Excellence lived

By Jantzen Haley

Each year, the University takes time to seek out and acknowledge alumni who stand out in their fields and their communities — no small task with more than 90 years of graduates from which to choose. Harding graduates continually set the bar high and exemplify the University’s mission to integrate faith, learning and living; develop Christian scholarship; promote Christian ethics; develop lasting relationships; and to promote wellness and citizenship within a global perspective. The following individuals are recognized for living with excellence and setting the standard high.

Distinguished Alumni

Dr. Jim (’61) and Maralyn Bailey (’62) Citty have been servants in Searcy for some time. Jim is well known for his medical practice at Unity Health Medical Center, and both are longtime members at College Church of Christ and supporters of the University.

Jim graduated with a degree in biology and went on to receive his medical degree from University of Tennessee in 1965. Maralyn earned a degree in education and completed a master’s in education in 1982.   

“A tribute to my wife of 58 years who greatly encouraged me in everything I’ve attempted to accomplish, including my pursuit of medical training,” Jim said of his decision to become a physician. “To love God and others, of course, are the two great commands. I believe in serving the sick and dying, you manifest to others what the love of God is all about. Though never done perfectly it can be a great tool to draw others to Christ.”

Their commitment to living out the greatest commands are clear in abundant volunteer activities and numerous awards. Jim has been Public Health Clinician of the Year (1995) and Searcy Medical Professional of the Year (2004). Maralyn is a member of Women for Harding, and both stay involved with the University and College Church of Christ, where Jim is an elder.

“Maralyn has always been the wind beneath my wings, and I would be nothing without her — I love her,” Jim said. “My family has been an inspiration. I love them more than you can imagine — they are strong and faithful and have never given us one moment of concern for their spiritual safety.”

The Cittys have four grown children, Kent, Kellee Blickenstaff (’87), Kris (’92) and Kyle (’94).

Outstanding Young Alumni

Steve (’02) and Lindsay Snow (’02) Cloer have devoted their lives to mission and ministry. As a couple, they look to Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well,” for guidance in every aspect of the life they have built in Fort Worth, Texas, where they live with their three children, Joshua, Bethany and Lydia.

Steve is a preaching minister at South-side Church of Christ — a calling he felt from an early age. Working in an urban neighborhood, Steve is particularly thankful for opportunities to have conversations about racial unity and to be a leader in demonstrating that the gospel stretches beyond racial lines. Lindsay is a middle school teacher at Fort Worth Christian School, where she gets to use her passion and talents to provide hope to children and teenagers. She stayed home with her children when they were young but has enjoyed being more active in their schools as they have grown. Teaching, volunteering and serving in children’s ministry and local schools is Lindsay’s passion, and she is grateful to work alongside organizations with a similar vision.

“Lindsay and I consider ourselves urban missionaries,” Steve said. “Observing a teacher getting baptized, watching a struggling family receive help and hope, welcoming a child to hear the good news of Jesus — these are the stories that encourage us. It has been so rewarding to see God use our church to be a blessing to our neighborhood through serving, helping, giving and proclaiming the good news.”

College of Allied Health

Dr. Dan Tullos (’73) says he stumbled into speech-language pathology but quickly came to realize that it was a good fit, evident in his nearly 40-year career with the University’s communication department and College of Allied Health. He served as a pivotal member of the faculty, helping to build and grow the communication sciences and disorders undergraduate and graduate programs.

“Speech-language pathology is a ‘helping’ profession and gave me the opportunity to give back to the patients I served,” Tullos said. “I enjoyed the opportunity to train the best and most ethical speech pathologists out there.”

In addition to teaching at Harding, Tullos worked as a speech-language pathologist, clinical supervisor and diagnostician at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada and at the Regional Medical Program at Jenkins Children’s Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He also was a visiting professor at Fort Hays State University, University of Central Arkansas and University of Mississippi.

“I loved helping individuals communicate better and being present when they realized that they were in control,” Tullos said. “I enjoy hearing from former patients, especially when they remind me of the impact of speech and language skills.”

