President

Inauguration of Dr. Michael D. Williams

September 15-16, 2022

Learn more about President Williams

This is the logo for the Harding University 2022 Inauguration of President Michael D. Williams.

The board of trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students request the honor of your presence at the inauguration of Dr. Michael D. Williams as the sixth president of Harding University. Complimentary tickets must be reserved at hardingtickets.com.

Inauguration is a historic event where our community will come together with alumni and friends to celebrate the beginning of Dr. Williams’ presidency. It is an exciting opportunity to hear from our new president and express gratitude for our rich heritage and hope for a bright future.

The inauguration will be the culmination of a series of events celebrating the beginning of Dr. Williams’ tenure.

Schedule of Events

As you make your way to campus, find directions, a walking map, a driving map and parking information at harding.edu/map.

Thursday, Sept. 15 — The Legacy Relay

This is the map for the Legacy Relay as part of the Harding University presidential inauguration for Dr. Mike Williams.

6 a.m. — The Legacy Relay from the original Harding College campus in Morrilton, Arkansas, to the current Harding University campus in Searcy

  • Student runners: Tyler Harrod, Collin Brock, Daniel Watrous, Jackson Pruim, Caleb Chunn, Matt Ingalsbe, Colton Bowman, Zach Reed, Tiag Campney, Paxton Davis, Jada Trice, Noah Haileab, Josie Parks, Noelle King, Nate Perry, Kaylie Washko, Brycen Biskner, Luke Walling, Cecilia Stamrood, Lisa Retailleau, Tucker Allen, Ella Mast, Nick Emlaw, Aiden Davenport, Andrew Smith, Caleb Young, Skyler Marcellus-Ojeda, Caleb Hartzell, Grayson Sutherlin, Sophie Bain, Kaylee Smith, Savannah Cook, Abi Stone and Abby White

4:30 p.m. — The Extra Mile, the symbolic last mile of the relay, will begin at the Harding College arch. Students, faculty, staff and other members of our community are invited to come together to cheer each other on as we walk The Extra Mile through campus, ending at Bison Park.

5-7 p.m. — "Extra Mile" Food Trucks, Bison Park | Joyful Baking Co., Cheesecake on Point, Kona Ice, Over Yonder,  Eddie’s BBQ Shack, Wildflour Bakery and Sladers

7 p.m. — Doublecamp Concert, Bison Park

Harding History Tour — Take a walk down memory lane with the self-guided Harding History Tour! Scan the QR codes at iconic campus locations to learn more about the story of our University.


"The Legacy Relay will be an active symbol of the Harding story. Just as the pioneers of Christian education passed the torch on to the next generation, this relay will begin in Morrilton, Arkansas, at Harding’s original campus, and students will help recreate the story of our history as they run to Searcy.

Our historic legacy has been shaped by men and women with resolute faith and unwavering tenacity who sacrificed greatly to create a foundation for Christian education. For the last century, each generation has been tasked with taking up the mantle and forging ahead, continuing to serve with compassion and boldness.

There are many Spirit-led mentors who have shepherded me and my family throughout our experiences in the Harding community. Their sacrifices have brought us to where we are today, and this is our moment, our opportunity, to decide how we will continue the legacy. We want to raise our sights, believing that there is power in aiming above the goal and trusting God to get us there."

— President Mike Williams

Friday, Sept. 16 — Inauguration Day

7:30 a.m. — Prayer Breakfast, Cone Chapel | Prayers will be led by Dr. Mike Justus, Todd Gentry and Cade Williams.

9 a.m. — Inauguration Celebration, Benson Auditorium | The celebration will be livestreamed.

10:30 a.m. — Coffee Reception with President Mike and Lisa Williams, C.L. Kay Plaza in front of Benson Auditorium

11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. — Food Truck Lunch, Bison Park | Over Yonder, Nach’yo Nachos and Sladers

Harding History Tour — Take a walk down memory lane with the self-guided Harding History Tour! Scan the QR codes at iconic campus locations to learn more about the story of our University.

2-4 p.m. — Celebrations with Academic Colleges | Learn more about the 13 individual events planned for each academic college.

Stay for Family Weekend! Find the full schedule of events here.

