From the time he began a paper route as an 11-year-old, Joseph Shepard knew he wanted to pursue a career in business.
"Of all the career choices I could have pursued, such as engineering, health care or science, business made the most sense for the skills I was born with," he says.
As an undergraduate student, he pursued business administration, following that degree with a master of business administration degree from Southern Methodist University. He chose correctly, and for 20 years found success in investment banking and private equity investing, most recently in Dallas.
But last year he received a call from the White House Office of Presidential Personnel asking him to consider leading the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Investment, which includes the Small Business Investment Company program. Formed in 1958, the SBIC has invested approximately $51.9 billion of long-term debt and private equity into more than 104,000 qualifying small businesses.
Says Shepard, "I jumped at the opportunity to manage a program that has helped so many of our best-known corporate icons get their start. … Names like Intel, America Online, Outback Steakhouse, Apple Computer, Ben & Jerry's, Staples, Nike and Federal Express.
"Small businesses are such a large contributor to the nation's economy, generating approximately 50 percent of private, non-farm GDP, employing 50 percent of America's private, non-farm workforce, and creating 60-80 percent of all new jobs in the U.S."
Now located in Washington, D.C., Shepard, who manages a staff of 78, strives diligently to meet multiple objectives. "My goals are aligned with those of the president's strategy to improve the management and performance of the federal government and priorities of the SBA administrator," he says. "I also have a responsibility to fulfill the mission of the SBIC program."
He takes these responsibilities to heart. "Being appointed to public service is a great honor and privilege that is entrusted to only a few by a president and the American people," he says. "Such public service demands to be carried out with the highest standards of ethical behavior, moral responsibility and integrity. We have a responsibility to both the U.S. government and its citizens to place our loyalty to the constitution, laws and ethical principles above any personal or private gain."
Or, in simpler terms, "I strive to do the best job I can every day. I also try to show the people around me, through my actions, that I care about them."
— Jennifer L. Marcussen
Those who do not know how to correct a pronoun-antecedent disagreement or what a dangling modifier looks like need not apply for a job like Jamie Lockwood Sides'. She is the first full-time staff copy editor for American Way, American Airlines' Guardian of the language in-flight magazine, a position she began in June 2006.
The self-professed "guardian of the language" reads every story that appears in the bimonthly magazine at least once, and sometimes as many as three times, as she edits for grammar and consistency. The aforementioned grammar taboos are among her pet peeves.
"I grew up with a mom who was a stickler for proper English," she says. "One of my high school teachers even gave us sheriff badges to be grammar police. And reading is one of my great hobbies. I saw this job as a way to do two things I enjoy on a daily basis: read and polish syntax."
Sides found the job posting on American Airlines' Web site. "I had one of those adrenaline rushes where you think, 'Wow. I would love to do this! And I could do this!'" she explains.
Her error-free cover letter and resume earned her a ticket to round two of the application process, which was an extensive editing test. She then interviewed with the managing editor and editor in chief.
"The first question I was asked was, 'So do you just love grammar or what?' I took that question as a compliment on how I'd done on my editing test," she says. "It was important to [the managing editor] to hire someone who would really enjoy the job, not just do it as a means to live."
Sides served as copy editor for Harding magazine from 2001 to 2004 before making a two-year commitment to a mission team in Prague to teach English as a second language.
She believes her curiosity about the world in general helps with her job. Though she does not physically journey to the locations described in the stories she edits, Sides says, "I learn something new absolutely every day. It's a crazy world out there, and being able to read about it makes the confines of my gray cubicle a bit more bearable."
— April M. Fatula
By Liz Howell, director of alumni relations
More than a year ago, we received a call from Fran Collison Mullen, whose mother, Willie Mae Walker Collison of Bald Knob, Ark., had recently died. Collison, a graduate of Galloway Woman's College — which occupied this campus until the early 1930s — had been a collector of memorabilia throughout her life. Mullen wanted to know if we were interested in her mother's mementos, including the old, iron Galloway gates. We were, of course.
Mullen and her brother, Billy Collison of Bald Knob, wanted their mother's collection shared throughout the community. Some items have been on display at Searcy Arts Council's historical home, the Black House, since last summer. However, items pertaining to Galloway were given to the University for our archives.
Last March, President David B. Burks began developing plans for a house to display University history, and we felt the Galloway gates should anchor the area. Thus a prayer garden is being created surrounding the refurbished gates at the house located at 205 N. Lott Tucker Drive, just north of Pryor-England Science Center.
The Harding History House opened during Homecoming festivities, thanks to help from alumni, faculty and staff. But without members of Associated Women for Harding, led by Louise Nicholas Ganus ('42) and Marie Clay Yingling ('42), paving the way in preserving our history, the task would not have been feasible.
Hannah Dixon ('02) of Washington, D.C., who holds a master's degree in interior design from The George Washington University and previously served as intern at the Smithsonian, came to campus and made recommendations for layout and design of the project. Other committee members, including Danny DeRamus ('81), Ann Cowan Dixon ('68), Phil Dixon ('67), David Kelly, Joe Miller ('78), Eloise Muncy and Kim Barefoot Robertson ('79), spent numerous hours getting the house ready. The Physical Resources Department and Aramark's ServiceMaster went above and beyond to meet our deadline.
The front room of the house welcomes guests and encourages them to travel chronologically from Harding's beginning to the present. Another large room pays honor to the presidents and Christian servants affiliated with the University. Two smaller rooms are dedicated to the history of AWH and social clubs and campus life through the decades.
