Honors College

Welcome from Dr. Mike James, Dean of the Honors College

Have you been blessed with outstanding academic abilities? Do you want more than the standard course offerings? Do you want your transcript to show enrollment in higher learning options? Do you want to be honored at graduation for your academic work?

If so, we think you should join us!

The Honors College provides opportunities for scholars to delve deeper into learning and service, to unite and form lasting relationships with their peers, and to discover a new home for relaxation. 

The Sears Honors House mixes students from all disciplines to share meals, tutor local students and to find a quiet space for study before mid-terms and finals. Honors students meet to go kayaking or bike riding and participate in a variety of community service projects. The Sears House is a central hub for Honors students.

Please peruse our website. It contains resources to help you become a part of the Honors College and connect with other Honors students. It includes a listing of our Honors courses which always prove to be a challenging, stimulating and rewarding part of your undergraduate experience.

We offer many leadership opportunities across campus and in our local community. Join us for lunch each Tuesday on Chili Day or on frequent Saturday mornings for "Buck for Breakfast" pancakes. 

If you have questions about our program, please e-mail us, or, better yet, come by the Sears Honors Center here on campus. We'll be happy to assist you.

Michael L. James, Ph.D.

Dean, Honors College



The Honors College seeks to attract, inspire, and retain talented students. Honors College participants will set an example of leadership, academic excellence, and social and spiritual involvement while stimulating the learning climate at the university.

Honors College Motto

"Humility before Honor"

Our motto is taken from Proverbs 15:33

Honors College Council Officers

Fall 2016

President: Caycee miller

Vice President: Adrian Gallegos

Secretary: Kristi Ramsey

Historian: pending

Service Directors: Lydia Nichols and Kara Herrmann

Buck for Breakfast & Party Coordinator: Brandon Emlaw

Public Relations: Darrian Bagley


All Honors Students are invited to participate in the Honors Council and to plan and develop activities for the Honors College.

Honors Grad Requirements

List of Our Graduates

Honors College Graduation Recognition

Students enrolled in the Honors College at the time of graduation will graduate with a degree in their selected major area of study.  There are three recognition levels from the Honors College.

Honors College Participants earn 10 or more hours of honors credit during their college career while maintaining a 3.25 overall grade point average. Courses may be selected from honors (H) sections and/or HNRS courses, or students may collaborate with a University professor to create an honors contract in a regular class.

Honors College participants will be recognized with a special notation in the commencement program.

Honors College Graduates earn a minimum of 20 hours of honors credits while maintaining a 3.25 overall grade point average. Students must include at least three honors (H) sections and/or HNRS courses, and four honors contracts.

Students unconditionally admitted to the Carr College of Nursing who maintain a 3.25 overall grade point average may graduate from the Honors College by earning a minimum of 20 hours of honors credit completing at least four honors contracts and any courses designated as (H) sections or HNRS courses. See College of Nursing for more information.

Honors College Graduates will be included in a separate listing in the commencement program. The official university transcript will indicate they have achieved this honor.

Honors College Graduates with Distinction earn a minimum of 26 honors credits while maintaining a 3.5 grade point average throughout their college work. Students will complete a minimum of four honors (H) sections and/or four HNRS courses, and a minimum of four honors contracts.  An approved Honors senior capstone project must be included in the plan.

Honors College Graduates with Distinction will be noted in a separate listing in the commencement program with the Honors capstone project title. The official university transcript will indicate they have achieved this honor. Students will be awarded an engraved bronze medallion at the Honors College Medallion Ceremony.


*Honors courses completed prior to the first semester of full-time enrollment do not apply toward Honors graduation recognition requirements.  (HNRS 100 and HNRS 102)

Upcoming Events

The Honors Council has planned lots of activities for you. There are plenty of ways to be involved with fun, service, food, and helpful information sessions. Watch for detailed information flyers in your HU Box, HU email and Honors College Social Media. 

Weekly Events:

Chili Day

Every Tuesday from 11am - 2pm $2.00 buys all the chili you can eat and a drink!

Tutoring project

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30pm - 5pm, For area 7th-12th graders - Contact us if you are interested in being a tutor.

9:29 Devo

Every Tuesday at 9:29pm - 10:30pm

Honors Council Meeting

Every Wednesday at 5pm (everyone is welcome!)

English Corner

Every Thursday at 7pm, meet in the Students' Center near HUB.