Digital Program

Inauguration Celebration Order of Events

  • Processional
  • The History of Harding University
    • Live Narrators: Dr. Michael Claxton, Jason Darden, Jonathan Storment, Stacey Rodenbeck
  • Singing of the Alma Mater led by the Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Susan Shirel
  • Honoring our Community, Student Association President Megan Sledge
  • “We Are Harding,” featuring seniors Watkins Kelly and Emily Stinnett, juniors Carter Thweatt and Tressie Chapman, sophomores James Stone and Adele Duncan, freshmen Hudson Vaughan and Elizabeth Brown, the Thundering Herd Marching Band under the direction of Eric Colgrove, and the Harding University Cheerleaders
  • Message to current students from I Corinthians 9:24, Dr. Phil Brown
  • Reading from The Human Being as Nexus of World and Faith by Landon Saunders, presented by Mike Cope
  • This Is Your Time by J. Reese Norris, Combined Chorus under the direction of Dr. Susan Shirel
  • Personal remarks, Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson
  • Investiture, Dr. Bob Walker
  • Introduction of Harding’s sixth president, Lisa Williams
  • Inaugural Address, Dr. Michael D. Williams
  • Harding’s Global Mission, video featuring alumni:
    • Eddie Shewmaker (’44) — Westfield, New Jersey
    • Sujin Nelson (‘08) — Vienna, Austria
    • Katie Copeland (’09) and Jeremy (’09) Daggett — Arequipa, Peru
    • Rusty Campbell (’10) — Camp Bellevue in Tabacundo, Ecuador
    • Louis Bassay (’18) and Linda Behn Sangha Epse Bassay (’22) — Cameroon
    • Albert Cook (’93) — Bucharest, Romania
    • Dr. Steve Teel (’74) — Instituto Baxter, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
    • Nathan (’19) and Emily Reid (‘18) House — Turkey
    • Philip Matheny (’03) — St. Louis and Burkina Faso, West Africa
    • Derek (’20) and Jennifer Williams (’17) King — Vancouver Island, Canada
    • Maikon Borba (’20) — Coconut Creek, Florida
    • Matt Gulley (’04) and Nikki Roussos (’01) Gulley — Athens, Greece
    • Avyn Elizabeth Dodds (kindergarten student at Harding Academy)
  • Prayer, Dr. Greg Harris
  • Christ Be All Around Me by Michael W. Smith, Combined Chorus under the direction of Dr. Jay Walls
  • Recessional

Academic Delegates, College Presidents and Representatives

Academic Delegates

  • Dr. Robert A. McCready II, Université de Toulouse (Toulouse, France)
  • Dr. Robert Allen Diles, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Dr. Rodney Richmond, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Ronald Smith, University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Dr. Cheri Pierson Yecke, University of Virginia
  • Hannah Wood, M.A., The George Washington University
  • Dr. Julie Hixson-Wallace, Mercer University
  • Dr. Shawn Daggett, Boston University
  • Enrique Colón, MFA, University of Notre Dame
  • Dr. Mac Sandlin, University of Dayton
  • Melinda Huff, M.S., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Dr. Denise Fisher, Iowa State University
  • Dr. Ross Cochran, Boston College
  • Dr. David Adams, University of Kansas
  • Dr. Whitaker Jordan, University of Kentucky
  • Dr. Steven Breezeel, University of Illinois
  • Dr. James Huff, Purdue University
  • Dr. Cindy White, Colorado State University
  • Dr. Cliff Ganus, University of Colorado
  • Dr. Steven Moore, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Dr. Ken Turley, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Dale W. Manor, University of Arizona
  • Jeanie Burt, MSN, Clarkson College
  • Dr. Laurie Diles, University of Oklahoma
  • Dr. James Burk, Washington State University
  • Mendy McClelland, M.A., Trinity International University
  • Dr. Jeanie Smith, Southwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Dr. Anita Killins, University of Central Arkansas
  • Dr. Jim Miller, Kappa Tau Alpha National College Honor Society
  • Dr. Jessica Moore, Middle Tennessee State University
  • Charles Robin Miller, MFA, The University of Memphis
  • Dr. Rich Brown, Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society
  • Dr. Debbie Duke, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society
  • Michael Allen, MS, Sloan School at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Trixie Pittman, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Dr. Julie Harris, Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society
  • Lara Noah, B.A., Alpha Chi National College Honor Society
  • Dr. Kristi Bond, Phi Sigma Iota National Honor Society
  • Dr. Melanie Liann Gallagher, Texas Tech University
  • Dr. Lisa Ritchie, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Dr. Frank McCown, Old Dominion University
  • Dr. Anessa Westbrook, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Laurie Walker, M.S., Florida Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Zachary P. Muncy, UALR - William H. Bowen School of Law
  • Dr. Todd Patten, Chi Sigma Iota International Honor Society

