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football-2009-090-0596Besides turkey, Thanksgiving means football to many people.

But on the weekend before Thanksgiving, there’s a new football game in Searcy town.

Harding, undefeated at 11-0, champions of the Great American Conference, and the No. 3 seed in NCAA Division II Super Region 3, hosts Central Missouri, 9-2 and the No. 6 seed, in the first round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. at First Security Stadium Nov. 19.

The game is the only instate college game this weekend, and we would love to have you in the stands helping cheer on the Bisons. All seats are general admission and are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Go Bisons! Fight on to victory!

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer



harding-mag-fall-cover-full-wrapThe fall 2016 magazine is coming your way very soon, and there’s a unique aspect to this issue — it’s the first time we’ve wrapped a picture around to the back cover.

From both inside and out, we are excited to share photos of the Ganus Activities Complex (formerly Ganus Athletic Center) highlighting the renovated, expanded and improved version of a campus mainstay. The facilities and equipment are truly impressive, and students are utilizing the much needed improvement to the recreation and wellness scene on campus.

In our other two features, Dr. Phil Thompson poignantly discusses the topics of suffering and death, and we share the stories of five staff members who play key behind-the-scenes roles on campus.

Homecoming’s alumni award winners are presented in more depth this year, and in our End Note, former Provost Larry Long gives advice to his successor.

Look for it in your mailbox and online soon. As always, let us know your thoughts.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer


McLarty churchAfter we finished our encounter with the Sir Thomas Lawrence portrait of William Wilberforce in the National Portrait Gallery, we hired a cab and asked the driver to take us to the Holy Trinity Church in Clapham. The neighborhood in which this historic (1776) church still stands now has its own stop on the London Tube. When we arrived at the church to continue our search for connections with William Wilberforce, we got that feeling you get when you enter a run-down neighborhood for the first time, and you aren’t exactly sure how safe it is for you to be there. However, there were plenty of people on the streets, and we could see people of all ages sitting in the park next to the church. We walked up to the building and pushed the buzzer on the door but received no answer. As we continued our walk around the building, we met a group of people who were coming out of a basement classroom where they had been attending their regular AA meeting. The room, we later discovered, is very fittingly named “The Wilberforce Center.” One of the gentlemen in the group was very kind and helpful and offered to help us find an open door. After having no success with locating an unlocked door, I used my cell phone to call the number on the church sign. A young woman answered the phone and came downstairs to open the door. She confessed that she didn’t know much about Mr. Wilberforce, but she graciously proceeded to show us around the building.

The first Wilberforce connection she pointed out was a beautiful stained-glass window that depicts Wilberforce as a man in green trousers and distinctive yellow stockings. He is surrounded by enslaved Africans, and he holds a copy of what appears to be the bill abolishing the slave trade. The wording on the stained glass states, “Before my Father which is in heaven, The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee.”

Mclarty windowThe second recognition of Wilberforce at the church is a small blue medallion above the front door from the Greater London Council that recognizes William Wilberforce and “The Clapham Sect” for their work in abolishing slavery in the British Empire.

McLarty engravingThe final recognition of Wilberforce at the Holy Trinity Church is a large engraved stone that is part of the outside wall of the church. It is significantly scarred, and we were told that the damage had been inflicted by Nazi bombings during World War II.

McLarty.ClaphamThe Clapham Sect

Who in the latter part of the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries labored so abundantly for national righteousness and the conversion of the heathen, and rested not until the curse of slavery was swept away from all parts of the British Dominions

Eight names are listed alphabetically, the final one being William Wilberforce.

The “Clapham Sect” once lived in this neighborhood and attended this church. They were constantly in one another’s homes and sometimes even lived in the same houses. They challenged and inspired one another to continue the work of abolishing the slave trade and, eventually, the institution of slavery, itself. I came to Holy Trinity Church in Clapham looking for William Wilberforce. What I discovered was evidence of a community. The work of Wilberforce was not accomplished in isolation. He was part of a church community that faithfully stood with him as he fought slavery for 47 long, grueling years. He was not alone.

Next stop: Oxford’s Bodleian Library

Bruce McLarty
London, England
August 5, 2016

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Books.08-03-2016-7972Editor’s note: we are rerunning this post from last year because it can help you save on back to school.

I don’t consider myself an expert at much, but if there is one thing I like to do and am fairly good at, it is finding a good deal. I like it best when it is for items I or my family must have.

So it makes me glad to let you know you can save the 9.5 percent tax on textbooks, Harding apparel and school supplies at Harding University Bookstore Saturday.

