Inauguration Celebration

On September 16 Dr. Mike Williams was formally inaugurated as the University’s sixth president in nearly a century.

By Hailey Pruitt | Photography by Jeff Montgomery, Madison Meyer, Abigail Callicoat, Ashel Parsons, Julianne Baker and Grace Hurt | Videography by Jake Ward

“A Harding education conjures up deep emotions and has lofty goals. After a time of prayer and reflection, I determined that my presidential motto would be: Inspired Purpose.

  • Inspired — Anchored in our historic Christian mission, we recognize the very source of our strength: the Spirit of the Lord — a dove to remind us of the one who saves, a fire to impassion us, a wind to refresh and guide us.
  • Purpose — The essence of the Harding experience extends far beyond career preparation. It is a quest for meaning and vision. It is a crucible to discover our values, convictions and direction.
  • Inspired Purpose — We aspire to restore the world to what God intended from the beginning.

As I begin my tenure as the sixth president of Harding University, may we be led, motivated and molded by Inspired Purpose.”

— President Mike Williams

Inspired Purpose

“This inauguration represents a signature moment in the life of this institution — a momentous occasion where we reflect on the vision, heroic sacrifice and unwavering resolve of the founders of Harding University.”
— Dr. Mike Williams, sixth president

“One of the things I love about President Williams is that he knows the names on all the buildings are some of those people who passed the baton, but he also knows that it’s all those people whose names didn’t get on buildings — it’s the people who put food on our plates in the cafeteria; it’s the people who checked us in and took role and operated computers behind the scenes; it’s moms and dads who helped pay for things; and on and on the rippling effects of the Harding community go. We are here today as heirs of that tradition, but it’s not ultimately to glorify Harding. It’s to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.”
— Mike Cope (’78) in chapel on Sept. 15 

“Today, we want the blood of our founders to run in our veins. The torch of inspired purpose has been passed on to us. Each generation has faithfully carried their vision. This is our moment to carry the torch together.”
— Dr. Mike Williams, sixth president

“We have the privilege of walking alongside a man and leader who is humble to the core with a deep sense of what it means to be Christian. He is compassionate for those who need it most and has a zeal for the current life and future hope of our students. His collaborative and Spirit-led leadership provides a bold and steady vision for our work together.”
— Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, executive vice president

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