Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre

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Harding University arch

Summer has officially arrived and with it, an emptier campus, at least for the moment. School may be out for most, but campus doesn’t completely shut down in the summertime.

Intersession classes started May 11 and go until May 22. From the list of 58 classes being offered, 606 students are spending the next two weeks learning as much as they can in a variety of subjects from meteorology to medieval art. Class offerings are available to students in psychology, science, math, history, English, sociology, art and communication. Summer classes also start May 11 and go until July 31, and many students are choosing to stay and study in Searcy for the summer.

Harding also hosts a number of programs on campus throughout the summer, including Arkansas Special Olympics summer games May 21-23, and the 72nd session of Arkansas Girl’s State, a program created by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arkansas to allow high school juniors to participate in hands-on citizenship training, which begins May 31. This year marks the 22nd consecutive year Special Olympics has been held on the University campus. It’s an event to which the whole community looks forward.

Also on the calendar is three sessions of Uplift, four sessions of Honors Symposium and one of Honors Media and Culture, two Summer Stampede programs, three shows in the department of theatre’s Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre, and the 59th annual National Leadership Forum. For details, visit Stay tuned for our favorite stories and photos covering all the excitement in store at Harding this summer.

Hannah Beall Owens, director of news services

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It is unusually quiet on campus right now. For the first time in years, there is a two-week break between Intersession and Summer I so few students are to be found.

Parking lots are so empty that there is time for the parking and transportation office to repaint the worn lines marking the spaces. The Student Center downstairs looks like a ghost town. But go upstairs and it is a different matter as the new Center for Student Excellence nears completion.

It is not the only construction going on as the new complex on the west side of campus, Legacy Park, is starting to reveal just how beautiful an addition to campus it will be upon completion in August. Meanwhile, new apartments being added to the Village are going up on the east side. And in the center between the two, Allen Hall is getting a facelift.  For Physical Resources, summer is anything but their slow time.

The lack of students on campus won’t last long. Alongside summer sessions, the campus bustles with activity all summer long. Arkansas Special Olympics starts Thursday followed by Girls State on Sunday. There will be sports camps, Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre performances, four sessions of Honors Symposium, three Uplift sessions, National Leadership Forum, Honor Choir, Pharmacy Camp and more!

Want to learn more? Go to for a complete list of activities.

In the few days remaining, I’ll enjoy not hunting for a parking space!

Tom Buterbaugh, editor/designer

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It’s hard to feel “merry and bright” when it’s upward of 100 degrees outside, but the Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre didn’t let that hamper their Christmas spirit. This season’s theme centered around “the most wonderful time of the year” with performances of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some),” “Christmas Belles,” and “Plaid Tidings.”

Having seen and loved Harding’s production of “Forever Plaid” when we were students, my husband and I decided to see “Plaid Tidings” on Saturday night. We figured the mix of comedy, singing and Christmas would be perfection — and we were right.

The show meets up with the quartet of Frankie, Sparky, Jinx and Smudge who met their untimely demise in a car accident on the way to their first big show. Now the group has returned to earth to perform the Christmas special that never was.

The cast of Josh Strickland, Joshua Cole Little, Jordan Simpson and Carson McGill was terrific. Their comedic timing had me laughing until my face hurt, and their pitch-perfect sound had me singing Christmas songs the rest of the night.

It’s not too late to see “Plaid Tidings” for yourself. It wraps up this week with shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dinner is served at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. You can purchase your tickets at

— Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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