You see, Aug. 6 is a tax-free holiday for the state of Arkansas, and the bookstore will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Come by and take advantage of tax-free prices on items you or your student will need to purchase in just a couple weeks.

Do you live too far away or can’t come by to shop? Place your order online today through Sunday, and the bookstore will give you the tax-free rate and hold your books until you return.

It’s always good to save but even better when it reduces your school bill for the fall.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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My daughter's Instagram post on June 3 reads "We never took breaks, only appreciation stops. mount Olympus was almost as amazing as the people I climbed it with!" She is shown on far right with Haley Smith , Kassandra Fetz and Brad Dodick.

My daughter’s Instagram post on June 3 reads “We never took breaks, only appreciation stops. Mount Olympus was almost as amazing as the people I climbed it with!” Becca is shown on far right with Haley Smith, Kassandra Fetz and Brad Dodick.

When your child goes overseas to one of Harding University’s international programs, he or she isn’t the only one learning and experiencing different cultures.

You are, too.

My daughter is studying at Harding’s program in Greece this summer. It is a totally different experience for my wife and for me than it was when our son studied at the Florence, Italy, campus in fall 2011. We didn’t have iPhones in those dark ages. We may have Skyped twice the entire semester, so we felt rather disconnected.

Not this time. We text often, she sends photos anytime, we usually Facetime over the phone once a week, and Instagram and Facebook are providing lots of pictures.

When communicating I just have to keep in mind the eight-hour time difference as she is waking up when I am heading to bed.

One of the best things about this semester in Greece has been that the students write about their trips and take turns emailing the parents, along with sending amazing videos they have made. One of the directors, Loren Beason, is a strong blogger, and her posts on on their recent excursion to Israel have helped keep me so connected, I almost feel that I have been there with them.

As a parent, the initial expense made me wonder whether it was worth it. After seeing posts just a few days into the summer, I had no doubt it was worth every penny. I’m not sure how one puts a price on experiences such as visiting the Holy Land and climbing Mount Olympus. I believe God’s word is now more real to her than it has ever been.

My wife and I discussed on a recent walk that when she returns, she will not be the same person. How could she be? She has seen and experienced so much in such a short time.

This semester is an investment that I believe is and will continue to pay big dividends. While I’m anxious for her return, I am loving the opportunities to share her experiences along the way.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Photo courtesy of University of Tennessee athletics

Photo courtesy of University of Tennessee athletics

I usually wear my black and gold on Friday to show my Harding support.

But tomorrow I will wear orange and hope you will too.

As you are probably aware, legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt died Tuesday from Alzheimer’s disease at 64. She will be honored tomorrow by wearing orange wherever you are.

Of course I didn’t know her, but my family did spot her on the beach at Seacrest in Florida several years ago while on an evening stroll. She was hard to miss with her tall figure in her blue swimsuit with orange stripe walking her dog by the water. We debated whether to speak but respected her privacy.

I am not a big sports fan, but I do know this remarkable woman did more to advance women’s athletics than any other. As I read her tributes, I am most impressed not with her tremendous basketball coaching skills but that she was an even better coach in the game of life.

I will wear my orange proudly for Pat. Her humility would prevent her from expecting that.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor.designer


Worry photo.2016-010-4977If I could go back, the one thing I would want to reassure myself in college is a phrase I truly believe: “God’s got this.”

I came to Harding from western Pennsylvania extremely ready for new beginnings in a Christian environment. I found I wasn’t as ready as I thought. Homesickness and a heavy class schedule soon had me bogged down. My first trip home at Christmas finally came, and my house and family never looked better to me.

The trip back for spring semester arrived all too quickly, and before I knew it, I had had enough and wanted to quit. A rare long-distance call to my mom left her reminding me of the reassurance from Matthew 6 where Jesus tells us not to worry but to seek his kingdom and righteousness, and everything we need will be given to us.

Those words eventually sunk in. When I quit worrying about what I could handle and let him handle things, my semester got so much better. That was followed by three wonderful underclassmen years here.

Today, when the burdens get heavy and despair sets in, I know it is because I’m not turning it over to the one who can ease the way. When it comes to my earthly concerns, he’s truly “got this.”

Now if I just had the faith to put this in practice all the time.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

Bessie Mae and Joe PryorShe was the epitome of grace, style, warmth and hospitality.

She also was one of the sweetest and kindest Christian ladies I have ever had the privilege of knowing. You could see Christ’s presence permeating her life.

