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25 years.02-18-2016-2908“Oh How the Years Go By” may seem trite, but it is oh so true on my 25-year anniversary this week as publications director at Harding.

For a quarter of a century, I have edited and designed Harding magazine and, before that, its predecessor, the Harding University Bulletin.

The Bulletin takes me fondly back to the days of mechanicals, light tables, rubber cement and tool tape. Although PageMaker software was out and being used some when I left my position as art director at Jostens to come to Harding, it was still a curiosity more than a way of life.

I’ll never forget the planning and excitement of preparing our very first issue, which debuted in January 1993. It was only 24 black and white pages with a four-color cover, but we were thrilled to no longer be a tabloid on newsprint. We produced it using PageMaker, but photos were still film, which were shot and stripped into negatives. My photographer buddy, Jeff Montgomery, was already home in Memphis, Tennessee, for Christmas when we received the first copies, so my wife, son and I met him and his wife for lunch on our way east for the holidays. Christmas came early for the Public Relations office that year!

A year later, we thought we were uptown as we added full color to a few pages. We added a second color to the remainder beginning in fall 1996. Coordinating the spot and full color could prove quite challenging at times, especially when a color page matched up with a spot-color page. About that time, Quark became the publishing software of choice so we made the switch.

Digital photography arrived on the scene next, and my early experiences with low-resolution digital photos left me with doubts as to its quality. In winter 2001, Jeff encouraged me to try a digital cover, and the rest is history as the office became totally digital in 2002. Now the cameras on our phones take much higher resolution photos than high-end cameras were capable of then.

The all-digital environment allowed us to become full color throughout in winter 2003. Spring 2004 saw a total redesign which was updated in 2010 with our switch to InDesign software, and that led to 2015’s redesign, with a new size, look and feel we hope you are enjoying.

One of many highlights for me editing the magazine has to be the handwritten note I received from former First Lady Barbara Bush thanking me for the copy I sent her featuring her April 11, 2002, speaking appearance at the University. I was so surprised as I didn’t recognize the return address (no name was on the envelope) when I opened her Kennebunkport note card, which is framed in my home.

As I thumbed through past editions, I saw so many great photos and stories, all centered around this place we love called Harding. I’m like the little kid in the toy store when the new edition arrives even though I’ve been involved in every step of its production.

As we move forward telling the Harding story, let us know what you think. Email hardingmag@harding.edu.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer