American Studies Institute

Upcoming Events

This is a photo of former first lady Laura Bush.
Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009)
April 16, 2018, 7:30 P.M., Benson Auditorium

For decades, Bush fought for key issues in the fields of literacy, education, health care and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, she and President George W. Bush founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, which is home to the Bush Presidential Museum and Library and the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center established to solve today’s most pressing challenges by developing leaders, advancing policy and taking action.

She founded the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. As chair of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, she continues her work on global health care innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform and supporting America’s military veterans.

In her New York Times No. 1 bestselling memoir, Spoken From the Heart, Bush writes about joining one of America’s most prominent political families, life with her husband and twin daughters, and the post-9/11 period that transformed her role as first lady.

General Admission tickets will be available to the public on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at  

Past Events

This is a photo of Ron Clark.
Ron Clark
Jan. 30, 2018, 7:30 P.M., Benson Auditorium

Known to many as “America’s Educator,” Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, two-time New York Times bestselling author, and founder of The Ron Clark Academy — an inner-city Atlanta school unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum. He has been featured on “The Today Show,” CNN and “The Oprah Winfrey Show;” has been honored at the White House; and was the subject of the film “The Ron Clark Story.”

Bringing his physically dynamic and unique presentation style to the Benson stage, Clark inspires with his extraordinary approach to accelerating success in work and life. Whether creating learning opportunities that uplift, educate and empower or simply touching hearts with genuine care and concern, Clark demonstrates how teachers, parents, peers and leaders can help others reach their full potential — and how one person can make a difference.

Harding University is committed to educating and preparing teachers for our nation and our world, and we are grateful teachers' contributions to and partnership in educating students in Arkansas. Educators from around the state are invited to attend the presentation as our special guest and attend a special teacher appreciation event. Educators will receive:

  • Priority seating at the event
  • A special badge identifying you as an educator
  • Recognition during the event
  • Entry into a drawing for the opportunity to attend the Ron Clark Educator Training in Atlanta for one administrator and two teachers from your school. You must be present at the event to register for the drawing and at the end of the presentation to win.
Open seating — no ticket necessary.

This is a photo of Alberto Gonzalez.Alberto Gonzales
Sept. 7, 2017, 7:30 P.M., Benson Auditorium

Alberto R. Gonzales served as the 80th Attorney General of the United States from 2005-2007.  Before entering public service, Gonzales practiced business law for 13 years at the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins.  In 1995, he resigned his law partnership to serve as General Counsel to the Governor of Texas.  After three years, the Governor appointed Gonzales as Texas Secretary of State.  He was appointed as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court in 1999 and elected by the citizens of Texas to serve a full six-year term in the November 2000 general election.  He served in the White House as Counsel to the President from 2001-2005.

Gonzales is an Air Force veteran, and attended the U.S. Air Force Academy.  He is a graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School.  Presently he is the Dean and Doyle Rogers Distinguished Professor of Law at Belmont University College of Law, where he teaches courses on the U.S. Constitution, First Amendment and National Security. 

Gonzales is the author of True Faith and Allegiance and A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform.

 Open seating — no ticket necessary.

This is a photo of Eva Kor.Eva Kor
Nov. 7, 2017, 7:30 P.M., Benson Auditorium

Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust, forgiveness advocate, and public speaker. Powered by a never-give-up attitude, Eva has emerged from a trauma-filled childhood as a brilliant example of the human spirit's power to overcome. She is a community leader, champion of human rights, and tireless educator.Eva Mozes was born in 1934 in the tiny village of Portz, Romania. Through the first four years of Eva's education, she and Miriam attended a one-room schoolhouse. Eva's father, Alexander and mother, Jaffa had four girls: Edit, Aliz, and the twins Eva and Miriam. Though the Mozes family enjoyed a comfortable if rustic living as landowners and farmers, the family lived under the spectre of the Nazi takeover of Germany and the everyday experience of prejudice against the Jews.
Open seating — no ticket necessary.

About the Lecture Series

A unique approach to citizenship education in contemporary national and international affairs, the Lecture Series offers insight into current trends in political and economic development affecting the American way of life.

Speakers in the Lecture Series have included President George H.W. Bush, President Gerald Ford, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Barbara Bush, Dick Cheney, Linda Chavez, Henry Kissinger, Bobby Bowden, Gene Stallings, William Bennett, William F. Buckley Jr., Benazir Bhutto, Ben Stein, Laura Ingraham, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, President George W. Bush, Archie Manning, Dr. Kent Brantly, and Ruby Bridges.

If you need accommodations due to a disability, please contact the American Studies Office by calling 501-279-4497. Please make your request at least one week prior to the scheduled presentation.