While working on the project, we were often overwhelmed by stories of the sacrifices made by men and women who developed Harding College. They would be proud to see the fruits of their labor today, evidenced in words shared by Bruce McLarty, dean of the College of Bible and Religion, from L.C. Sear's For Freedom during last fall's convocation: "In the late 1930s, retired President J.N. Armstrong wrote to a West Coast Harding alumni meeting the following: 'Mrs. Armstrong and I will soon be out of the picture, but we are counting on you to carry on this unparalleled effort in Christian service. You will find many problems along the way, but your greatest difficulty will be keeping our schools and colleges Christian. This effort will be forever drawing on all your resources. Mrs. Armstrong and I will be praying here, and even in heaven, that your faith fail not and that your strength hold out.'"
McLarty concluded with this thought, "Many things have changed and much has remained the same — from Bible classes, daily chapel, and our expectations of excellence from our students. The founding men and women of Harding provided a formula for a successful Christian university that we continue to follow today."
Witness this successful formula by visiting the Harding History House the next time you are on campus.
The History House, staffed by volunteers, is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-4 p.m. During special event weekends, hours will be extended. To volunteer or donate items for the house, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To archive club scrapbooks and memorabilia, contact email@example.com.
By Ted Hackney, director of the Center for Charitable Estate Planning
Planning for the transfer of assets at death is easily postponed. If you forget to file your income tax return, you will get a friendly reminder from the IRS. But if you forget to update your estate plan — wills, trusts, IRAs, insurance, etc. — no one may know until it is too late to correct the damage.
Often, loved ones you intend to include in your plan are inadvertently left out simply because your circumstances change or your plans are not updated. Let's take a look at one all-too-common example of accidental disinheritance.
Saving $500 and disinheriting your son: Is that what you intended?
George lost his beloved wife, Mary, after 45 years of marriage. Fortunately, he was blessed with a new spouse, Sharon, with whom he shared his remaining years. He loved his son and prided himself in being a careful planner. So, George took the will drafted years earlier by his attorney, retyped it, and changed the name of the primary beneficiary from his deceased wife to his new wife. He was proud of himself for saving the $500 his attorney would have charged to revise his simple will.
What happened when George died?
Except for a $100,000 gift given to the University by his will, all George's possessions went to his new wife of four years. Because she did not have a will, upon her death, everything she owned — including all of George's remaining assets — went to her three children from her first marriage. And while George had intended for his son to get everything except the Harding gift after Sharon's death, he received nothing.
It never occurred to George that, unlike his first wife, his new wife did not have a will providing for George's son. When confronted with his father's failure to properly revise his will, George's son wryly commented, "So, Dad saved the cost of an attorney and left absolutely nothing to me. I guess I wasn't worth the $500 necessary to do this right."
Moral of the story …
Accidental disinheritance can occur easily but is unnecessary and avoidable. In George's case, the University still received the gift he intended. However, his son was left empty-handed while the children of his wife of only four years ended up with his life's possessions. To prevent this mistake, make sure to keep your estate planning documents up to date and review them regularly with a professional to be certain they state clearly your wishes.
The Harding University Center for Charitable Estate Planning is offering a free DVD titled Avoiding Accidental Disinheritance. For your copy, call Ted Hackney, director of the Center for Charitable Estate Planning, at (501) 279-4861 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for part 2 of this article in the spring edition.
By David Crouch
Former University teacher and administrator Billy Ray Cox served 15 years in various roles, including professor of business, vice president, and director of the American Studies Program. He often was noted for the passion he had for living and working.
He stressed that passion in his classes, even reminding the class of 1970 in his baccalaureate address "to make every day count."
Cox came to Harding in 1964 after beginning his career as a CPA in Dallas and attending Southern Methodist University, where he received his M.B.A. degree. He also attended Harvard Business School. During his tenure in the classroom, Cox was the faculty adviser to student business teams that won three national championships at the International Intercollegiate Marketing Competition at Michigan State University. Cox's teams became the first to win three times and retire the championship trophy.
As director of the American Studies Program, he brought nationally and internationally known speakers to campus. He was a tireless spokesperson for the free enterprise system, and his 1976 bicentennial speech, "Rebirth of a Nation," garnered the highest award presented by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pa.
The senior class dedicated the 1973 Petit Jean to Cox with the following comment, "Your zeal and leadership in organizing the American Studies Program has increased our knowledge and made us realize it is a small world after all. In your dedication you never forgot the little things, and you taught us to love and laugh at our perplexed world. Your chapel talks will be long remembered with fondness."
In 1979 Cox returned to Dallas and private business, becoming chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Dal-Tile International. While at the helm of the company, he provided leadership that led to the sale and public offering of the company in the early '90s and to what he called his "retirement."
As passionate as he had been about his work at Harding in the '60s and '70s, Cox was equally passionate about his areas of interest in retirement. He was actively involved in Christian Care Centers, Saturn Road Church of Christ, Christian mission efforts around the globe, and Dallas Christian School. He also served on the University's American Studies Institute National Advisory Board. He chaired fund-raising campaigns and provided management expertise and leadership for each of the organizations. He was particularly supportive and interested in Nairobi, Kenya, mission efforts.
Cox ('58), 71, died Sept. 24, 2007. He is survived by his wife, Patricia ('60); two sons, David ('80) and Dale ('85); a daughter, Kimberly Grogan; and nine grandchildren. (28 Victoria Drive, Rowlett, TX 75088)
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