By Mike Williams, president |
Harding is deeply embedded in my DNA. I remember walking the Benson stage and graduating with my undergraduate degree as the first person in my family to graduate college. What a pivotal moment that was. I have walked over every inch of this campus giving campus tours. And my memories of those tours are not the towering, magnificent oaks or the beautiful azaleas and budding dogwoods in the spring. They are the administrative assistants, faculty members and staff members who shepherded my life as an undergraduate and as a young staffer.
It is absolutely humbling to be asked to serve as the sixth president of Harding. For my wife, 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 than any earthly possession. We are impassioned to make a Harding education a reality for a new era of emerging adults.
At this consequential moment, we find ourselves in a sea of change in American higher education. Coupled with this market upheaval, we are seeing the value of a Christ-centered education being questioned. Given this challenging landscape, I believe we pursue these imperatives:
- First and foremost, we run toward our mission. We strive to envision a contemporary expression of our historical mission while anchoring ourselves in God.
- Second, we relentlessly pursue excellence. We build on our tremendous strengths, and we attack our weaknesses with tenacity.
- Finally — and the fun part — with ingenuity, creativity and innovation, we envision a bold future for Harding. We need a “second-century ethos” that is bold, courageous and aspirational. Our founders would want nothing less.
I am honored to introduce you to the newest member of the senior leadership team who will play a key role in these imperatives at Harding, Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, our executive vice president. Read more about him.
Given the seismic changes in our culture, the world needs Harding to be Spirit-led, robust and relevant. I pray that the Harding Nation will lock arms with us as our collective dreams come 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.