Harding Magazine


Profile: Tamera Gattis Alexander 1983
Profile: Terry Dinterman 1985
Alma matters
Enhancing the mission
Alumni awards

PROFILE: Tamera Gattis Alexander 1983

Christy award winner

Tamera Gattis AlexanderTypically being accused of “living in the past” is considered an insult. However, for Tamera Alexander, it is just the opposite. Author of seven Christian historical fiction novels and winner of back-to-back Christy awards — the highest honor for a Christian book — Alexander finds living in the past creates a very rewarding present.

Alexander never saw writing as a realistic option, especially after being told at age 13 that her skills were not good enough. After a gift from her mother-in-law — Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke — ignited a love for Christian fiction, Alexander’s husband, Joe (’81), challenged her to write a book of her own. Her first attempt reached the publisher’s final review board but was ultimately rejected. However, Alexander was not discouraged. “I knew if God was leading me, even though I didn’t feel prepared, he would equip me,” she says.

She spent the next two years working full time and writing late at night. Her second try, Rekindled, was bought by Bethany House publishers, and Alexander received a three-book contract. She has since released two trilogies along with a stand-alone novel, The Inheritance, which is a part of the Women of Faith series.

Drawing on her 17 years living in Colorado, Alexander uses the territory during the 1860s and 70s as her novels’ backdrop, utilizing the similarities of then and now. “In some ways it’s a simpler time, but in other ways it’s like looking into a mirror and realizing, no matter what era we live in, we have always been the same,” says Alexander.

A self-proclaimed history buff, she enjoys weaving past events into her works, opening her readers to another world. “You get to entertain and sweep people away into a different time,” she says. “But yet, they get to see God’s word threaded throughout.”

Alexander is wrapping up her final Colorado territory book, Within My Heart, to be released June 2010. The rest of her works can be found in bookstores as well as her Web site, www.tameraalexander.com. Her next series of books travels into the South, starting in Tennessee where she currently resides.

During Homecoming, Alexander will speak Thursday, Oct. 29, in the Heritage Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. She will also be in the bookstore Saturday morning for a book signing.

Truth in fiction

When writing a book, Tamera Alexander has two hopes for her readers — that they will love and connect with the characters and will draw closer to Christ as a result of her work. During the process of writing Revealed, she did not expect those same hopes to apply to her as well.

The novel focuses on Annabelle — a secondary character in the series’ first book, Rekindled — and her search for grace and redemption. At a young age, she was forced into prostitution after her parents died on the family’s journey west. “I lifted this instance straight out of history books,” says Alexander. “If young girls didn’t have anybody watching out for them on the wagon trains or in towns where their families moved, they were often sold into prostitution. And that is Annabelle’s story.”

As she began to pen her heroine’s road to healing, Alexander felt God start to work within her as well. At the ages of five and six, she was sexually abused by someone outside of her family — a burden she carried for years. “When I was at Harding, I went through counseling; throughout my life I went through counseling. I thought I had dealt with those issues. But, in writing Revealed, God took me on a personal journey, healing parts of my life I thought I’d dealt with.

“He reopened some scars and showed me wounds that I had not fully allowed him to heal,” she says.

Although she never mentions her own situation in the book, Alexander receives letters from sexual abuse survivors who recognize the signs. “The readers list passages in the book, saying that I had to know about being abused to write like I did.”

Even though Alexander admits the book was difficult to write, she feels the end result was worth it. “Revealed is definitely a very personal story to me, but it was also a very fun book to write. The characters are extremely sarcastic with each other even though they are both deeply wounded. Their road to healing is very special.”<

— Jennifer Hannigan


PROFILE: Terry Dinterman 1985

Runway to technology

When Terry Dinterman enrolled in a computer class his first year of college, he knew immediately he was destined for a career in the field. The path has led him on a journey intertwined with technology projects and team leadership at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Budget Rent A Car, Ameritech (now AT&T), Cultureworx and CNA Insurance.

Terry DintermanIn September 2008 he was appointed vice president of technology services at JetBlue Airways, a New York-based value airline founded in 1999 with the tagline “bringing humanity back to air travel.” While he may not be piloting an airplane, Dinterman says his job never lacks excitement.

“JetBlue went through this period of incredible growth during the last decade,” says Dinterman. “Like most startups, eventually the IT [information technology] infrastructure and application platform required a major transformation to enable its transition from a small company to a large mission-critical enterprise. My adrenaline really starts pumping whenever I get the chance to participate in a complex transformational project.”

