The Honors Program began in 1989 under the direction of Dr. Larry Long. He believed Harding University's most scholarly students would benefit from a unique program that allowed them to approach their studies in creative ways that were measurably broader, deeper, or more complex than comparable learning experiences typically found at institutions of higher education.

The program began with 19 students. By 1998, the program expanded to around 500, or about 10 percent of the student body, and became a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), and received college status.

Dr. Jeffrey Hopper was appointed dean of the Honors College in 2001. Mrs. Debbie Baird joined as the college's administrator the same year and served in that role for 22 years.

In 2011, Dr. J. Warren Casey was appointed dean. 

In 2015, Dr. Mike James was appointed dean. 

In 2020, Dr. Kevin Kehl was appointed dean. He hired two faculty fellows, Dr. Jim Miller and Dr. James Huff, to assist with leadership and administration.

In 2023, Dr. Dana Steil was appointed dean. Dr. Jim Miller serves as assistant dean of the college, and Dr. James Huff serves as senior faculty fellow. The college employs over a dozen affiliated faculty each year. 

Current honors students come from most majors and many different countries. They move on to successful careers and often place at the most prestigious graduate schools, including Ivy League and other first-tier programs. Like the first honors class, they benefit from a quality program that focuses on communication, critical thinking and contribution to the academic community.

The honors student body has established a tradition of service that greatly contributes to the college. Honors students have worked with the Searcy Children's Home, Healing Hands International, and the Searcy Sunshine School. The Honors College and its student leaders helped establish Habitat for Humanity in White County.

The history of the Harding University Honors College is the story of people making the most from their undergraduate experience, working to become the best versions of themselves in the image of God. It is the story of talent, dedication, excitement, discipline and growth. It is the story of Christian education at its best.


Contact Us

Honors College


Fax: 501-279-4016

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

Office hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (closed for the noon lunch hour)