Welcome from the President
It is absolutely humbling to be asked to serve as the sixth president of Harding. —President Mike Williams
It is absolutely humbling to be asked to serve as the sixth president of Harding. For Lisa and me, our Harding experience was a major catalyst to propel us spiritually and professionally. We were shaped, inspired and mentored by so many men and women of deep conviction. Our cherished friendships are more valuable to us than any earthly possession. We are impassioned to make a Harding education a reality for a new era of emerging adults.
Given the seismic changes in our culture, the world needs Harding to be Spirit-led, robust, relevant and aspirational. This consequential moment in our history provides us with a time to be introspective as we envision a bold and productive future. I pray that the Harding Nation will lock arms with us as we become architects of a contemporary design and build bridges of faith and culture, our collective dreams and aspirations coming together to raise up a new generation of leaders. Most importantly, I pray that God will grant us wisdom and discernment as we exalt Him in all that we do.
“We have the privilege of walking alongside a man and leader who is humble to the core with a deep sense of what it means to be Christian. His Spirit-led leadership provides a bold and steady vision for our work together.” —Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson
Dr. Michael D. Williams became the sixth president of Harding University on June 1, 2022.
Previously, Williams served as the eighth president of Faulkner University from 2015-2022. He led the institution through a time of tremendous growth and progress. A significant achievement of his presidency was the creation of the College of Health Sciences and the launch of a state-of-the-art autism center.
Williams’ professional career includes a previous tenure at Harding spanning 28 years. From 1987 to 2003, Williams served in a number of leadership roles within enrollment management. Under his leadership, the University experienced a time of unparalleled enrollment growth. In 2003, Williams was appointed vice president for university advancement, and two fundraising campaigns exceeded their goals during his tenure.
Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration at Harding. In 2008, he completed a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
Williams has served in numerous leadership roles in professional organizations. He also has spoken at a variety of state, regional and national conferences. Deeply committed to community development, Williams also has been involved in numerous leadership roles in community organizations.
He and his wife of 35 years, Lisa (’89), have two sons, Quentin and Cade (’20), and a daughter-in-law, Cailin (’20).
A Harding education conjures up deep emotions and has lofty goals. After a time of prayer and reflection, I determined that my presidential motto would be: Inspired Purpose.
The Office of the President
Meet the other individuals who work in the office of the president. Learn more about Harding's leadership and President's cabinet at harding.edu/leadership. Contact the Office of the President at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Williams, Ed.D.
Jean-Noel Thompson, Ph.D.
Harding University Presidents
John Nelson Armstrong
Enriched Character and Higher Ideals 1924-36
George S. Benson
Liberty is Found in Doing Right 1936-65
Clifton L. Ganus
Pursuit of Excellence 1965-87
David B. Burks
Integrating Faith, Learning and Living 1987-2013, 2020-2022
Bruce D McLarty
Community of Mission 2013-2020
Michael D. Williams
Inspired Purpose 2022-present