Christian College and other college representatives

  • Dr. Michael Turner, President of Amridge University
  • Dr. Richard Johnson, President of Crowley’s Ridge College
  • Dr. Milton Sewell, Chancellor of Freed-Hardeman University
  • Dr. Kirk Brothers, President of Heritage Christian University
  • Dr. Jennifer Methvin, Chancellor at ASU - Beebe
  • Dr. James Krall, VP of Advancement at John Brown University
  • Dr. Jay Brewster, Provost at Pepperdine
  • James Wiser, Dean of Library Science and Educational Technology at Abilene Christian
  • Dr. Mitch Henry, President of Faulkner University

Government Representatives

  • Jonathan Dismang, Arkansas Senator
  • Keith Brooks, Arkansas Representative
  • Daryl Bassett, Secretary of Labor

Alumni Delegates

1940s Harding Alumnus

  • Eddie Shewmaker (’44)

1950s Harding Alumni

  • Mary Ellen Swain (’50) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Glenn Boyd (’52) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Joan Hacker (’52) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Kent Rollmann (’53) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Norma Lou Rollman (’53) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Corene Stevens (’53) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Bobby Coker (’56) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Johnice Hearn (’56) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Marilee Coker (’58) Searcy, Arkansas

1960s Harding Alumni

  • Harold A. Valentine (’61) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Dee Kernodle (’64) Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Nancy Banta (’65) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Ronald L. French (’65) Tipton, Oklahoma
  • Dwight Pierce (’66) Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Dorothy Ann Pierce (’66) Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Karla French (’67) Tipton, Oklahoma
  • Linda Byrd Smith (’67) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Ann Dixon (’68) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Dr. Jan C. Morgan (’69) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Dr. Sheri Shearin (’69) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Nancy Ashley Lamb (’69) Maumelle, Arkansas
  • David Cole (‘69)

1970s Harding Alumni

  • Dr. Arthur Shearin (’70) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Donald Miller (’71) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Don Sandlin (’73) Beebe, Arkansas
  • Timothy J. Hacker, DDS, FAAID, D-ABOI (’74) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Tim Holder (’79) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Mackye Sandlin (’75) Beebe, Arkansas
  • Liz Howell (’78) Searcy, Arkansas
  • M. Kathryn Robison (‘79) Harding University College of Pharmacy

1980s Harding Alumni

  • Patti Jo Dillard White (’80) Ferndale, Arkansas
  • Dennis R. Bacon (’80) Lee’s Summit, Missouri
  • Sherry Nossaman (’83) Benton, Arkansas
  • Kathy Louise Coley Greenman (’83) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Michael B. Wood (’84) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Matthew Ford (’85) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Joanne Ford (’85) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Michele Roder Griffith (’89) Memphis, Tennessee
  • Robin Wenger Riddick (’89) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Lance Riddick (’89) Searcy, Arkansas

1990s Harding Alumni

  • Todd D. Kempton (’90) Van, Texas
  • Bryan Grover Jackson (’91) White Hall, Arkansas
  • John T. Scott (’93) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Robin M. Hill (’94) Sherwood, Arkansas
  • Dana Marie Martin (’95) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Caroline Clements Smith, MD (’96) Hillsborough, North Carolina
  • Briana Cunningham (’98) Plummerville, Arkansas

2000s Harding Alumni

  • Patrick Bewley (’00) Carrollton, Texas
  • Jason McGlawn (’00) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Katie Towell (’02) Beebe, Arkansas
  • Micheal Felker (’03) Mansfield, Texas
  • Dr. LT Daniel McGraw (’04) Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Andy Goodman (’04) Greenbrier, Arkansas
  • Nate Copeland (’06) Mobile, Alabama
  • Ivy Wang (’08) Searcy, Arkansas

2010s Harding Alumni

  • Dr. Jake Brownfield (’11) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Adam Brown (’12) Brentwood, Tennessee
  • Franklin Franks (’12) Cabot, Arkansas
  • Melinda Johnson (’13) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Courtland Hemphill (’14) Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Sierra Chaney (’16) Bald Knob, Arkansas

2020s Harding Alumni

  • Spencer Wright (’20) Searcy, Arkansas
  • Ethan Brazell (’21) Duluth, Georgia
  • Covington Crain (’23) Little Rock, Arkansas

Inauguration Committees

Inauguration Committee

  • Candice Moore, chair
  • Luke Humphrey
  • Cindy Hunter
  • Heather Kemper
  • Britt Lynn
  • Stephen Martin
  • Dr. Travis McNeal
  • Zach Neal
  • Emily Roberts
  • Megan Sledge
  • Megan Stroud
  • Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson
  • Hannah Wood