As a leader in the IT department, Dinterman has a front row seat to airline operation and is able to learn all aspects of the company. After a quick cup of coffee, he spends each day winding through planning discussions and problem solving sessions. He and his team are responsible for IT security and architecture and also tackle development and quality assurance along with business partner management and crew member support.

According to Dinterman, the airline embraces innovation and encourages creativity. One of his favorite aspects of the job is leading teams of passionate people working together for a common goal. He aims to incorporate the valuable lessons learned at the University into his leadership role at JetBlue.

“The experience I always share with someone who hasn’t heard about Harding is that I, along with my classmates, was invited over to professors’ homes for backyard barbecues or picnics or just a celebration of being together. It was about community, and I desire to bring that to the workplace today as a leader. I want my team to know it’s more than just work; it’s about being part of a community.”

Dinterman and his wife, Andrea, have been married 20 years and have four children. The family resides in the Chicago, Ill., suburb of Palatine. Although his career drive and passion are always in focus, his most prized accomplishments gather around the dinner table each night.

“I consider my most cherished moments and the best glimpse I’ll have of heaven while on earth to be those spent hanging out in the kitchen making pizzas, celebrating a birthday, or sharing the day’s events with Andrea and the kids. Pure joy.”                         

— Heather Williams



Staying Connected

By Liz Howell, director of alumni relations

Liz HowellConnecting to friends and family is important for our emotional health and well-being.

Facebook, Twitter and other technology are connecting us sometimes faster than we can imagine. Today’s technology helps people do everything from planning to meeting for dinner to keeping in touch with a friend or a student in a different country. It seems everyone has a cell phone with them at all times. E-mail and text messages provide instant access that is now being utilized for communication from your alma mater. Whether you are looking to reconnect with classmates or seeking employment opportunities, social networking is a viable and growing tool.

The University is striving to offer more options to communicate with our alumni in the way you prefer. In an effort to be good stewards of our environment, we are communicating electronically as often as we can. We will still utilize some mailings as reinforcements or reminders to our electronic messages. The Harding family has deep connections throughout the world, and we are counting on you to help us communicate better in your networks of influence.

Thank you for your participation in the “Six Degrees of Separation” campaign. Because of your connections, we were able to gather and update many alumni records, saving money from sending mail pieces to incorrect addresses. If you have not updated your record or e-mail address, please send your information to alumni@harding.edu. As special events or news from campus occur, you can help us inform others by text messaging, e-mailing or posting information on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Your education and influence extend far beyond the years you spent on campus, and you can be a great ambassador for Harding in your community and a role model for prospective students. We want to assist you by providing relevant information that keeps you informed and connected.
Here are some more options:

Alumni Portal — Connect and network with classmates online. Sign up at www.harding.edu/alumni/accounts.html. For your ID number, use your H number located on the back label of this magazine or simply type 1924. You now have the option of a Harding e-mail address.

Facebook — Become a “fan” at www.facebook.com. Become a part of the alumni group at www.facebook.com.

Twitter — Follow Harding news and information at http://twitter.com/HardingAlumni.

Career and Job Connections — Go to http://www.harding.edu/career/.  

Post.Harding — Subscribe to an electronic newsletter for alumni at alumni-list@har­ding.edu.

HUPA & HUGS — Subscribe to an electronic newsletter for parents and grandparents of current students at hupa-list@harding.edu.
Visit the Web site at www.harding.edu, and see what is new on campus.

Our goal is to create services and networks that provide a seamless transition from student to post-college life, assist in career success, and establish linkage among alumni connecting them back to Harding. We solicit your feedback and suggestions. Please contact us through any of the mediums above or call us at 800-477-4312, ext. 1, and we will be happy to talk to you!


Enhancing the mission

Let your values be your guide

By Ted Hackney, director of the Center for Charitable Estate Planning

Ted Hackney
Ask yourself this: How can my family perpetuate our values? Consider creating an endowment at the University — a fund bearing your family name and reflecting your family’s values. Discover how to build a values-based legacy through a Harding endowment.

Your family’s values
During the Enhancing the Mission campaign, we are focusing on four Pillars of Purpose to fortify the University’s endowment. These Pillars of Purpose develop Harding’s mission through affordability, ministry training, financial stability and academic enrichment. Upon your request to participate in Enhancing the Mission, we will work with you to develop a written Family Mission Statement and a Family Charitable Stewardship Philosophy Statement. These statements will reflect your family values and guide you in your general estate planning as well as creation of an endowment at the University. Some choose not to develop these statements yet still desire us to assist them in developing their endowment at the University. Your values are reflected by the stipulations you provide in your endowment. During the process of working with you, all matters are confidential.

