Harding University to Unveil Fourth Presidential Portrait

Harding University Chancellor David B. Burks will be honored Wednesday, Nov. 13 with the unveiling of his presidential portrait, which recognizes his 26 years as University president. The event will take place at 4 p.m. in Cone Chapel.

A reception and opportunity to visit with the honoree and the artist will follow the unveiling.

In January 2013, University administrators, with consultation of art department faculty members, chose Michael Shane Neal to paint a portrait of Burks. Since beginning a full-time career as an artist at age 21, Neal has completed nearly 500 portraits on display around the country. His past works include Ambassador Charles Rivkin for the American Embassy in Paris; Lucé Vela Gutierrez, former first lady of Puerto Rico; and Senator Arthur Vandenberg for the U.S. Capitol in Washingon, D.C.

Burks’ portrait will hang on the east wall in the lobby of the Burks American Heritage Building.

The creation of a gallery honoring former Harding presidents began in 1974 with a portrait honoring J.N. Armstrong, the University’s first president. The portraits of George S. Benson and Clifton L. Ganus Jr. were created in 1978 and 1982, respectively. The late C.L. Watts Jr., a local artist, was chosen to paint these Harding legacies. The portraits hang outside Cone Chapel along with one honoring James A. Harding, after whom the University is named.

Harding is the largest private university in Arkansas with 6,295 students. The University also maintains campuses inAustralia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia.