Archives for Alumni Profiles

Where talent meets passion

By Luke Humphrey A self-professed hometown girl — born and raised in Searcy — Dr. Alice-Anne Murray Light (’07) credits her roots at Harding for her ongoing love of performing. She is currently an assistant professor of voice at Texas Tech University, but her talents have taken her around the world. Her mezzo-soprano voice has been lauded within the competitive world of vocal performance, earning
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Reflections on a century

By Hailey Pruitt Jan. 22, 2022, Eddie Shewmaker (’44) celebrated his 100th birthday, inspiring a walk down memory lane. “I was destined to come to Harding,” he said. His grandparents were farmers in Green County, Arkansas. When his grandmother, Emma Shewmaker, heard about plans to establish a Christian college in Morrilton, Arkansas, she moved there, taking four of her sons to attend a school that
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Perfect Record

Dr. Leon Blue (’72) has been running for most of his adult life. From 5Ks to full marathons, he has run hundreds of miles. A cardiologist by trade, Blue graduated from Harding and attended University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for medical school and post-graduate training. In total, with residency and his cardiology fellowship, he spent nine years in post-graduate training and education before he
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Loving her neighbor

Selflessly donating one of her kidneys in March 2021 has proven to be a valuable lesson for Natalie Nill (’11) in the biblical teaching of loving one’s neighbor — a lesson she carries throughout every aspect of her life, including her engineering career at Boeing Co. Nill’s donation story began in September 2019 when she read a story about a mother of three whose only
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Gymnastics chief of staff

Lauryn Rydl Turner’s (’96) time at Harding was influential in preparing her for her current role as chief of staff for USA Gymnastics. After finishing her time as a Bison cheerleader and graduating with a degree in math and computer science, Turner taught math and Spanish for three years in and near Jackson, Tennessee, while also coaching competitive cheerleading.  Though Turner said she enjoyed teaching,
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Photographic exposure

To celebrate Black History Month in February, Apple commissioned 32 Black photographers from all over the U.S. to capture their hometown through the lens of an iPhone 12 Pro in a series aptly named “Hometown.” Searching for talented photographers to feature, Apple reached out to Joseph Ross Smith (’18), professionally known as Joseph Ross, to photograph his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after graduating, Ross
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Oklahoma’s Secretary of Education

Profile: Ryan Walters By Katie Clement From day one, Ryan Walters (’10) has been influenced by and invested in education. From high school and college teachers to family to career, it has had a big impact on his life.  “I had several teachers who made a tremendous difference in my life while attending McAlester Public Schools,” said Walters. “I knew while sitting in my high
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Theatre with a twist

Profile | Jessica Pell Tate By Josie Parker Ending a year full of canceled events and disappointments, the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma found a new way of telling stories on stage through an immersive outdoor show. Replacing the stage with an evening stroll through Harn Homestead, a 10-acre living history museum in central Oklahoma City, this 75-minute, outdoor production created a more “COVID friendly” telling
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Breaking the cycle

By Megan Stroud De’Onte Garrett (’17), program director for Timothy Hill’s residential program in Tennessee, helps men from the ages of 17 to 25 develop independent living skills and workforce training. He visited Timothy Hill residential program in New York for the first time as a student during a spring break mission trip and instantly discovered his passion for the mission and opportunity to work
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.

Legacy teacher

By Josie Parker Christyn Simmons Henderson (’15) is in her fifth year teaching third grade at Searcy’s McRae Elementary School. Watching the impact her mother, who previously taught third grade and now teaches art for Searcy’s Westside Elementary School, has had on her students helped Henderson recognize her passion for teaching. She’d always imagined herself being a teacher, even playing school with her sister while
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Categories: Alumni Profiles.