Photo by Jeff Montgomery
When is the last time you went on a tour of the Harding campus? Maybe it was this morning as you walked, ran or long boarded to class. Maybe it was in the fall when you came to see your kids during Homecoming. Or maybe it was years ago when you visited campus for the first time and had someone show you around.
The last time I had a true campus tour was when I was 16-years-old and visiting Harding for the first time with my dad. I was the first in my family to attend Harding and had never seen campus — much less been to Arkansas. I was hesitant about the visit mainly because I was flying for the first time but also because this was a place more than 11 hours from my home in Ohio and I was determining whether I could make it my new home. I was undecided about Harding until my admissions counselor encouraged me to just visit Searcy. He said, “Don’t make a decision until you see and experience the campus for yourself.” That was great advice.
That visit sealed the deal for me. I walked on campus and had a great experience. I roomed with students who ended up being friends and classmates. I met teachers who have now turned into colleagues. I felt the spirit moving on campus and knew that I could grow at Harding.
My husband, Nate, and I both work at Harding now. He works as a recruiter in the Admissions Office, and I work as an instructor in the communications department and as the faculty advisor for student publications. I never thought that our jobs would be to help carry on the Harding legacy, but that thought crept into my mind the other night as I sat at a reception for prospective students and their parents. As I listened to Nate talk to high school students about why he chose to attend Harding for college, I thought about the reasons why I chose Harding again … as my place of employment.
This week happens to be most high school students’ spring break, so campus has been busy with prospective students looking for their academic home. Yesterday, I decided to tag along with Nate on one of his campus tours to get a fresh perspective of Harding through the eyes of a first time visitor. I met with a family for lunch in the caf and listened as a high school student from Little Rock talked about her experience on campus. She had never been to campus before, and it only took her a day to realize that Harding was the place for her. I asked her what it was that made her decision, and she replied, “All I had to do was visit.” Harding is a beautiful place, especially around Spring Sing time, but it’s more than that; Harding is a beautiful place to be because of the people who make it a community.
You might think that, as a university instructor, I chose this job because of its ranking on the Forbes’ Least Stressful Jobs of 2014 list (it’s number 4). Believe me when I say that that is not the reason. (Does sarcasm stretch across the Internet?)
The reason I chose Harding again is the same reason I chose it 11 years ago. It’s because of the people. I am glad to see that, although new buildings appear and old ones disappear around campus, the people have remained the same.
— Katie Ramirez, director of student publications and instructor of communication