Inauguration Subcommittees

Legacy Relay Subcommittee

  • Britney Finley
  • Wayne Westerholm
  • Don Hood
  • Justin Bland
  • Tia Stone
  • Mark Prior
  • Jessica Moore
  • Kara Abston
  • J.D. Yingling
  • Kevin Davis
  • Madison Meyer
  • Zach Neal
  • Megan Sledge

Prayer Breakfast, Coffee Launch and Board Reception Subcommittee

  • Emily Roberts
  • Cindy Hunter
  • Sharon Williams
  • Sydney Bryant
  • Laurel Shearin

Video Production Subcommittee

  • Britt Lynn
  • Hailey Pruitt
  • Megan Stroud
  • Jake Ward
  • Hannah Wood

Audio Visual & Technical Crew

  • Jonathan Aders
  • Hannah Dodson
  • Britt Lynn
  • Bryan Davis
  • Mark Prior
  • Sullivan Hickman
  • Levi Huddleston
  • Kylie Jones
  • Kat Ream
  • Maggie Tackitt
  • Hayden Bailey
  • Hannah Haddix

Music Subcommittee

  • Dr. Eric Colgrove
  • Dr. Susan Shirel
  • Dr. Jay Walls
  • Dr. Warren Casey

Media Relations Subcommittee

  • Katie Clement

Graphic Design and Marketing Subcommittee

  • Luke Humphrey
  • Cherisse Gregory
  • Tim Cox
  • Todd Kiles
  • Kendal Escue

Extra Mile Party and Concert Subcommittee

  • Meg Sledge
  • Abby Stinnett
  • Zach Neal
  • Heather Kemper
  • Rachel Luallen

Volunteer and Ticketing Management Subcommittee

  • Kara Abston
  • Joanna Crisco
  • Cindy Hunter
  • Heather Kemper
  • Rachel Luallen
  • Britt Lynn

Harding University Presidential Cabinet

  • Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, Executive Leadership Team
  • Tammy Hall, Executive Leadership Team
  • Dr. Marty Spears, Executive Leadership Team
  • Dr. Dan Atchley, Dean
  • Dr. Bryan Burks, Vice President
  • Dr. J. Warren Casey, Dean
  • Dr. Monte Cox, Dean
  • Keith Cronk, Chief Information Officer
  • Dr. Allen Frazier, Dean
  • Zane Gastineau, Dean
  • Jim Gurchiek, Superintendent Harding Academy
  • Tim Jones, Assistant Vice President
  • Dr. Kevin Kehl, Dean
  • Dr. Susan Kehl, Dean
  • Steve Lake, Vice President
  • Dr. Donny Lee, Dean
  • Dr. Jim Martin, Vice President
  • Dr. Mike McGalliard, Assistant Provost
  • Dr. Travis McNeal, President of FLC
  • Candice Moore, Assistant Vice President
  • Jeff Morgan, Athletic Director
  • Dr. Andrea Morris, Assistant to the Provost
  • Zach Neal, Vice President
  • David Ross, Assistant Vice President
  • Dr. Dana Steil, Assistant Provost

Harding University Board of Trustees

  • Dr. Robert C. Walker, Chairman
  • Charles Ganus, Vice-Chairman
  • Dr. John Simmons, Secretary
  • Harold Redd, Treasurer
  • Roy Reaves, Past Chairman
  • Tim Bewley
  • Craig Cheatham
  • Stephanie Cochran
  • Jimmy Cone
  • Mark Crews
  • Harrell Freeman
  • Jim Holsombake
  • Lindy Ingram
  • Dr. Mike Justus
  • Robin Maynard
  • John Reese
  • Dr. Swaid Swaid
  • David Waldron
  • Rodney Waller
  • Mark Weeks
  • Judge Joe Wild
  • Dr. Howard Wright

Student Association

  • Megan Sledge, President
  • Laney Bell, Vice President
  • Britney Njeri, Secretary
  • Grant Moore, Treasurer
  • Taylor Hill, Senior Male Representative
  • AC Williams, Senior Female Representative
  • Max Guyer, Junior Male Representative
  • Ella Duryea, Junior Female Representative
  • D. Ray Brown, Sophomore Male Representative
  • Abigail Callicoat, Sophomore Female Representative
  • Grayson Hume, Freshman Male Representative
  • Elizabeth Brown, Freshman Female Representative
  • Hector Tabora, International Representative
  • Emeth Camano, International Representative

Harding University Presidents

1924-36

1936-65

1965-87

1987-2013, 2020-22

2013-20

2022-present