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About Dr. Bruce D. McLarty

Dr. Bruce D. McLarty was named the fifth president of Harding University Nov. 1, 2012. He officially began his role as president June 1, 2013.

Prior to being named president, Dr. McLarty was University vice president for spiritual life for eight years. Before his work at Harding, he was the pulpit minister at College Church of Christ in Searcy from 1991-2005. Before coming to Searcy, he preached in Cookeville, Tenn.; Memphis, Tenn.; Marks, Miss.; and Williford, Ark. He and his wife, Ann, also spent time in Meru, Kenya, as missionaries.

McLarty entered Harding as a freshman in 1975 following his graduation from Harding Academy in Memphis. He received his bachelor’s degree in Bible from then Harding College in 1978. 

In 1982 he received the Master of Theology degree from Harding School of Theology in Memphis. In 2010 he was awarded the Doctor of Ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio.

McLarty joined Harding’s administrative team in 2005 serving as both vice president for spiritual life and dean of the College of Bible and Ministry. He served in the dual positions until 2008.

Prior to joining the Harding faculty, McLarty served as a minister for congregations in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, including the Collegeside church of Christ in Cookeville. He and his family had also served 15 months as missionaries in Meru, Kenya, in East Africa. For 14 years McLarty was the pulpit minister for the College Church of Christ in Searcy, Ark. 

During his tenure at Harding, McLarty has been a frequent speaker at lecture series on other college campuses including Abilene Christian University, Freed-Hardeman University, Lipscomb University, Ohio Valley University, Oklahoma Christian University and Pepperdine University. His has been a guest lecturer in several European countries.

McLarty is the author of two books and more than two-dozen other articles for publications. In 1999 he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College of Bible and Ministry at Harding. He has written articles for 21st Century Christian Magazine, Upreach Magazine, Image Magazine, The Gospel Advocate, and Harding’s Church and Family Magazine. In addition to writing articles, he also wrote a book, Journey of Faith: Walking With Jesus Through the Gospel of John, which was published in 1997.

McLarty is the son of Durley and Sue McLarty of Cookeville. He is married to the former Ann Hutson, a Harding alumna and currently a nurse in Harding’s Health Services Center. The couple has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. 

During his inaugural address Sept. 20, 2013, Dr. McLarty coined the phrase “A Community of Mission” as a definition for what Harding has been, is and aims to become. He hopes to continue to bring the student body, faculty and staff together as a community as everyone works to daily serve God and each other.