Holding onto the memories

By Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer |

I wrote my editor’s remarks for the colophon of the 1978 Petit Jean never thinking I might be writing one for any other Harding publication ever. I left Harding the day after my graduation in May 1978 to return to my home state of Pennsylvania with no idea if or when I would ever return to my alma mater. I remember running to the art building for one last look that very early Monday spring morning before my parents arrived to pick me up in front of the Heritage Center. There I found two of my dear friends, Polly Mullen and Anthea Harvey, who also had graduated the day before and had chosen to spend their last night at Harding creating one more art project. Polly gave me hot off the press one of her prints fittingly titled “Never Letting Go.” It hangs in my home to this day. Yet, I returned 12½ years later, and now I am completing my final issue after serving 31 years as editor and designer of this magazine and its predecessor, the Bulletin

I can’t remember when I didn’t have a passion for publications. Putting beautiful photos and captivating words together into layouts which capture the eye has always intrigued me. I loved yearbooks and would carefully study any I could get my hands on to gain all the ideas I could while in high school and college. And I truly love magazines: the smell of ink, the feel of paper in my hands, and all the creative ideas and thought that go into making each publication a reality. It was my desire to work on one, and editing and designing Harding’s has been a great honor and privilege. 

But this magazine has never been anything about me; it has always been about our readers and sharing the Harding story with alumni and friends, while connecting across the miles. As I retire and look back, I am proud of the stories we have been able to tell. And I feel frivolous using this page to say anything, even after playing a part in creating 105 magazines and bulletins.

So many great times and people have blessed my life more than I ever could have imagined. There are too many names to mention, but I have to list a few. David Crouch hired and mentored me for 25 years and was a huge blessing to my life and family. Floyd Daniel was David’s boss and such an encourager. Our photographer, Jeff Montgomery, has been by my side for almost the entire time, and I can’t imagine a better friend or photographer. Pat Golding was my printing sales rep at Magna IV in Little Rock, Arkansas, the majority of the time, and a more caring representative there could not have been. The customer service I received at Magna from Barbara Bosshardt was the absolute best. There have been so many talented copy editors, writers and contributors through the years who became more than staff; they became family.

I can’t imagine what it will feel like to get a copy of this magazine without having poured myself into it. I will always be a fan and look forward to seeing it flourish while reading the stories of this great University that will continue to be told so capably.

What I said in that yearbook colophon in 1978 holds true for this publication, too. It has been a part of me; I hope you have found a part of yourself here.

Thanks, Harding, for enriching my life and allowing me to share through this magazine the Harding story with you, our readers, wherever you may be.

Categories: End Note.


  1. Lola Crouch

    Tom, there is no way you could have been a greater blessing to this publication and to the amazing campus you portrayed in its pages. All issues were designed with the touch of your masterful hand and mind. Thank you for providing this wonderful publication to all of those with a love for Harding. It helped create the beautiful portrait of our beloved Harding University, and your legacy will go on and on as we all remember your devotion to Harding as evidenced in the archives of The Harding Magazine. Thank you for your 31 years!!

  2. Shelly Medley

    I remember Polly Mullen very well. We had ceramic class together with Paul Pitt! Polly was also good friends with my roommate, Laurie. She came to our room often. I think you were in a drawing class with me…can’t remember professors name, maybe Sullivan???

    Small world!

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