Approximately 850 graduates received diplomas at Harding University commencement exercises Saturday, May 9. Ceremonies were held at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the University’s George S. Benson Auditorium, which seats approximately 3,600.
The morning ceremony was for students in the Carr College of Nursing and the College of Sciences. In the noon ceremony, students graduated with degrees from the Colleges of Bible and Ministry, Education and Business Administration. In the 3 p.m. ceremony, students graduated from the Colleges of Allied Health, Arts and Humanities and Pharmacy and the Honors College.
Commencement speakers included Dr. Elizabeth Wilson for the 9 a.m. ceremony, Dr. Tony Finley for the 12 p.m. ceremony, and Dr. John Henderson for the 3 p.m. ceremony.
Wilson has served as chair for the department of family and consumer sciences for almost 30 years. During that time, she has served on many university committees as well as successfully leading her department in accreditation matters. Wilson is stepping back from her role as chair to return to the classroom full time as a professor.
“As you leave Harding, we encourage you to seek the real deal, better known in scientific literature as authentic happiness,” Wilson said. “Love God. It is the step that will lead to highest level of happiness. As you seek to love God, surround yourself with people who will help you grow in that love for God. Your happiness in the workplace will not be found in your job description.”
“Time passes so fast. Life goes by quickly, yet we are all at different points on this journey,” Finley said. “Today we are together in this place for a special day. Everyone is here in a different role, but we are here together. Today I want to encourage each of you to live life to its fullest using what God has given you.”
Henderson is an assistant professor for the University’s physician assistant program. A retired cardiologist, he maintained private practices in Searcy for more than 20 years and worked for Central Arkansas Cardiology Clinic and Searcy Medical Center.
“You will be paid for your service to others, some much better than others. But your ministry must be more than paid service,” Henderson said. “Be accountable. Use the skills that God has given you, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Be a good listener, be sincere in all you do, even when you’re not being watched, and look for opportunities to serve. Make sure your ministry is something you enjoy doing.”
Each ceremony included a scripture reading and prayer; a musical performance by a graduate; a blessing by faculty to graduates with the singing of “The Lord Bless You and Keep You;” and remarks from President Bruce McLarty, Provost Larry Long, and Board of Trustees Chairman Roy Reaves.
“This senior class has been an outstanding class,” Reaves said. “You’ve performed in an exemplary manner both in and out of the classroom. We appreciate your decision to come to Harding. May God be with each of you as you continue your walk with him.”
Top photo courtesy of Becca Riley.