SEARCY, Ark. — Dr. Bruce D. McLarty was inaugurated as the fifth president of Harding University Friday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. in Benson Auditorium on campus. The University’s last inauguration was that of Dr. David B. Burks in September 1987.
Delegates from more than 100 colleges and universities across the nation represented their respective schools marching in the ceremony’s processional. More than 20 learned and professional societies were also represented.
Ceremony speakers included Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, Searcy Mayor David Morris, Editor of “Arkansas Business” Gwen Moritz, President of Ohio Valley University Harold Shank, and Chancellor of University of Arkansas at Little Rock Joel Anderson.
Speaking on behalf of University alumni was Howard Wright, University distinguished alumnus. Dr. Michael Claxton, associate professor of English, spoke to represent University faculty and staff, and Searcy resident Tyler Gentry, president of the University Student Association, spoke on behalf of the student body.
McLarty made his inaugural address themed, “A Community of Mission.” His message centered on the University’s transition and its mission staying true to its core as a University founded on Christian principles.
“While the future is beyond our sight, we can speak with a calm and settled confidence about our identity and our solid commitments as we move forward,” McLarty said. “So, in this place and on this occasion, we reaffirm HardingUniversity as ‘A Community of Mission.’ This is what we have been, what we are today, and what we resolve to become.”
Harding is the largest private university in Arkansas with 6,295 students. Harding also maintains campuses in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information visitwww.harding.edu.
(Above) Chancellor David B. Burks (Left), Harding president from 1987-2013, and Chancellor Emeritus Clifton L. Ganus Jr. (Right), Harding president from 1965-87, decorate President Bruce D. McLarty with the presidential medallion Sept. 20. Engraved with the name and years of service of Harding’s former presidents, the medallion signifies the legacy of the University’s previous leadership and is worn by the president at University commencement, convocation and other official ceremonies. Photo by Jason Burt, freelance photographer.