Monthly Events:

Buck for Breakfast (B4B)

Once per month 10am-12pm - Honors House

September 3
October 15
November 12

Other Events:

Mid term study nights

Sunday, October 9th (7pm - 11pm) 
Monday, October 10th (7pm - 11pm)
Tuesday, October 11th (Following Devo - 11pm)

Final Exam study nights

Sunday, December 11th (7pm - 11pm)
Monday, December 12th (7pm - 11pm)
Tuesday, December 13th (7pm - 11pm)

Details about other projects such as Game Night, Relay for Life, and the Bazaar can be found on Facebook @TheHonorsHouse



  • Incoming Freshman:  Incoming freshmen are eligible by earning an ACT score of 27 or higher, or an SAT of *1280 (ERW+M) or higher. Incoming students submit online form below.  (*1220 may be accepted for testing done prior to March 2016)

  • Currently Enrolled Students: Current and transfer students must earn a 3.25 university grade point average to enroll. Current students submit online form below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment Form - Incoming Freshmen

Enrollment Form - Current Student

Agreement, Contract and Capstone

Honors Agreement

Eligible Honors Students enrolled in the “majors” sections of BNEW 111, BNEW 113, BOLD 203, and BOLD 207 will be granted honors credit upon successful completion of the course.  Students must be enrolled in the Honors College during the semester in which they are enrolled in the “majors” section and must earn an A or B in the course.

Honors Contracts

Students wanting to propose spring honors contracts must submit a proposal online no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, January 27th.

Students who have completed three lower level Honors courses may opt to earn honors credit in regular upper-level courses (250 or above) by means of contract arrangement with the course instructor.

An Honors contract is a mechanism for adding an “honors dimension” to a non-honors course.  The contract project will add to the academic depth of the course by introducing new material or by allowing the student to more deeply explore the subject matter beyond the standard syllabus.

Honors Contracts are required of all Honors College Graduates and Honors College Graduates with Distinction.

Review Honors Contract Information for Students and Teachers pdf for further information.


Honors Capstone

Note: Spring 2017 Honors Capstone Projects must be submitted by Friday, January 27, 2017.

Honors College Graduates with Distinction are required to complete an Honors Senior Capstone Project.  The selected project will demonstrate mastery of a discipline and achievement of the objectives of the Honors College.

Student Eligibility

Prospective Honors capstone students must meet the following qualifications:

  • Member of the Honors College in good standing
  • Senior classification in final year of studies
  • Minimum cumulative gpa of 3.5
  • Must be reasonably able to meet the criteria for Graduation with Distinction.

The student must schedule an appointment and meet with the Honors College Administrator prior to submitting the capstone proposal form.

Review these documents with your capstone professor prior to submitting your proposal.

Honors College Senior Capstone Project Information pdf

Submit Honors Capstone Proposal

Two Unique Programs

Interdisciplinary Studies

Students, who are members of the Honors College, are able to design their own program of study through the Interdisciplinary Studies major. Possibilities include unique majors such as Public Health, African Studies, Global Communication or Classics.  The Honors College staff will assist students in designing their own major. The Honors College supervises the program under the office of the Provost.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Major was created specifically for Honors students who wish to pursue rigorous academic and creative discovery unavailable through traditional majors.Through this program students should consider structuring their own course of study through the Honors College. Students pursuing this major must be a member of the Honors College in good standing (requires a 3.25 GPA).

To initiate this process, the student writes a rationale describing their proposed curriculum, forms an advisory faculty committee who assists in designing a unique course of study, and then seeks approval for their program of study from the dean of the Honors College and the vice president of academic affairs. 

To stimulate students to consider their educational plan from different perspectives, sample degree plans are available below or you may contact us with specific questions at honors@harding.edu.

This program of study may be used as a primary degree.  Students pursuing the major must be a member of the Honors College in good standing (requires a 3.25 GPA). Contact Dr. Mike James, dean of the Honors College, for more information.

Qualifications for the Honors College pdf

Sample Degree plans:

Global Narrative pdf

Visual Media Design pdf

Leadership Studies

Harding University's Honors College began offering an interdisciplinary leadership studies minor in Spring 2006.  Honors students who opt for the minor may draw on courses from most of Harding's other colleges to harmonize their leadership studies with other academic interests. The course choices offered for the minor are intended to provide a strong, broad foundation for outstanding University students who want to develop a servant-leadership lifestyle.

