Harding University holds dedication ceremony honoring and celebrating African American alumni on campus

Oct 22, 2021 |

Harding University will honor and celebrate Bro. Elijah Anthony (’68) and Dr. Howard Wright (’68), the first African American undergraduate students to earn bachelor’s degrees from Harding, by naming the Administration Building in their honor during a dedication ceremony in front of the building at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. The first three African American students who enrolled as undergraduates at the University: Lewis Brown, Walter Cunningham and David Johnson, in addition to the first two African American students to be awarded graduate degrees: Thelma Smith (’65) and Curtis Sykes (’65) will also be recognized. 

In front of the Administration Building, a bronze three-dimensional plaque will bear the images of Anthony and Wright. Nearby, two plaques will stand honoring Brown, Cunningham, Johnson, Smith and Sykes. Brown, Johnson and Cunningham, who did not graduate from the University, will be awarded honorary degrees during the ceremony, Johnson’s and Cunningham’s posthumously. Inside the Administration Building, additional details will be displayed about the inspiring and challenging lives of these honorees and recognition of other African American students who attended Harding from 1963-1968.

This dedication is made following a proposal by the University Task Force on Recognizing African American Achievement and approved by the board of trustees. The task force, initiated by Dr. Bruce McLarty, was formed with the goal of identifying the most meaningful and appropriate ways in which the University can memorialize and celebrate the history and presence of African American students and alumni at Harding. 

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