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Accreditation is always a reason to celebrate.

Here is the official announcement: The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders is pleased to announce that its Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program has been awarded full accreditation by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Celebrations are best with cake.

The students are all smiles which probably had something to do with cake.

Dr. Long, Dr. Weaver and Dr. Tullos are pleased because the accreditation term was five years instead of three.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer


There’s excitement on campus this cold, gloomy 25th day of February and for good reason.

Harding’s Rhodes Memorial Field House is officially “The Best Road Trip Destination in College Basketball” presented by Enterprise Rent-a-Car, beating out powerhouses Indiana University and University of Arizona as well as seven other Division I schools.

An in-depth feature will be filmed at the last home game this Saturday against Southeastern Oklahoma State University on what makes the Rhodes Field House, the campus and the town of Searcy a special place for any basketball fan to visit. It will air on “GEICO Best of College Basketball” at 12 p.m., April 6 on CBS Sports. It was announced today the game will be ticketed.

It is exciting to know others will soon have the chance to see what we have known at Harding for years. In our latest magazine, Michael Claxton, assistant professor of English and a convert to Bison basketball, stated, “To say that the atmosphere inside Rhodes Field House is intense is an understatement — it has the qualities of a carnival, an Olympic event and a cage match all combined.”

And soon everyone will have the chance to see what Log Cabin Democrat sports writer David McCollum knew way back in 2004 when he said, “Viewing Harding’s men playing a big basketball game at Rhodes is becoming a ‘must-see-at-least-once’ Arkansas experience, whether a spectator has a connection with the school or not.”

Look for the Rhodes Rowdies to be out in force Saturday.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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Tonight, Dr. Mike Chance and the Universities’ Wind Ensemble will give a concert with guest artist Tony Garcia and the Riverview Public Schools eighth-grade band.

Tony Garcia is an old friend. I remember Tony playing trombone in the band as a student. He graduated from Harding in 2004 and continued his education at the University of Memphis and is currently a candidate for the D.M.A. in trombone performance at Rutgers University. As you can see, Tony is in the Navy and part of the U.S. Navy Band in Jacksonville, Fla.

The concert is tonight at 7 p.m. in the Administration Auditorium.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer




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Today was the White County Spelling Bee. The winner was Kendra Neill from CrossPointe Preparatory School in Searcy. More importantly, Kendra is the daughter of Dr. Kelly Neill who is chairman of the music department. Congratulations to Kendra and the Neill family.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer




The Harding community was saddened Thursday night to learn of the sudden death of Dr. Ken Neller, professor of Bible. Phone calls, text messages, blog posts and Facebook messages spread the word as friends, colleagues and students mourned his death.

We were not close friends, but I can remember meeting him for the first time on the sidelines of a Bison football game. He was a lineman, and I was in the early stages of my career in the Public Relations Office. I was helping photograph the game for the office. A more accurate description is maybe I was a fledgling photographer experiencing on-the-job training in sports photography. I was roaming the sidelines looking for just the right angle to photograph the action. A rather bulky lineman noticed my plight and said, “I’m Ken Neller. Stand here by me.” I don’t remember the photos from that game, but I remember a simple kind gesture that helped me do a better job.

For some inexplicable reason I also remember the last time I saw Ken. It was a month or two ago. Our paths crossed in the hallway outside my office. He was on his way to a faculty meeting. He stopped, asked how I was feeling, and inquired about my work. It was just another kind gesture so typical of Ken.

A lot of words can accurately be used to describe Ken — father, husband, teacher, scholar, athlete, evangelist and friend. Another word comes to mind and is depicted in the photograph above. The photo appeared in a 2008 issue of Harding magazine describing the blessing ceremony for graduates of the College of Bible and Ministry. Ken Neller was a mentor for Harding students and not just for those majoring in Bible.

Ken will be missed, but his influence on the Harding campus will not be forgotten.

