Yesterday, Dr. Bruce McLarty completed his second year as president of Harding University. Two years ago on the last day of May in 2013, then-president David Burks ceremoniously handed over the presidential office key to McLarty as he officially stepped into his new leadership role June 1. I sat down with President McLarty to ask a few questions about his own reflections of the past year and his anticipation for the future.
HU: What are some of your favorite moments from your second year as president?
Pres: As you might expect, I scrolled back through my Twitter account of the past year to be reminded of all the things that took place. I was amazed all over again by how many exciting, wonderful and important things can take place in a single calendar year. If I had to narrow all of that down to three events, they would be the gift of the new scoreboard by the 1959 Bison football team, the visit of Archie Manning to campus, and the ASI and chapel presentations by Dr. Kent Brantley. I could talk for hours about how special each of those events were.
HU: What was something you learned in your second year?
Pres: I’ve often used a sports metaphor to describe an important aspect of my second year. Second year NFL quarterbacks often speak of how “the game slows down.” What they mean is that they are able to see things more clearly after that first year. I certainly feel that “the game has slowed down for me.” The pace is the same, but I am now able to notice and pay attention to things that I missed the first year when everything was new. Because of that, I learned in the second year a lot about which things are most important for me to do and which things are not so important.
HU: If you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice as you start thesecond year, what would it be?
Pres: Somewhere along the way this year, I have tried to take the words “I’m afraid that . . .” out of my mouth. There are plenty of things to be concerned about, to plan for, to protect against, etc. However, as a Christian leader, I don’t need to be saying that “I am afraid” of anything. I wish I had told that to myself at the very beginning of the year.
HU: What are you most looking forward to in the third year?
Pres: The thing I love most about this job is the people: students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and all the rest of us. As I approach the third year, there are so many exciting things that are on the horizon: the new FNP Nursing program, the renovation of the GAC and the Rhodes, and the dedication of the First Ladies Garden at Homecoming, just to name a few. However, the most exciting aspect of entering my third year is thinking about all the new people I’ll get to meet this year and about getting to work with many of my closest friends in this incredible “Community of Mission!”
-Hannah Owens, director of news services