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One of my jobs at Harding is being responsible for the content that goes on the Harding Instagram page. Last week we started using the #SpringatHarding hashtag on our photos to promote community and hopefully get students involved in sharing their photos. I love shooting the campus flowers in the spring. The pansies like the red one above have been here all winter, but after the snow and ice, they can look a little sad. As the temperatures warm up, they revive, and the colors of the blooms are just amazing.

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I have to admit that the photography teacher in me took this photo. Nothing like some warm-cool color contrast to make an image jump off the screen. Visually speaking the bright warm color of the daffodil seems to come forward in the image while the cool dark colors recede even deeper into the background.

enhanceThe weeping cherry tree blooms only for a few days but what an amazing show it puts on.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.07.45 AMThe Bradford Pear trees are all around the campus.

04-01-2015-Dogwood trees are my favorite spring bloomer on campus. and they seem to bloom overnight.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.18.12 AMHannah Owens used this dogwood photo for this week’s Friday photo verse that we put out on Facebook and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.08.25 AMLots of other things happen in spring beside flowers blooming. This week we had several home baseball and softball games and those events also fall under #SpringatHarding.


This weekend we add #SpringSing15  to the hashtag list.  I have already seen the show twice, and it is outstanding.

I hope you will come to campus and enjoy the spring flowers and Spring Sing and also that you will use the hashtags and share your photos with us.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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HU_CORE.jpgSunday afternoon, more than 75 new students, transfer students and parents attended the first CORE (campus orientation and registration essentials) event hosted by the University’s first year experience office. Incoming students were invited to finalize enrollment tasks, get to know one another, and become acquainted with various areas on campus.

The event provided students with the opportunity to collect their student IDs, complete essential business tasks, and receive academic advising for class registration. Students also were invited to participate in a panel discussion with faculty and staff, followed by a Q&A session.

The day ended with a meal and devotional led by Student Association ambassadors and a final campus tour. The tour was led by the FYE office peer guides — students chosen by the FYE office to help guide new students into an easy transition into college life.

“It’s always exciting to welcome new students to campus,” said Kevin Kehl, director of academic resources and the first year experience office. “Registering for classes, getting oriented to the campus environment, and making new friends prior to the start of classes are all important aspects of beginning a successful college experience. We are honored that they have chosen to join our community of mission.”

– Bethany Aspey, web content manager

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Though graduation is something that every Harding University alumnus has in common, it has changed significantly throughout the years. With May commencement at the end of the week, the staff of Harding magazine wanted to share some memories and reflections from our diverse University backgrounds spanning many decades.

On Saturday, approximately 950 graduates will walk across the Benson Auditorium stage in three separate ceremonies to receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. On May 14, 2011, I joined approximately 699 other graduates in the last commencement honoring every May graduate in one ceremony. Times have changed.

My graduation ceremony was held in the Ganus Athletic Center, which was transformed into a prestigious, black and gold stage for all 700 graduates and our families and friends, who filled the bleachers on both sides. All of the graduating seniors were seated in rows in the middle of the gym. I was extremely eager to walk across the stage, signifying an end to my four years of undergraduate hard work.

Since the audience has to hold their excitement until the end, an eruption of applause and cheering filled my ears after the last name was called. People on both sides of me were clapping and yelling, including my own family and closest friends. My eyes filled with tears as my undergraduate career came to a close with the people that mean most to me surrounding me. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Hannah Owens, news director

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Have you seen the dogwoods this year? I love dogwood trees, and I think I always have. That is one of the primary reasons the spring of the year is so special to me on the Harding campus. The dogwoods blossom, the azaleas bloom, and the Spring Sing guests appear on campus. In the very best of years, like this one, they all arrive during the same week.


This spring I decided to start my own quest to find the prettiest dogwood tree on campus. I found that once you start looking, you realize that there are spectacular dogwoods everywhere! So I took pictures to tweet, and before long others were joining in on my search — people like Harding University photographers Jeff Montgomery and Matt Dobson.



My favorite bit of feedback on this pursuit of Harding’s best dogwood came from a student who said, “I know this sounds terrible, but before you started tweeting pictures of the dogwoods I didn’t know that we had any on campus. Now I realize that they are everywhere you look, and they are so beautiful!”


I’ve often heard that longtime Harding administrator and history professor Virgil Lawyer was the person who led the campaign to plant dogwoods on the Harding campus. This spring I have delighted both in his dogwood trees and in getting to introduce a new generation to their beauty.

Dr. Bruce McLarty, president 




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Junior Sarah Harris, Spring Sing student assistant director, works on creating the cue book for the production.

Junior Sarah Harris, Spring Sing student assistant director, works on creating the cue book for the production.

It’s here! It’s finally here, and I’m so excited. No, I’m not talking about Spring Sing. I’m talking about the time where we’re putting the finishing touches on our spring edition of Harding magazine. But since you brought it up …

Campus is buzzing with exciting activity right now as Spring Sing weekend is in full throttle. With a few rehearsals and one performance in the bag, there are still three performances left, including the big finale announcing the winner Saturday night.

Spring Sing is an event so many people look forward to. Sitting in the audience, you see bright lights and shiny costumes, and you hear familiar songs with not-so-familiar lyrics. But there are things you don’t see, and the May Harding magazine features an up close view you won’t want to miss.

In preparation of our coverage, I took a trip across campus to Benson Auditorium with University photographer Jeff Montgomery to shoot photos for the feature. As I stepped on the stage, I imagined what it might feel like to be in the middle of all the Spring Sing energy. I felt heat on my face from all the lights pointed at the stage. I stepped up onto the curved platforms that had been built, and I wondered how people are able to move around at an angle like this.