Your family endowment
If you believe in the mission of Harding and choose to provide ongoing financial support to further the University’s mission for years to come, you may fund your endowment during your lifetime, through your estate or with both.
Your endowment is invested under the guidance of the board of trustees. The University receives support from your endowment every year to fulfill its mission for generations to come.

Your family legacy
The values of your family result in the perpetual support of Harding as reflected in an endowment agreement. Some families choose to incorporate their mission and philosophy statements in their endowment agreement. Your family values become part of the terms and stipulations in the endowment. Terms and stipulations may provide that the support from your endowment include scholarships, specified uses for a particular college, department or area of interest, or uses for a particular program or service.

Call upon us
If you wish to know more about creating your family endowment at Harding using values-based estate planning or if you would like a copy of the new Pillars of Purpose publication describing the University’s endowment campaign, please contact us at 501-279-4210; thackney@harding.edu; or Harding University, Box 12283, Searcy, AR 72149-2283. You may also visit www.hgift.org.


Alumni awards

Each year during Homecoming’s Black and Gold Banquet, Alumni Relations showcases those who have proven to be exceptional in their field of study. These noteworthy graduates have left an impression on their community, live according to University ideals, and are active in their support of Harding. Above all, they serve their God, church and community.

Distinguished Alumni
Bucchi'sAfter graduating from Harding, Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi (’69) was commissioned into the Navy where he served as an instructor at Top Gun.

He has completed various Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf cruises aboard the USS John F. Kennedy, USS America and USS Theodore Roosevelt with more than 1,000 carrier-arrested landings. Bucchi received his third star en route to his assignment as Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and director of the Navy’s sea-based battle lab. His last active duty tour as commander of the fleet was in 2003.

His long list of awards and commendations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, and Bronze Star with Combat Valor.

Bucchi now works with Concurrent Technologies Corp. as a principal technical investigator.

After the death of his first wife, he married Marilyn Rogers (’81) Jan. 1, 2006, who taught kindergarten, first grade and reading recovery for 16 years. In 2002, she began a DivorceCare program at the Southeastern Church of Christ in Indianapolis. The program rapidly grew, aiding single moms and their children as they dealt with divorce.

In 2008, she joined the San Diego Council of the Navy League, serving as vice president of scholarships and starting the Alexander Kreiglowa Scholarship Program.

The couple lives in Bloomington, Ind., and has five children and three grandchildren. They worship and serve at North Central Church of Christ.   

Outstanding Young Alumni
Lawrence'sUpon seeing the need for closer health care in rural Alaska, Bob (’93) and Laura Degnan (’92) Lawrence started Alaska Family Doctor. The small medical company provides cutting-edge medical communication technology, helping to reduce the distance between patients and their physicians.

Beginning as a minister in Anchorage, Bob earned his M.D. from University of Washington School of Medicine and went on to work for Norton Sound Health Corp. The company provided medical services to Nome, Alaska, and 15 surrounding villages. He served as family physician, diabetes consultant, cardiac risk consultant and student clerkship coordinator.

In 2008, Alaska Family Doctor began; Bob is owner, cofounder and medical director, and Laura is president and chief executive officer. Before developing their business, both Lawrences taught — Bob as an adjunct professor of anatomy for University of Alaska Biomedical program, and Laura as an English and history teacher.

The couple has four children and worship at Nome Church of Christ.

Outstanding Alumni
College of Arts & Humanities
Diane BrownFor Diane Trombly (’78) Brown, teaching has always been a natural fit. Her love for art and children mixed together to create a rewarding profession. As a result of her two loves, Brown was awarded Elementary Art Educator of the Year by the Michigan Art Education Association for 2008-09.

For the past 11 years, she has taught art in the Bay City School District and rotates between three area schools. Brown believes that integrating instruction is an important learning tool and works with teachers to incorporate their curriculum into her classes.

In addition to teaching, Brown is a commissioned watercolorist who specializes in architectural renderings of historical homes. She has also lent her abilities to the theater, designing and implementing stage makeup for “The Hobbit,” “Snow White,” and “Joseph and the Amazing, Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

She and her husband, Loran (’81), have two daughters and attend Wheeler Road Church of Christ in Midland, Mich.

College of Bible & Religion
Jimmy AllenMany great men and women have left a legacy that will forever be tied to the University — Jimmy Allen (’52) is one of them. Allen has traveled the globe preaching God’s word and converting the lost in 42 states and seven countries. He has authored 13 books and spoken at numerous college lectureships.

