we spent the day with the family, assisting with whatever details we could help with but primarily simply sitting with the family in their ­grief.

Nicholas’ mother, Amy, told me of how strongly she had resisted sending her son to “far-away” Searcy, Arkansas. However, when she came to visit the campus with Nicholas, she was immediately convinced that Harding was where Nicholas belonged. It wasn’t the beautiful campus or the friendly people who convinced her; it was the radiance of Nicholas’ face. She could see that he belonged at Harding.

All through the day Saturday, there was a steady stream of people who came to the hospital with offers to help in any way that was needed. At least four different church congregations were represented and two nearby Harding-trained ministers, Conrad Moorer and Larry Sawyer, spent the day helping the family walk through the long hours. Numerous times during that difficult day, I heard people say, “The body of Christ is here today.”

Nicholas, Drew and the entire group of Harding students who were heading to New York for a Spring Break mission are an inspiration to us all. They left Searcy full of purpose, love, joy and hope. Nothing that happened on that Kentucky highway can take those things away from them. Their hope in Christ is even more real to all of us today than it was three days ago.

Bruce McLarty, president

 

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Say Thanks Day is an event that gives students the opportunity to acknowledge and say thank you to donors who have given to Harding. Say Thanks Day began in 2012 and has grown with each passing year. The event was created to bring awareness to students of how much donors contribute to their Harding experience.

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This year on Say Thanks Day, we encouraged the student body to say thanks via social media. The theme was “Tag Your Thanks.” Many students took to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so that all donors could see the impact their donations have had on the students’ lives.

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There were a number of activities for students to be involved in on Say Thanks Day, including writing thank you notes to donors, calling donors to thank them personally, and tagging their thanks through social media. Through a generous donor, students had three opportunities to win a $300 scholarship this year by participating in each of these opportunities. By going to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and looking up #SayThanks, you can see the posts students and alumni made thanking donors for their investments in the students’ lives. By the end of the day, there were more than 2,000 thank you cards written, and many students made calls to donors. Scholarship winners will be announced next week.

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Senior Tin Nguyen was one of many students who expressed why he is thankful for his Harding experience. Donor support has given him the chance to grow as a person and experience everything that Harding has to offer. You can watch his video here.

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There is a lot of planning that goes into making Say Thanks Day successful, and it could not have been done without the help of the University’s advancement office. With the help of approximately 130 student volunteers and cooperation from President McLarty and several departments on campus, we had a successful Say Thanks Day full of gratitude and appreciation for our donors. I would like to personally thank all who generously give to Harding and who have an impact on each and every student. I was changed by my Harding experience and am extremely grateful for the chance to work with donors who make it possible for others.

Sarah Bobo, Young Alumni Associate

 

 

 

03-05-2015-3245 copyI love snow days and snow day photos.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

 

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