Students who wish to minor in leadership studies may come from any academic major, but must be members of the Honors College. One of the required core classes, HNRS 204, is designed for Honors Scholars, who qualify by being named National Merit Finalists, receiving a Trustee Scholarship, or being selected from the pool of applicants scoring 31 or higher on the ACT (1360 or higher on the SAT). As a result, placement is competitive even within the college.

By offering the leadership studies minor, Harding joins Ivy League schools and other prestigious colleges with similar programs

Leadership Studies Minor Information pdf

Sears Honors Center

Sears Collegiate Seminar

The mission of the L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series is to host stimulating public presentations on topical issues relevant to the university community. The goal of each seminar is to encourage public dialogue on important topics, thus bringing together the entire Harding intellectual community.

Under the supervision of the Honors College dean, the Honors College Council proposes topics and speakers of interest to our campus community. Lecturers are contacted and extended an invitation to visit the Harding campus to present their topic of interest to university students and faculty. A question and answer segment always follows the presentation, allowing the audience to participate in thought-provoking discussions with our guest speakers.

The first L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series event was presented in the Fall 2005 semester. Past seminars have focused on issues as diverse as the response of churches to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East. The students of the Honors Council look forward to many more seminars on timely issues featuring speakers from diverse backgrounds.

The series is named for L.C. Sears, the first academic dean for Harding. He was an accomplished professor, author, administrator, and Shakespearian academic scholar. The series is intended to pay homage to his quest for academic excellence and the continued pursuit by members of the Harding community.

L.C. SearsL.C. Sears

Spring 2013 Seminar

The Honors College Presents Richard Beck

 On January 29, 2013, professor and author Dr. Richard Beck gave a talk entitled "Winter Christians and Sick Souls: Spirituality in an Age of Doubt." He addressed the ways in which we view doubt and spiritual questioning from a psychological perspective, commenting on current directions of study as well as on historical trends. He offered a rebuttal to the Freudian idea that religion is always simply a comforting illusion.

Dr. Beck is the Chair of the Psychology Department at Abilene Christian University. He has published two books, Unclean and The Authenticity of Faith, both of which deal with a field that Dr. Beck terms "Experimental Theology." He writes primarily about the psychology of religion.

Dr. Beck's lecture is part of an ongoing effort to bring speakers to campus through the L.C. Sears Series who will promote critical thinking in such a way that students will be empowered to constructively engage their faith in an increasingly secular world.

Richard Beck

Richard Beck

Fall 2012 Seminar

The Honors College Presents Elizabeth Bettina

On Thursday, August 30, 2012, Elizabeth Bettina gave a presentation based on her book, "It Happened in Italy: Untold Stories of How the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust." 

Ms. Bettina graduated from Smith College with a degree in Economics and Italian Literature. Her varied career has taken her from advertising and marketing to retail and on-air television broadcasting. Her focus since 2006 has been the research and writing of the book "It Happened in Italy" which was published in 2009. Ms. Bettina has spoken around the country about this little-known story of how approximately 80% of the Jews in Italy survived the Holocaust while approximately 80% of the Jews in the rest of occupied Europe perished. She is presently the Co-Executive Producer of a documentary on Jews surviving in Italy during the Holocaust.

    Elizabeth Bettina 

Elizabeth Bettina

Fall 2010 Seminar

The Honors College Presents: Andrew M. Mwenda

The L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series will host a presentation by Andrew M. Mwenda, Ugandan journalist and founder of Uganda's The Independent, on September 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the Heritage Auditorium.

Mwenda, a long-time advocate of economic empowerment and free speech throughout Africa, has been honored with the International Press Freedom Award and named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of 2009's top global thinkers. Mwenda is a Yale fellow in African Studies and has emerged as a leading voice for empowerment in Africa, appearing on CNN, BBC, and the global stage at the TED conference in Arusha, Tanzania in June 2007.

Mwenda will address African development, economic empowerment and the dangers of foreign aid.

Andrew M. Mwenda

Andrew M. Mwenda


Fall 2009 Seminar

Sunday, September 27, 2009 - 7:30 p.m. American Studies 200
Sasha Dmochowski eloquently spoke on the topic: "Exploring how the human body expresses narrative and emotion through dance, in particular within the rich tradition of classical ballet."

