Growing up, graduate Cami Ash was sure of two things: attending Harding and finding a career in health care. Several of her family members attended the University, and she said both the shared family experience and the nursing program have made Harding a special place. On Saturday, May 6, Ash earned her bachelor’s in nursing and was one of approximately 900 students to receive her diploma during commencement exercises.
“One of the things I love most about going to Harding is the fact that it is an experience almost everyone in my family has participated in,” Ash said. “I am very thankful to the nursing program as I feel very prepared not only to care for my patients but also to be able to minister to them and show them Christ’s love.”
For Ash, her time at Harding has led to new relationships and personal growth. She said she is looking forward to entering the workforce and using her experiences to serve others.
“My time at Harding has been filled with a lot of laughs, tears, friends and growth,” Ash said. “It has helped me grow as a person in many ways, especially spiritually, by teaching me more about the Bible and what showing God’s love to others truly looks like. I am so thankful for all the lifelong friendships I have made and all the role models I have found to look up to.”
On March 13, 2013, senior Fanny Bonilla learned that she was selected to attend Harding through the Walton Scholarship program. She is a finance and marketing double major from Honduras and said studying abroad at the University has shaped her worldview.
“I think this is one place where you can grow so much in such a short period of time,” Bonilla said. “It’s so easy to live in a third-world country and think that everything is bad, but getting to study abroad really opens your eyes to what’s there and how good people are.”
Bonilla has been involved in several business department extracurricular activities and organizations as well as student-led nonprofits and student publications. She said Harding has provided a feasible way for students to find experiences outside their major.
“I think Harding has really prepared me for adaptability,” Bonilla said. “You meet a lot of different people here, and I think it’s a lot easier to adapt. Harding does a great job of offering opportunities farther than what your major lets you be. They really make sure you can get plugged in everywhere.”
Kaleb McLarty will be graduating with his master’s from the College of Allied Health. He completed his undergraduate studies at Harding and chose to continue at the University because of the faculty members.
“The teachers here have an open door policy, and they invest. I didn’t realize how much they invested until I started looking at other schools,” McLarty said. “These teachers have seen me develop so much in the last four years — not only in my classes, but also in my time management skills, in my ability to tackle projects. I grew so much, and they invested in me.”
For McLarty, Harding has been the ideal fit for his educational journey, and he hopes to maintain his relationship with his professors after graduation.
“Harding has something that no one else has, and it’s because [faculty] care about you as a student and as an individual,” McLarty said. “I chose Harding because I knew it would be best for me, and I knew that’s where I wanted to finish my education career.”
Commencement exercises were Saturday, May 6 at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the George S. Benson Auditorium. The morning ceremony was for candidates from the Carr College of Nursing and the College of Sciences. In the noon ceremony, students in the colleges of Bible and Ministry, Education and Business Administration graduated. And the 3 p.m. ceremony was for students in the colleges of Allied Health, Arts and Humanities, and Pharmacy and also included Honors College graduates.