Tullos became a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2000 and also received honors from ASHA in 1998 and the Frank R. Kleffner Clinical Achievement Award in 2016. He was recognized with a Distinguished Teacher Award from the University in 1991. Tullos was recently awarded a Faithful Servant Award by Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting. Additionally, he has been honored with awards by Boy Scouts of America, the National Eagle Scout Association, and Alberta Children’s Hospital.

He and his wife, Keri Thompson (’81) (deceased), have a son, Ian. Tullos resides in Searcy and continues to teach an ethics course in the CSD graduate program.

College of Arts & Humanities

To say Tim Cox (’94) has talent would be an understatement. Creativity is his calling, and he shares that with others through his work as a freelance designer and as an assistant professor for graphic design at Johnson and Wales University.

In 2018, Cox received two awards for his graphic design work. Printing Industry Association of the South presented Cox an Award of Excellence for four-color program design and soft-cover book design. Cox puts thought and intention into every aspect of his designs, and he teaches his students to do the same.

“I think of design as a puzzle and how it is creatively solved,” Cox said. “I love helping guide students to finding new answers to those puzzles. Their new thoughts also help me to be a better designer.”

Cox credits his talent and everything he does as completely from God, not from himself. His positive influence can be seen and felt by the University’s communication and marketing office as he shares his creative genius in his role of freelance designer. He previously worked there full time while also serving as an adjunct professor in the art department.

“I have drawn since I was little and eventually became a designer,” Cox said. “Once I started adjunct teaching, I loved working with students.”

Cox’s story leading to his career as a designer is not as simple as he describes, and he shares more about his faith, medical trials and life in general in his blog, available at notgoinggentle2.wordpress.com.

Cox and his wife, Erin Harrington (’99), live in Warwick, Rhode Island, with their two children, Corban and Sully.

College of Bible & Ministry

Dr. Leonard Allen (’73) has spent his career studying Christian history — what he calls “the big story and the subplots in the story” — to learn how it shaped the Christian story he inherited. He has authored several books as a result of his research and has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, helping students understand the Christian story and their place in it.

“The books [I’ve written] have assisted many thousands of people — older and younger — in gaining a larger and broader perspective on their own Christian heritage and on the ‘great tradition’ of the faith,” Allen said. “Many hundreds have written over the years saying how satisfying, ‘freeing,’ and faith-building this has been for them — that is the rewarding part.”

Allen is the current dean of the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University where he oversees the undergraduate Bible program, student mission trips, Hazelip School of Theology and the Institute for Christian Spirituality. He previously worked as publisher and editor-in-chief for Abilene Christian University Press and also has taught at ACU, Biola University, Fuller Theological Seminary and John Brown University.

He worked with campus ministries during his tenure at different colleges, including Lipscomb. He also has previously helped to plant an inner-city church and assists with preaching and Bible class teaching.

Allen’s wife, Holly Catterton (’73), also is an educator and author, specializing in children’s spiritual formation and intergenerational Christian formation. They live in Nashville, Tennessee, and have three children, David, Daniel and Bethany, and five grandchildren.

College of Business Administration

Byron Carlock (’84) has 31 years of professional experience, currently leading PwC’s U.S. Real Estate Practice. Since graduating from the University, he has participated in the international Asian Studies Program at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he was a Rotary scholar, and earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

He has held several positions in the real estate investment trust industry, including more than 10 years with CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc., where he was CEO and president, and leadership roles at Post Properties and Crow Holdings International.

Carlock stays connected with the schools he attended, holding board membership at Har­ding’s Carter College of Business Administration, Harvard Club of Dallas and Harvard Business School. He also is currently a governor of the Urban Land Institute and a member of Real Estate Roundtable and the National Association of REITs.

He is committed to continued economic and social change in the Arkansas Delta region, where he is chairing fundraising for the National Cold War Museum that is to be built in Blytheville, Arkansas, on the site of the former Air Force base.

He has been featured extensively in media, including Fox Business News and The New York Times, and writes a monthly column for National Real Estate Investor. He was recently named one of the D500 most influential businessmen in Dallas by D Magazine.