Born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Sasha Dmochowski studied dance with Klara Koenig and at the Boston Ballet School. She danced with Boston Ballet from 1994-2001 where her repertory included Cunningham’s Breakers, Taylor’s Company B, Balanchine’s Serenade, and world premieres of Christopher Wheeldon’s Firebird and Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles. Dmochowski joined American Ballet Theatre in August 2001 where her repertoire with the Company included Graham’s Diversion of Angels, Tudor’s Dark Elegies, De Mille’s Rodeo, Morris’s Gong, and featured roles in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, and Mozartiana, Kylian’s Sechs Tanze, and Tharp’s In the Upper Room.

Dmochowski has taught ballet and pointe to adults and children of all ages at the Boston Conservatory and Boston Ballet School and currently teaches pilates at Equinox Fitness clubs in Manhattan. In addition to guest engagements with American Ballet Theatre and other ballet companies, she is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at Columbia University.

Dmochowski will speak on: Exploring how the human body expresses narrative and emotion through dance, in particular within the rich tradition of classical ballet. Drawing upon her almost twenty years as a professional dancer, she will shed some light inside the world of ballet, and help to demystify and dispel some preconceived notions about what it means to be a physical artist.



Spring 2009 Seminar

Monday, February 9, 7:00 p.m. McInteer 150
Dr. Yossi Paz presented and welcomed questions on the topic: "Digging Up Jerusalem: Recent Excavations in the Holy City."

Dr. Paz holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology-Anthropology from the Sapienza University of Rome. He is an Israeli citizen and is well known and admired by our HUG students and faculty for his many times serving as Harding's tour guide in Israel. Many will remember him, among other positive things, as the Israeli tour guide with the flute! He presents a balanced view of the Palestine/Israeli situation.

Dr. Paz's main teaching assignment is a Lecturer at the Open University in Tel Aviv. One of his most current teaching experiences involves - The Bible as an Ethno-Anthropological Text: Absalon Institute (1998-2009). Dr. Paz is the chief guide of the Pilgrimage Studies program of Israeli Ministry of Tourism as well as an academic advisor of popular biblical programs on Israeli radio.

Following Dr. Paz's presentation, questions and answers were facilitated by Dr. Dale Manor, Harding's Professor of Archaeology and Bible.

Yossi Boat

Fall 2008 Seminar

After learning to read at age one and a half, Harding graduate Holly Root was "kicked out" of preschool at age three for reading "Little House on the Prairie" aloud during quiet time. But her childhood days have long passed, and Root has brought her instinctive abilities to New York City where she now works as a literary agent for the Waxman Literary Agency.

Overcoming her life-long battle with math, Root started her literary-driven Harding career at age 15 and graduated in '02 with a degree in English.

On Dec. 2 in the Reynolds Recital Hall, Root returned to campus with her husband, Jonathan, a Harding graduate and Broadway actor. In an effort to illustrate the challenges and triumphs of a career in publishing, Root explained the process of bringing a book from a computer screen to publication as part of the L.C. Sears seminar series.

As a literary agent, Root provides the essential link between a writer and an editor in a personal and intricate process. A writer contacts Root through a query letter that contains who the author is, why they should write, what the book is about and why the book matters. This letter provides the basis for Root to decide whether or not to take on a writer's work.

But simply liking the concept of a book is not enough motivation for Root to take on a project.

"There are lots of books in the universe that I love, but I wouldn't say, ‘I would give my left arm to represent that,'" Root said. "The things that I take on usually hit me in a very visceral way."

In selecting literature, Root becomes the gatekeeper of what will make it into the hands of readers. Because of this role, she feels a sense of duty to make meaningful selections.

"With young adult fiction, I feel more of an obligation because the books that really changed who I am as a human being, I read before I was 16," Root said. "I have passed on young adult projects before because I felt like publishing them would be irresponsible. I like young adult novels to have some value beyond just being fun."

The reaction that Root has to a book becomes the foundation of the bond Root will share with the author.

"I jokingly compare an agent-client relationship to a marriage ... but it has to have that sort of ‘meant to be' about it," she said. "In order for me to go through all of the hoop-jumping of actually selling a book, I have to feel so passionately about it that I feel like if this book gets published, and I'm not a part of it, I just won't be able to live with it. You really have to connect with something on a very strong level."

Once a book passes the initial "yea or nay" read, Root goes to work by selecting which editors and publishing companies would be an appropriate fit for the work.