David Crouch


Steel workers are busy putting up the framework of the new Nursing and Communication Sciences and Disorders building. These men, along with the crane operator, make it look easy. Make no mistake, that is the mark of seasoned professionals.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer


When the London Olympics Opening Ceremony happens tonight, be on the lookout for Harding’s first Olympic competitor, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom. She will be one of 25 runners in the women’s 10,000 meters on Friday, Aug. 3, at 9:25 p.m. local time and 3:25 p.m. Central. Her race is scheduled to air live on NBC.

Bawcom first took an interest in running after a chance encounter with Kenyan gold medalist Peter Rono who helped her train and get a scholarship to the University. In her first 5 km race at Harding, she barely broke 20 minutes, but, when she graduated in 2005, she had eight NCAA All-American titles and three Division II national championships to her name. She was a six-time track All-American (eight, including cross-country) during her Lady Bison career. She was inducted into the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Harding Athletics Hall of Fame January 2012.

Bawcom finished seventh at the Olympic Trials, but, as one of only three women with the Olympic A standard, her spot on the team was a near guarantee. Earlier in 2012, she finished fifth at the Marathon Trials. Born in Kenya, she became eligible to represent the U.S. in fall 2011.

It’s been fun to follow her progress on Facebook through the postings of her proud father-in-law and my friend, Dean Bawcom (’70). He and his wife, Lana Cowart (’72); their son and Janet’s trainer, Jay (’97); daughter, Amanda (’97); and other family will be there to watch.

Also at the Olympics are 20 members of the three-week Harding Olympic Tour being led by Drs. J.D. Yingling and Jessica Moore. The tour traces the history of the Olympic Games from ancient Greece to Munich to Rome arriving in London for the 2012 Games. Noah Darnell is covering this tour so be watching for his story and fabulous photos in the fall magazine.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

(Statistics and times courtesy of Scott Goode and USA Track & Field site)

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Former Bison head football coach John Prock, 83, died yesterday at his home after a long illness. Head coach from 1964-87, he won a school-record 114 games. He coached 10 NAIA All-Americans, led the Bisons to a win in the 1972 Cowboy Bowl, and won Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference championships in 1972 and 1976. He was NAIA District 17 Coach of the Year in 1969, 1972 and 1976. He was inducted into Harding Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

More important than his records is his influence on the men who played for him. Prock said, “Football and sports are possibly the greatest existing training grounds for self-discipline, team discipline, life, and, yes, even Christianity.”

We give our deepest sympathy to his loving wife, Charlene; his daughters, Martina Peacock and Mona Daniel; his son, Cam; and their families.

Visitation will be Thursday, July 19 from 6-8 p.m. at West Side Church of Christ in Searcy. The funeral will be Friday, July 20, at 2 p.m., also at West Side.

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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I picked up the local paper this morning and learned that Gina Cielo, one of our student workers from last semester, has been selected for a very high honor based on her athletic and academic skills. The tennis player was named to the Capital One First Team Academic All-America At-Large Team yesterday, becoming just the third Harding female ever to earn First Team honors. She joins Laura Tollett (2001) of the women’s tennis team and Kendyl Washburn (2007) of the women’s soccer team in earning that distinction.

She is only the 18th Harding women’s tennis player to record at least 50 career singles victories and finished her career with 57 wins. As a senior, she led the Lady Bisons with a 20-5 singles record and 14-5 doubles mark. In one stretch during her junior and senior seasons, she won 19 consecutive singles matches.

But it was not just her superb play on the court that earned her this award; it also took a very strong record in the classroom. A public relations major with an almost perfect grade-point average, she graduated in May.

Perhaps even more notable was Gina’s humility and sweet spirit. She was a strong addition to our Public Relations team.

By Tom Buterbaugh with Scott Goode



Preston Scott Hannigan has made his debut. He was born May 2nd at 11:31 a.m. and weighed 8 pounds, 14 ounces. Preston’s mom, Jennifer, works with us in the public relations office and his dad, Scott, works in the admissions office at Harding.

I stopped by the hospital to see them today, and everyone was doing fine. I got to hold Preston for a little while, and my day was made.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer

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