Carlock lives in Dallas and has three children, Elizabeth Phillips, Barker and Trey (’12) (deceased), and three grandchildren.

College of Education

Dr. Jan Chesshir Morgan (’69) devoted her career to education, graduating from the University with a degree in music education and teaching at School of Hope, White County Central Schools, Harding Academy, and ultimately at the University in the College of Education.

Watching her mother in the classroom — teaching and influencing students who loved her and her class — led Morgan to pursue the field. She spent years teaching either music or special education, and she retired — now holding the title of distinguished professor emeritus — from teaching at the University, teaching future educators.

“I absolutely loved teaching, whether it was small children or adults, whether it was music or special education, and whether it was in a public school setting, private education setting or college classroom,” Morgan said. “It has been so rewarding seeing my students become successful teachers.”

Her passion evident to others, she was honored many times during the span of her career and recognized with a Distinguished Teacher Award from the University in the 1993-94, 1998-99 and 2011-12 academic years.

“I had the opportunity to show Christ’s love in my interaction with students,” Morgan said. “My prayer was that the Golden Rule could be seen in my classroom, and it was rewarding to help my students grow academically and spiritually.”

Morgan and her husband, Paul, live in Searcy and enjoy time with their two children, Brent (’97) and Melani Blansett (’04), and four grandchildren.

College of Nursing

Graduating from the Carr College of Nursing with her bachelor’s in nursing was only the beginning for Dr. Kim Hardy Leverett (’98), RN, FNP-BC, PMH/CNS-BC, but her time at Harding built a solid foundation for her career in health care.

“The culture of the College of Nursing was steeped in calling and commitment,” Leverett said. “Commitment to excellence in one’s craft and being ever mindful of our higher calling or purpose was fundamental.”

Leverett has spent the last 20 years working in a number of settings: adult and pediatric primary care, geriatric home health, research and psychiatric/mental health within crisis stabilization units, community centers and private practice.

“Knowledge and experience of the power and potential for hope in moments of shared humanity led me to nursing,” Leverett said. “Nursing is my vocation and, though it’s been one in which the fields I have practiced have undergone evolutions and the numerous settings may appear disparate, the common denominator has always been the human peering back at me.”

After years spent working in the field, Leverett feels she can pay it forward by sharing her experience and education with the next generation of nurses. She is currently an assistant professor in the Augusta University College of Nursing Biobehavioral Department.

“Hands down, [the most rewarding part of my job] is the people I get to engage, collaborate and sit with, listen and learn from, serve and attend to, whether I call those individuals student, patient or peer,” Leverett said. “There is such a deep need for people to share their stories and for those stories to be heard and held. It has been humbling, sobering and the privilege of a lifetime to serve as a witness bearer, to hear and hold all manner of stories from all manner of people over various parts of this world, often in their most vulnerable moments.”

Leverett and her husband, David, live in Watkinsville, Georgia, with their sons, Luke and Joel.

College of Sciences

Dr. Eddie Shields (‘85) earned more than a bachelor’s degree in biology from Harding. He considers the University to be one of the greatest blessings of his life, preparing him for the additional education he pursued to become a physician.

“The biblical foundation and spiritual growth that I experienced while at Harding set me on a trajectory for continued spiritual growth and a deepening relationship with God,” Shields said.

Shields feels he is able to shine a light and use his God-given gifts and talents in his daily interactions with patients at the Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic, where he has practiced since earning his medical degree.

“I have always loved science and the intricate details of God’s design,” Shields said. “I also love helping others. Medicine allows me to use science to help people in a unique way that uses the gifts that God has given me. I love putting the medical pieces of the puzzle together and coming up with a treatment plan to help the patient get better. I love the relationships that I am able to build and the families that I am able to help.”

Shields is a member of Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he has served as an elder, deacon, Bible class teacher and discipleship leader with the youth group.

He and his wife, Paula Taylor (deceased), have two children, Taylor and Carter

Categories: Alumni Profiles.

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