With hundreds of editors in each publishing house, it becomes her job to know who is best suited for a particular book, make contact with that individual and put the book into his or her hands.

"I am constantly making connections with editors, and figuring out people's likes and dislikes and what they're interested in," Root said. "If you hit at somebody with exactly what they're looking for no matter how crazy [the book] might be, you can really get a great reaction from people, which is why it's such a big part of my job to know who is looking for what."

Yet finding a place for the book to be printed is not Root's only task as an agent.

"From the author's point of view, I'm there as their protector, their guardian and hand-holder," Root said. "I'm part psychologist and part extremely critical reader so that I can help them get their work in the best shape it can be in before I send it to publishers, and [I'm] also there when they freak out because the editor sounded a little upset on the phone. I'm there to calm them down."

As the fuel that launches a book into the right hands, Root is privileged to have a feeling of accomplishment as her clients succeed.

"There's an incredible amount of responsibility and joy [in publishing]," Root said. "If you love books, what is cooler than being able to say, ‘I made that happen. I showed people that that book was worth buying.' The ability to share books with people and get paid for doing it, that's what it's all about for me."



Fall 2006 Seminar

Dr. David Rosand, the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University will present a seminar on the art of Leonardo da Vinci. Professor Rosand is a world-renowned expert on the Renaissance tradition and Venetian art, and is the author of Titian and the Venetian Woodcut (1976), Titian (1978), The Meaning of the Mark: Leonardo and Titian (1988), Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto (1982, rev. ed. 1997), Robert Motherwell on Paper (1997), Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State(2001) and Drawing Acts: Studies in Graphic Expression and Representation(2002). His website.


Dr. David Rosand

Spring 2006 Seminar

Peace in Palestine: The Arab-Israeli Conflict and U.S. Foreign Policy. On Thursday, March 2nd, 2006, three religious scholars came together to share their views on the continuing conflict in the Middle East. Rabbi Elliot Gertel of Chicago and Dr. Nabil Bayakly of Memphis presented differing views after an introduction Evertt Huffard, Dean of Harding University's Graduate School of Religion. Student questions followed. The event was attended by approximately 300 students, faculty, and members of the community, as well as representatives of local TV, radio, and print media outlets. A DVD of the Peace in Palestine seminar is available for $5 through the Honors College. Interested persons should call 501-279-4056 or e-mail honors@harding.edu.

Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel, a native of Springfield, MA, attended the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, earning a B.A. in philosophy and a B.H.L. in Bible. He received a M.H.L. from the Seminary, where he was ordained in 1981. Rabbi Gertel has been spiritual leader of Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago since 1988. In Chicago he has been chairman of the Joint Television Commission of the Jewish Federation and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, President of the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council, and a board member of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society.

Rabbi Elliot B. Gerte
On the congregational level, Rabbi Gertel has been an innovator whose programs have won Solomon Schechter awards for music and publications and "unique programming." He has pioneered in outreach to synagogue alumni and in joint ventures with other communal agencies, such as Jewish Family Services.

Rabbi Gertel has been a contributing editor of Conservative Judaism and Jewish Spectator magazines. He has contributed many essays and reviews to popular and scholarly publications in the fields of Jewish thought, Jewish literature and American Jewish history, and, since 1979, has been the media critic for the Jewish Post and Opinion, American Jewry’s longest-running national English-language weekly. His recent books include What Jews Know About Salvation, which prodded the Library of Congress to list "salvation" as a Jewish concept, and Over the Top Judaism, which discusses the depiction of Judaism in film and on television.

Nabil A. Bayakly was born in Kumasi, Ghana in West Africa to Lebanese parents of Turkish descent. During his youth in Tripoli, Lebanon Bayakly graduated from Tripoli Evangelical School and attended the Tripoli Institute for High Islamic Studies for two years. After arriving in the United States in 1979, he earned a PhD from the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Bayakly is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at LeMoyne- Owen College in Memphis as well as Adjunct Professor for Islamic Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. Bayakly is a cofounder of the Memphis Multireligious Association, serves as Chairman of Muslims in Memphis, and is a member of the Peace and Justice Center for the Midsouth, Diversity Memphis, and the Mayor’s Committee (of Memphis) for Multireligious and Multicultural Affairs. He also holds a Certificate of Achievement from the FBI for Civil Rights Training.

