News Flash

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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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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

Today, Harding launched its biggest website redesign in the history of the University’s Web presence, which began in 1996 when a computer science faculty member created


Since that time, the website has continually been updated, and content has been added to create what you now see.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 3.37.12 PM

There are a number of new features to the website, including a responsive design component that allows for compatibility on all devices. Today, I’ve been looking at the website on my phone, and it’s just as beautiful there as it is on my computer screen.


Some of my favorite new additions to the website include the interactive map on the home page that shows locations around the world of mission trips, study abroad programs and alumni. I also really love the Harding People page, which highlights a number of student, faculty and alumni stories spanning a wide range of topics and interests. You can see that page at

Today is a day of excitement across campus as everyone is enjoying this impressive piece of Harding’s identity. Today also is a day of celebration for the talented and creative professionals who have been working diligently to complete this monumental project. Explore the new site, and let us know what you think about the result of all the hard work these individuals have contributed.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services

Crafts Fair.2014-172-0883

There was frost on the ground this morning, but that is not what has me thinking that Christmas must be just around the corner.

The first sign this week that Christmas is coming soon to Harding is that physical resources has begun hanging the lights on the quadrangle. Look for them to be turned on Dec. 1 with a lighting ceremony at 6 p.m.

The second sign is the Holiday Craft Fair going on in the Student Center from 10-5 today and tomorrow. Debbie Howard has brought in more than 25 vendors for this event, which benefits scholarships at the University. There are some truly beautiful and unique items for sale so, if you are in the area, stop by, start your shopping and benefit a great cause.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Midnight Madness last evening was everything it was hyped to be — and more!

Yes, the band was awesome, the cheerleaders had an amazing routine, the games were hilarious, and the women’s and men’s basketball teams put on quite a show after being introduced to a raucous Rowdies crowd at the Rhodes.

Topping it off, however, was junior David Brooker’s half-court shot at the end to win half tuition and a pizza. To say the crowd went wild is putting it mildly.

David Brooker's shot is up ...

David Brooker’s shot is up …

... and in!

… and in!

Basketball player Jacob Gibson’s tweet summed it up: “Thanks to EVERY GOLD-BLOODED BISON that came to Midnight Madness. Y’all are the best in D2. Nov. 14 first game. Let’s get rowdyyy!!!”

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer




On Sunday night, a tornado touched down near Little Rock and traveled approximately 80 miles, causing a large amount of destruction throughout Vilonia and Mayflower in Faulkner County just 35-50 miles southwest of campus. Glued to the news last night, I watched the path of this storm make its way through the state, uprooting houses and taking lives.

It is incredible to see the amount of people who quickly come together when a need is recognized. The giving spirit of people is strongly evident, especially when unfortunate events like this devastate surrounding areas.

“One of the things we have learned from disasters in the past is that we sometimes need to stay out of things,” President McLarty said in chapel this morning. “Right now, it is up to the emergency squads to help.”

The heavily damaged areas will definitely be in need of cleanup and rebuilding, and there will be tremendous opportunities ahead to help with this. Though people are strongly encouraged not to go into the area, the desire to help is still apparent. The Downtown and College churches of Christ will have collection sites in their building lobbies this Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for the following items:

  • bottled water/drinks
  • work gloves
  • storage tubs with lids
  • trash bags
  • shovels and other hand tools
  • gift cards
  • snack foods

These items will be delivered to Vilonia Church of Christ.

Something else that you can do right now is to donate to the American Red Cross and their efforts in providing aid to local families in need. Visit HERE to make a donation.

Churches in the Searcy area and surrounding communities are still assessing needs and putting together a plan of action. We will keep you updated on ways you can help. Please continue to pray for those affected by this disaster.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services


Leah and David Burks pose with the portrait's creator, Michael Shane Neal.

Yesterday at 4 p.m. in a short ceremony in Cone Chapel, attendees were given the opportunity to view for the first time the official portrait of Harding’s fourth president and current chancellor, Dr. David B. Burks.

The chosen portrait artist, Michael Shane Neal of Nashville, Tenn., was on hand for the unveiling. Neal has painted nearly 500 portraits, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and senators Arlen Specter, Robert C. Byrd and Bill Frist. Art and journalism students and faculty were able to talk shop with the artist following the ceremony.

The new portrait will fitly hang on the first floor of the David B. Burks American Heritage Building, the building named in Burks’ honor upon his retirement from the presidency.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Who doesn’t like to save money?  Here’s a way.

This coming weekend, Aug. 3-4, is Arkansas’ second tax-free weekend where retail stores will not charge sales tax on purchases of clothing and footwear priced less than one hundred dollars. In addition, there is not a dollar limit on school supplies and instructional materials, including textbooks, purchased tax free. That means shoppers pay the sticker price for clothing, accessories and school supplies. As a person who grew up in Pennsylvania where there is no sales tax on clothing, I like saving that tax money — a lot.

Even better news is that this year the Harding University Bookstore is participating Saturday, Aug. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Take advantage of the tax-free holiday by purchasing Harding apparel, textbooks, school supplies, art supplies and more tax free! Plus, start the school year off right by saving an additional 10 percent on most merchandise at the HUB. Some exclusions, including textbooks, apply to the 10 percent off promotion.

Now is the time to buy textbooks and stock up on Harding apparel and school supplies while you save cash. If you can’t be in Searcy, you also may shop online at

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer


A large bison woodcarving named “Glory” by its creator now greets visitors to the lobby of Benson Auditorium.

The 10-foot tall sculpture weighing almost 5,000 pounds was presented in today’s special chapel program honoring the presidency of Dr. David B. Burks. It is the work of artist Tim Hogan and was donated to Harding by the Paul R. Carter family in honor of President Burks.

The program began with a devotional led by Student Association President Will Waldron and Burks’ three grandsons, all students at Harding Academy. His 17-year old grandson, Carter Burks, gave a talk using Dr. Burks’ favorite verses on the aroma of Christ, concluding with, “I think he is a wonderful example of the aroma of Christ, and I am proud to call him my Grandpa.”

Provost Larry Long presented a slide show highlighting Burks’ 26-year presidency. Long said even in the early years when he was an English professor and Burks was in the College of Business Administration, Burks was always intentional thinking about how to better the University.

He revealed that Burks has guided 275 million of capital projects during his tenure as president. The faculty has doubled as has the number of colleges, and the student body has increased from 2,823 in 1987 to more than 6,800 in 2012.

Long also shared Burks’ leadership in higher education. Calling him a Christian leader, he said, “Burks has found the right thing, and he has done it.”

Following the presentation of the statue, chapel concluded with a treat — Burks’ favorite dessert, gelato.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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