By Tom Buterbaugh | Photography by Jeff Montgomery and Madison Meyer
Homecoming 2021 brought a spirited fellowship to campus. Alumni returned to partake in more than 100 events, including the Heritage Circle Banquet Thursday evening, the Black & Gold Banquet Friday evening, the parade Saturday morning, a whopping 64-7 victory by the football team Saturday afternoon following a huge tailgate with several food trucks, the magical musical “Elf” Friday and Saturday evenings, and the Sankofa Gala Saturday evening.
The highlight of the weekend was the dedication of the
Anthony and Wright Administration Building Saturday morning along with three monuments honoring the seven African American alumni who were trailblazers on the path of integration. Families and friends of J.C. Lewis Brown, Walter Cunningham, David Johnson, Thelma Fae Smith, Curtis Sykes, Elijah Anthony and Howard Wright joyfully participated in the moving ceremony.
Bro. Anthony said in his response, “See what the Lord has done.” Dr. Wright expressed it as “a bridge over a racial divide displaying unity, progress and love.”
Reuniting never felt so good.
Dr. Cliff Ganus directs the Alumni Chorus in the McInteer rotunda Saturday morning. The event honored Ganus on his recent retirement. Before giving their remarks, Dr. Howard Wright and Bro. Elijah Anthony congratulate each other during the dedication ceremony of the Administration Building named in their honor. Following the dedication ceremony on Saturday, Ann Ford, Grant, Tamika and Michael Williams tour the exhibit recognizing the contributions of the first African American students at Harding in the Anthony and Wright Administration Building. Latonya Brown, the daughter of J.C. Lewis Brown, Cortney Bradley Akins and Khim Owens Baggett pose with the plaque and honorary diploma awarded to Brown. Latonya Brown receives her father’s honorary bachelor’s degree from President David Burks as David Robinson and Tiffany Byers watch. David Robinson accepts an honorary bachelor’s degree for his brother, Walter Cunningham, from President David Burks as Latonya Brown and Tiffany Byers look on. Their faces reflect the joy found in giving as David and Betsy Waldron endow the Waldron Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business chair in the ceremony held Friday afternoon of Homecoming week by the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration. Iota Chi members ride down Park Avenue in the Homecoming parade. Pi Theta Phi members have fun participating in the Homecoming parade, a tradition revived last year. Members of Phi Kappa Delta enjoy the Homecoming parade Saturday morning. Corn hole is a popular activity at the tailgate before the football game. The cheerleaders and band perform for the crowd at the tailgate before the Homecoming game. Alumni Maria Winfree, Rob and Sherry Nossaman, Joel Reed, Cathy Haynes, and Robin and Lance Riddick reunite at the tailgate before the game. Running back Blake Delacruz gains yardage during the Bisons 64-7 victory over University of Arkansas at Monticello. Entering from the Huckeba Field House, the Bison football team runs onto the field for the Homecoming game. Special teams member Kendale Allen returns the ball down the field. Escorted by her father, Deanna Hutson, representing Delta Gamma Rho, happily reacts to her pronouncement as the 2021 Homecoming Queen at halftime festivities. William Harness, Lydia Leila Black, Asher Patten, Kylie Coffey and Joel Hoggard perform in the Homecoming musical, “Elf,” providing delightful entertainment for audiences Friday and Saturday evening. Leads in “Elf” perform for the Homecoming crowd. The finale of “Elf”was magical. Curtis Sykes’ daughter, Curlethia Sykes-Swanigan, and his wife, Delois, accept a “First” award on his behalf at the Sankofa Gala Saturday evening. Speaking on behalf of Thelma Fae Smith at the Sankofa Gala is her granddaughter, Gina Fayette Smith Jones. The Thelma Fae Smith Diversity in Education Scholarship has been established in Smith’s honor. Zach and Janel Steed and Leslie Echols participate in the President’s Council meeting. Randy and Debbie Walters enjoy celebrating their son being named Outstanding Young Alumnus with family friend, Tristan Grant, at the Black & Gold Banquet.
College of Bible and Ministry Outstanding Alumnus John Barton addresses the crowd at the Black & Gold Banquet Friday evening. Bretton Brown, the son of J.C. Lewis Brown, one of the first three African American undergraduate students to attend Harding in 1963, looks over the program before the dedication ceremony. Brown and the other two students, Walter Cunningham and David Johnson, were awarded honorary degrees at the ceremony Saturday morning. Emotions run high for Dr. Howard Wright and Bro. Elijah Anthony at the dedication ceremony. Practice makes perfect for Grant Ennis who made all six of his PATs during the Homecoming victory. Homecoming Queen Deanna Hutson receives congratulations from the crowd, her court and last year’s queen, Chantel Moore. Reciting a poem she wrote for the occasion, Abby Stone addresses the crowd gathered in Cone Chapel for the Sankofa Gala, a celebration of the pioneers who paved the way for integration and diversity at Harding.