Nabil A. Bayakly

Bayakly has published numerous scientific, religious and sociopolitical papers and has been a guest speaker on Islamic and Middle East issues at many prestigious institutions, including Sewanee, Rhodes, and Columbia. Bayakly was the American-Muslim representative for the Second Asia Pacific Business Conference on Cultural Diversity at the Workplace in Putrajaya, Malaysia in 2005. Dr. Bayakly and his Ethiopian wife have four children, all US citizens.

Evertt W. Huffard is Dean/Executive Director and Professor of Missiology at Harding University Graduate School of Religion, in Memphis, Tennessee. He has been teaching leadership and missiology for 20 years. In 1997 he received the Distinguished Teacher Award from Harding University. His cross-cultural experiences began as a teenager when his parents moved to Jerusalem, Jordan in 1963. He returned to the USA in 1967 and after graduating from Lubbock Christian University (A.A.), Harding University (B.A.), and Harding University Graduate School of Religion (M.A. and M.Th.) he served a church in Nazareth, Israel and taught Bible at the Galilee Christian High School for five years. He completed a Ph.D. in Inter-Cultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1985 with a focus on the Muslim-Christian encounter. In addition to his ten years of urban ministry experience in Los Angeles and Memphis, Dr. Huffard frequently lectures on the Muslim-Christian encounter.

Evertt W. Huffard

In June, 2000 he served as a co-leader of a delegation of 12 theologians visiting the Israeli and Palestinian delegates in the peace process in Jerusalem. For the past 20 years he has hosted tours to the Holy Land. Since 9/11 he has spoken to over 120 churches and schools on understanding our Muslim neighbors. His most recent trip to the Middle East was in December, 2004. Evertt and his wife, Ileene, have three children, and five grandchildren.

Called to Care: AIDS and Christian Compassion

On November 15th, 2005, Dr. Bruce Smith and Dr. Anna Griffith shared their views on the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the approaches churches should be taking in order to combat it. The event was an encouraging success, with over two hundred concerned students and faculty present. After presenting for an hour and a half Dr. Smith and Dr. Griffith answered many more questions from those present. The promotional video for the seminar as well as an audio recording of the event are available below.

Bruce Smith is a Christian HIV physician with training and experience in Family Practice, International Health and Public Health. He is an elder of the Redlands, California, Church of Christ and works for the Public Health Department of San Bernardino County. He is a graduate of Harding and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and spent eight years in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala as a medical missionary. Most recently he has made two trips to Africa to learn from church leaders what should be done about the HIV crisis there and to lead church leaders in choosing courses of action.

Anna Griffith was born and raised in Levelland, TX. After high school she attended and received a professional certificate from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Along with numerous other degrees, Dr. Griffith holds the Doctor of Ministry from Abilene Christian University. She is the author of Balance: A Modern Christian Challenge and From Paul to Philippi, With Love, along with numerous articles in "Wineskins," "Christian Chronicle," and other publications. She became involved with AIDS when she learned that a family member was HIV+, who then challenged her by stating (truthfully) that the church at the time was doing nothing about AIDS.

Promotional Video for Called to Care (450 MB)
MP3 Audio file of the Seminar - part 1 (91 MB)
MP3 Audio file of the Seminar - part 2 (82 MB)

History of the Honors College

The Honors College is an uninterrupted success story that tells a story of exponential academic enrichment. The program (as it was then called) was initiated by Dr. Larry Long in 1989. He felt that Harding University's most scholarly students would benefit from a special program that allowed them to approach their studies in creative, advanced ways.

The program began with 19 students who have since achieved excellence in their fields. By 1998, the program expanded to more than 500 students and received “college” status. The Honors College has since become a major social and intellectual force on campus. It now has more than 1200 members, about 179 of whom are part of the upper-tier Honors Scholar group.

Distinguished professor Jeffrey Hopper replaced Larry Long as the dean of the Honors College in 2001 and was joined by Mrs. Debbie Baird as the new administrator at the same time. Mrs. Baird serves as a special academic advisor to honors students - a service not available at any other college on campus - and coordinates honors contracts.

In 2011, Dr. J. Warren Casey became the Dean of the Honors College. 

The current Dean is Dr. Mike James, a distinguished professor of communication.  He was appointed in January of 2015 by President Bruce McLarty.