She was Bessie Mae Ledbetter Pryor, whose funeral is today. She was 92.

Her late husband, Dr. Joe Pryor, was the longtime academic dean and yearbook advisor at Harding, and I was one of the yearbook kids who was invited into the Pryor home each fall for a delicious meal to kick off the year. My senior year I edited the Petit Jean, and the Pryor’s youngest daughter, Susan, was editing the Academy section, which was still included in the college book then. We soon became good friends and share laughs over that year to this day.

One Friday afternoon near deadline time, staffers were bemoaning our normal cafeteria fare for the evening meal. Our groans did not fall on deaf ears as Susan quickly made a call home, and we were soon the Pryor’s guests eating one of those delicious home-cooked meals Bessie Mae was known for in the Pryor’s home located next to the Student Center. We were made to feel like welcome guests, rather than a group of kids who had basically invited ourselves over for dinner!

It is just one example of the many ways Bessie Mae served us and so many other students. A 40-year sponsor of Regina social club, many girls felt her loving care in their lives as did the boys of TNT social club, which Dr. Joe sponsored.

She and Dr. Joe were the couple I most admired as a student. Those of us who experienced it will never forget their love and dedication to the students of Harding.

Our hearts go out to her daughters, Beverly Jo and Susan, and her granddaughter, current Harding student Audrey Hodges. Heaven is definitely a little nicer now.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer


Jack Boustead

Jack Boustead

Wyatt Jones

Wyatt Jones

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

As a child, I remember learning this verse because it was the shortest one in the Bible.

As I grew older, it became one with deep meaning as Jesus grieves over the death of one he loves, Lazarus.

Yesterday, there was weeping as the Harding community buried two of our own.

Jack Boustead and Wyatt Jones both went to their rewards Sunday. I didn’t know either man very well, but you didn’t have to know them well to see the quality of character they had.

Boustead was a swimming coach who retired from the kinesiology department. He always had an encouraging word, especially about Harding magazine, for me.

Jones directed the graduate programs in education and later was associate dean of the department. I sat in his Wednesday Bible class a few years ago where he always got the class going with one of his trademark stories or jokes.

Both were deeply committed to Christ, their wives and their families.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

25 years.02-18-2016-2908“Oh How the Years Go By” may seem trite, but it is oh so true on my 25-year anniversary this week as publications director at Harding.

For a quarter of a century, I have edited and designed Harding magazine and, before that, its predecessor, the Harding University Bulletin.

The Bulletin takes me fondly back to the days of mechanicals, light tables, rubber cement and tool tape. Although PageMaker software was out and being used some when I left my position as art director at Jostens to come to Harding, it was still a curiosity more than a way of life.

I’ll never forget the planning and excitement of preparing our very first issue, which debuted in January 1993. It was only 24 black and white pages with a four-color cover, but we were thrilled to no longer be a tabloid on newsprint. We produced it using PageMaker, but photos were still film, which were shot and stripped into negatives. My photographer buddy, Jeff Montgomery, was already home in Memphis, Tennessee, for Christmas when we received the first copies, so my wife, son and I met him and his wife for lunch on our way east for the holidays. Christmas came early for the Public Relations office that year!

A year later, we thought we were uptown as we added full color to a few pages. We added a second color to the remainder beginning in fall 1996. Coordinating the spot and full color could prove quite challenging at times, especially when a color page matched up with a spot-color page. About that time, Quark became the publishing software of choice so we made the switch.

Digital photography arrived on the scene next, and my early experiences with low-resolution digital photos left me with doubts as to its quality. In winter 2001, Jeff encouraged me to try a digital cover, and the rest is history as the office became totally digital in 2002. Now the cameras on our phones take much higher resolution photos than high-end cameras were capable of then.

The all-digital environment allowed us to become full color throughout in winter 2003. Spring 2004 saw a total redesign which was updated in 2010 with our switch to InDesign software, and that led to 2015’s redesign, with a new size, look and feel we hope you are enjoying.

One of many highlights for me editing the magazine has to be the handwritten note I received from former First Lady Barbara Bush thanking me for the copy I sent her featuring her April 11, 2002, speaking appearance at the University. I was so surprised as I didn’t recognize the return address (no name was on the envelope) when I opened her Kennebunkport note card, which is framed in my home.

As I thumbed through past editions, I saw so many great photos and stories, all centered around this place we love called Harding. I’m like the little kid in the toy store when the new edition arrives even though I’ve been involved in every step of its production.

As we move forward telling the Harding story, let us know what you think. Email

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer


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