When we arrived at the Benson, I met junior Sarah Harris, student assistant director for Spring Sing. She was working on the cue book, a detailed, step-by-step, instructional manual that lists every single technical action that needs to happen at just the right time during this three-hour production. Starting with nothing, there’s so much that goes into creating a show with lights, music, costumes, choreography, a hundred fellow classmates, and all the typical Spring Sing elements.

You can find our feature on “Spring Sing Up Close” in the May Harding magazine. There’s so much more to it than the incredible productions we see on stage.

Hannah Beall Owens, news director

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I grip the microphone with my left hand, and I snap with my right. I look into the audience and smile as I lock eyes with listeners from all walks of life. There are children with big blue eyes and bouncing curls, and there are elderly couples with sweet smiles and appreciative faces.

Though I am not building houses, conducting Bible studies, administering health care or being stationed in one location, I am a part of a whole, making a difference in the lives of many. I have been traveling throughout the northern states along with nine other students and our director, Chuck Hicks. As the Good News Singers, we have a unique mission of our own — spreading the Gospel through song and encouraging those who listen.

We started the tour with an area wide youth rally in Davenport, Iowa. We then moved on to Washington, Ill., and sang for residents who suffered the tragic tornados that tore through the state in November 2013. We sang off mic for elderly residents in an assisted-living facility in Metamora, Ill. We stopped in Minneapolis, Minn., for a Wednesday-night performance in Woodbury.

These days have been full of long bus rides, sore throats, sentimental stories, and countless conjunction of melody and harmony. We are working our way through the week, singing everywhere we can, praying for those we perform for, and hoping to edify others through our gifts and abilities.

There are still many more miles to go and more concerts to perform. We all don’t want the trip to end, and we embrace the experience for all that it is. This opportunity is one that I’ll cherish, and the privilege that I have to sing his praises is one that I thank him for daily.

Though we may not get much sleep, the bus is bumpy and loud, and you never know when your next rest stop will be, this trip will forever remain in the hearts of those who have been touched by the spirit of music.

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.” (Psalm 96:1-2)

Hannah Robison, student writer


Gonzalez, top left, and the Atlanta spring break mission team.

The Atlanta spring break mission team. (Photo courtesy Henry Gonzalez.)

A team of 10 Harding students arrived in Atlanta on March 8 to serve the community during spring break. The team’s activities are in partnership with Peachtree Corners Church of Christ and Corners Outreach.

The goal is to help the church and community by doing some work around the building as well as interacting with children and adolescents at Corners Outreach. Even though the purpose of the trip is to give, truly we are the ones who are receiving from everyone. Every night, we gather as a team and talk about what we learned and how God has spoken to us or revealed himself that day.

I first got interested in Spring Break missions after attending a seminar about short- and long-term missions, even though the arguments about the pros and cons of short-term mission work can be extensive. After just a couple days into the mission trip, I had no doubt that our one week working in partnership with an organization that works full time with the community really is causing a positive and long-term impact on the people. This impact is just as big — if not bigger — for the team as it is for the community and everybody involved.

Jeanie Linton, a communication sciences and disorders major. (Photo by Henry Gonzalez.)

Jeanie Linton, a communication sciences and disorders major. (Photo courtesy Gonzalez.)

I was surprised that several members of the team had participated in mission trips before. Also, three of us are fluent in Spanish, and others had already come on this Atlanta trip in years past. The diversity of the team is an asset because we have people in the community who only speak Spanish and come from different backgrounds.

I have participated in mission trips before, but this is my first domestic trip. Most of the trips I have been a part of were related with education. I believe that one of the greatest investments we can make to produce long-term change is education. Corners Outreach does exactly that; the organization helps children to improve their school performance by investing in them and loving them in Christ.

Henry Gonzalez
Senior public relations major from Guatemala 


I play a small role in graduation every time it rolls around. I proofread the commencement program and make sure mommy and daddy’s pride and joy has his name spelled right or her correct honor indicated. This time though, I felt a little more connected to the project because, out of the almost 700 who received their degrees Saturday, two of them were very near and dear to my heart — my husband, Scott, who received his Master of Business Administration and my sister, Courtney, who earned her B.S. in health science.

Few would choose to spend their Saturday morning in heels sitting in the bleachers of the Ganus Athletic Center watching several hundred people march across a stage dressed like students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but you couldn’t have kept me away. I know the hours Courtney spent pouring over chemistry, anatomy and the like, helping others in her class (even receiving a Sonic gift card from one student’s very thankful mother). I know the load Scott balanced between being a full-time employee, student and husband. And can you believe both of them ended with a 4.0 GPA?

While that doesn’t sound like an ideal Saturday, thousands of others packed into the bleachers around me. Together we were a community of excited smiles and flashbulbs, beaming with pride for one or two very special degree recipients. After four (perhaps five) years of hard work, the two-hour long commencement didn’t seem so bad.

There was one graduate in particular for whom the entire group cheered. Betty Fulop, 79, of Athol, Idaho, received her Bachelor of Arts — a degree 54 years in the making. Ms. Betty, as she is affectionately called, enrolled in 2007, changing her major from psychology to communication to, finally, Bible — not unlike the typical college student. When Dr. Monte Cox, dean of the College of Bible & Religion, announced her name, Ms. Betty received a standing ovation from the crowd. Once she’d crossed the stage and shaken the hands of Drs. Burks and Long, the oldest student to ever graduate from the University tossed her cap into the crowd of her peers.

After all of the pomp and circumstance, lots of hugs were given and pictures taken (including the ever-popular “Hey-there’s-nothing-in-this-diploma-sleeve” pose), and almost 700 newly minted professionals made their way into the next chapter of their lives.

And I got to walk away with two of them.

Jennifer Hannigan, copy editor/writer

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