Current honors students come from most majors and many different countries. They frequently move on to successful careers, and often place at the most prestigious graduate schools, including Ivy League and other first-tier graduate programs. Like the first honors class, they benefit from a quality program that stresses academic excellence, independence, thoughtfulness, service, fun and friendship.

Finally, the honors student officers, too, have established a tradition of service that greatly contributes to the college. Owing to their initiative, the Honors College has established a legacy of working with the Searcy Children's Home, Habitat for Humanity, and the Searcy Sunshine School for the differently able. Habitat for Humanity in White County was actually established by the Honors College.

The history of the Harding University Honors College is the story of people making the most from their undergraduate experience, working to learn about life and to live as God would have them. It is the story of talent, dedication, excitement, discipline and growth. It is the story of Christian education at its best.

Honors Conference (NCHC & GPHC)


Annual Conference

Wednesday October 12—Sunday October 16, 2016

Sheraton Seattle Downtown in Seattle, WA

Theme: “Know Yourself”  


The National Collegiate Honors Council is made up of educational institutions, professionals, and students.  The purpose of NCHC is to promote honors education. Harding University’s Honors College participates in NCHC’s annual conference.  This year the conference was held in Seattle, WA.  Members of the Honors College as well as the Honors Council were chosen to represent Harding University along with Dr. Laurie Diles.  The cold and rainy Seattle weather didn’t keep the attendees from enjoying their time. Holly Larsen stated "In Seattle, we were able to come together with hundreds of other honors students and faculty to discuss key issues in Honors Colleges, such as how to engage and retain freshman, how to increase diversity, and how to build activities.  Hearing from many other universities was eye-opening, and it was exciting to see how much Honors programs vary from school to school."

Caycee Miller, Dr. Laurie Diles, and Holly Larsen in Seattle, WA for the 2016 NCHC Conference.



Sears Honors Center

What is the "Sears" Honors Center?

The Sears Honors Center is located in a beautiful house on the Harding University campus (704 East Center Street). The house was built in 1950 and served as a private residence until purchased by Harding. For a time the house housed female students, and later it was used for storage purposes. During the spring of 2005 the facility was completely remodeled inside and out. It now houses offices for the Honors College, Honors Symposium, and International Programs.

Why is it called the "Sears" Honors Center?

L. C. Sears served as the first academic dean for Harding. His life had a huge impact on the University during her early years. He was an accomplished professor, author, administrator, and Shakespearian academic scholar. His family still lives in Searcy, and the facility was named to honor him and his legacy.

What's in the Honors Center?

The interior structure of the center was not altered structurally. Instead, the space has been transformed into offices, while keeping a fully functional kitchen and a comfortable, inviting living room. 

The living room is large and open and contains soft leather furniture, and a fireplace.

The kitchen (probably the most popular room in the house) is maintained in 1950’s retro style. It’s equipped with an oven and stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher, as well as pots and pans and cooking utensils.

The back yard consists of comfortable patio seating and an enormous gas grill built especially for the Honors Center.

Are there computers available for student use?

Yes. There are currently six laptop computers available for students to either use in the house or check out for a few days. These computers are capable of being used for preparing research papers and other homework, and also for internet research. The computers also have wireless capabilities, so a student may, for example, sit on the couch in front of the fire and check e-mail or research a project. A second wireless antenna has recently been added to provide maximum coverage.

How is the Sears Honors Center used?

The center is a great gathering place for meeting friends, studying, and just hanging out. Picnics, meetings, small classes, study groups and group meals (e.g. chili day) occur regularly. The living room is a wonderful place to relax or work on homework. The kitchen may be used to cook ‘home-cooked’ meals or meet friends for sandwiches. The back yard is a wonderful place for picnics and small gatherings or classes. The Honors Center is intended to enrich the honors students’ experience in the Honors College and is available for most Honors-sponsored events and activities.

Additional Resources

National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)

Great Plains Honors Council (GPHC)

NCHC Student Website

National Graduate Scholarships and Fellowships

Summer Academic Institute

The Honors College hosts the Summer Academic Institute which consists of several programs.  Each academic program provides high school students who are now in their junior year (students graduating in the class of 2018) an opportunity to embark on a life-changing journey where students from all across the nation can come together for the purpose of growing spiritually and academically. 

Honors Media & Culture

Honors Art & Design

Honors Symposium

Contact Us

Fax: 501-279-4016

Mailing address:
Harding University
Honors College
Box 10782
Searcy, AR 72149-5615