Dr. Ganus

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It is Lectureship week on campus. I love this week because you get to see so many visitors, hear great messages from God’s word, and you hear all of the different Harding choruses — all in four days.

The highlight for me so far this week was the Fireside Chat on Sunday night. Dr. McLarty interviewed Dr. Ganus and Dr. Burks about their memories of Lectureship.

Dr. Ganus’ first memory of Lectureship was as a freshman on Thanksgiving Day in 1939. That was the day the mortgage was burned. Harding owed around $75,000 when Dr. Benson became president in 1936 so paying off that debt in three years was a big deal.

Lectureship was always on Thanksgiving week because that was the only day the school was closed. It was a big day, and both Dr. Ganus and Dr. Burks talked about the wonderful Thanksgiving meal and how Dr. Benson would have barbecue pits dug over where the football field now sits. They would cook hundreds of pounds of beef and pork to feed everyone.

Basketball was also a big part of of Lectureship weekend. Dr. Ganus told about the game on Nov. 24, 1966, when Harding was played Oral Roberts University in the Rhodes Field House. One of the Harding players received a pretty serious ankle injury during the game. As he was being attended to on the court, Oral Roberts himself came down out of the stands and offered to heal the player. According to Dr. Ganus, the player assured Mr. Roberts that he would be OK without a healing. According to the Sports Information Office, the player was likely Ron Goss as he only played in the first quarter of the game. The Bisons lost the game 80-75, and it was the only time we have ever played the Golden Eagles. (Thanks to Scott Goode for the game details.)

Dr. Burks also remembered a basketball injury that he photographed as a Petit Jean photographer. He recounted that two players collided under the goal, and the Harding player went down with a huge gash on his forehead. Dr. Burks said blood was everywhere, and he knew he was in trouble. He walked around behind the half wall that separated the lobby and the court and passed out. An ambulance came and took the player to the hospital, the floor was cleaned and the rest of the game was played — he missed it all.

One of the funny moments of the chat came when Dr. McLarty asked how Lectureship was separated from Thanksgiving week. Dr. Ganus quickly spoke up and said “it changed during your presidency” while pointing to Dr. Burks. Dr. Burks explained that the students forced the date change. School was closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday and as Harding students do they started leaving on Wednesday to go home and there was simply no one here. Several different models were tried before the late September date was chosen.

Dr. Ganus mentioned that he always enjoyed hearing Batsell Baxter and G.C. Brewer speak while Dr. Burks said he especially liked to hear Ira North, and he always loved his signature gold sports coat.

We have the video online here if you want to watch the Fireside Chat.

I love hearing the history of Harding from these men.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer



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My husband has a shirt that says “Fall means football in the South” — a simple phrase that captures one of my favorite seasons. Football season.

For me, while I love the chill in the air (my 30+ scarf collection can attest to that) and crunchy, colorful leaves, little can beat the sights and sounds of football — specifically college football.

I love the athleticism and competition of the game, but there’s more to football than just tackling and throwing. There is a subplot of passion, determination and overcoming odds. This is why I love Tom Rinaldi’s pieces for ESPN, combining football with powerful prose.

Harding has its own Tom Rinaldi of sorts. Grant Dillion and Think Media Advertising have created a powerful video highlighting the Bison football team narrated by Chancellor Ganus and his booming baritone. It gives me chills every time I watch it.

See it for yourself here, and be sure to come out and cheer for the Bisons tomorrow evening for their first home game of the season. They’ll surely bring their all to the table.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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Dr. Ganus talking about the campus back in 1939.

I’ve always said, “I have the best job on campus.” I truly believe that I do, and its because I get to do so many different kinds of jobs.

One job you might not expect I would do is create Powerpoints for Chancellor Ganus.

Several years ago he switched to a digital camera for his travels. When he came home he would bring by his camera, and I would download all of the photos and burn him a disk of all the images. After one of his trips to Uganda, he asked me to help him make a presentation to show to a Sunday school class that helped provide basketballs for the Christian school in Uganda. I sat with him for a couple of hours going through his photos and listening to the stories behind the photos. What a privilege to sit with Dr. Ganus and hear of his travels and experiences. I treasure these times with this great man.

Last week I got to do a couple of presentations for him, one on Harding history for chapel last Friday and one for his sermon at College Church this past Sunday. This photo from last Friday was actually the first time I have ever seen him use a Powerpoint I created. He spoke about the different buildings on campus and who they were named for; even cooler was the fact that he knew all those people personally.

As you can see, I really do have the best job on campus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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Saturday night, I had the privilege of flying to the football game in Magnolia. The Bisons gave a clinic on how to win a football game, and you can read the game story here. I took a ton of game photos which will be posted later today on Hardingsports.com. I love this photo of Dr. Ganus because it is so typical of him. Dr. Ganus loves athletics, and he loves the Bisons. You can always find him on the field congratulating the athletes after a win or encouraging them after a loss. He knows most of them by name, and by the end of the season he will know them all. You can always count on Dr. Ganus reading the stats after the game. This photo was taken on the plane on the return trip to Searcy. Of course, my real camera was in the back of the plane so I shot this with my iPhone. Its a little grainy and maybe a little overexposed, but I like it because it captures Dr. Ganus enjoying one of his passions.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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