Before coming to school at Harding, Allen served 18 months in the Army and 22 months in the Army Reserve. In 1949, Allen became a Christian and began preaching soon thereafter. He hasn’t stopped since.

Allen retired as professor of Bible from the University after 50 years of dedicated service in spring 2009. During his teaching career, he was given the Outstanding Educator Award and Distinguished Teacher Award.

He has been married to Marilyn McCluggage (’50) for 58 years, and they have three children and seven grandchildren. They are members of College Church of Christ in Searcy.
College of Business Administration
Blair BryanHaving worked 24 years in the commercial real estate industry, Blair Bryan (’84) has established himself as a leader in his field. Specializing in tenant representation, Bryan’s experience has allowed him to successfully negotiate and serve clients in the competitive real estate market.

Currently working at Jones Lang LaSalle in Charlotte, N.C., as managing director, he has also worked for The Staubach Co., Arthur Young & Co. and EquiFirst. He has negotiated transactions for notable companies, such as Pepsi Bottling Group and Duke Energy. Bryan also provides customers with strategic planning, leasing, dispositions, financial advisory services, purchasing and built-to-suit proposals.

Outside of work, he participates in numerous community activities including the Charlotte Arts and Science Council, Sportsman’s Club of Charlotte, and Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Karen Slater (’84), have two children and attend Providence Road Church of Christ.

College of Communication
Joe AaronUpon graduating from the University, Joe Aaron (’83) moved to New York City seeking a job in television. His list of employers includes Children’s Television Workshop, HBO, Cinemax and Comedy Central.

However, Aaron is best known for his work as co-creator of the character “Doug,” which follows the imaginative title character through his middle school dilemmas.

Aaron wrote, produced, directed and starred in his first feature film, “Crazy Jones,” which won several awards, including best feature at the Cinequest International Film Festival. He can also be seen in the documentary “Dreams on Spec,” focusing on screenwriters in Los Angeles as well as HBO’s Emmy award-winning “Autism: The Musical” featuring his daughter Lexi.

He is currently attending the American Film Institute in L.A. and will graduate with his M.F.A. in 2011. He is also working on his next film project, “Big, Fat, Dumb and Ugly,” which he hopes to film in Searcy.

Hilltop Community Church of Christ is his home congregation.

College of Education
David FincherWhen David Fincher (’72) began teaching at Greater Atlanta Christian School, he was not  expecting to stay long. What began as a short stay has continued to this day. During his time at GAC, he has served as teacher, debate coach, principal, academic dean, vice president and president.

Now Fincher is president of Georgia Independent School Association after holding the title of president for both the National Christian School Association and the Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools.

Actively serving on several boards focusing on community improvement and Christian humanitarian efforts in Atlanta, he is also working with a group of American and African leaders to develop a Christian school in Kigali, Rwanda.

He and his wife, Beth Saxton (’72), have two children and are members of Campus Church of Christ, where he is an elder.

College of Nursing
Arlene MorrisA graduate of the College’s second nursing class, Arlene Hughes (’78) Morris received support and encouragement from her professors. As a  result, she is doing the same for the next generation of nurses, teaching in the School of Nursing at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., for the past 17 years.

During her time at AUM, she has received multiple honors, including distinguished teaching awards from the Alabama State Nurses Association and Auburn University, and receiving the School of Nursing Faculty Excellence Award in 2007.

She has published and presented nationally and internationally regarding issues related to caring for older adults, nursing education and nursing professionalism. Prior to teaching, Morris worked in medical surgical nursing, home health care and student health care.

She and her husband, Kelly (’74), live in Montgomery, Ala., have two children, and attend GracePointe Church of Christ.

College of Sciences
Joe HightowerSince his college days as president of the senior class and Alpha Chi national honor society as well as the University’s first AIC scholar-athlete in baseball, Joe Hightower (’59) has earned a few more titles, including professor in chemical engineering at Rice University and philanthropist.

While at Rice, he received the American Chemistry Society National Award for his research in petroleum chemistry. He chaired the chemistry department for three years and was acting director of University sponsored research and faculty secretary. In 2002, he was named Emeritus Professor.

Hightower may be best known for cofounding and leading the Hospitality Apartments, a nonprofit foundation providing free housing for families with loved ones receiving various treatments at Texas Medical Center in Houston. He has served as president of the project for 41 years. Each year he bakes almost a ton of sourdough bread for guest families.

As a result of his work, he has received the Jefferson Prize in Houston, Leadership in Volunteerism recognition, and, in 2007, Mayor Lee Brown proclaimed Feb. 18 as “Joe W. Hightower Day in Houston.” 

He is a member of Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston.


Public Relations