Harding University names Dr. Michael D. Williams as sixth president

Oct 27, 2021 | Live Press Conference |

Robert C. Walker, chairman of Harding’s board of trustees, is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Michael D. Williams as the sixth president of Harding University. This announcement represents the conclusion of a nine-month, nationwide search during which input was received from all Harding constituencies. 

“Dr. Williams fits the profile as established for our next president perfectly,” said Dr. Walker. “He is a mature, spiritually sound and Christ-centered man. He aligns with our mission and understands our culture. He brings vision, strategic thinking and the business acumen of an experienced university president. He received overwhelming support from the board of trustees.”

Williams earned a bachelor’s of business administration from Harding in 1985 and later returned to earn his master’s in business administration. He earned his doctorate of education from the University of Pennsylvania. He began serving on the University admissions staff in 1987, was named director of admission services in 1991, and later appointed vice president of advancement in 2003. Williams has served as the president of Faulkner University since 2015.

“I am extremely humbled to be chosen as the sixth president of Harding University at this exceptional time,” said Dr. Williams. “Given the seismic changes in our culture, Harding is poised for this decisive moment. I look forward to collaborating with distinguished Christian scholars, extraordinary students and passionate alumni to envision a bold and robust future.” 

Williams is married to Lisa Runyan, a 1989 Harding alumna. The couple has two grown sons, Quen and Cade (’16); and a daughter-in-law, Cailin.

Williams will assume the presidency of Harding on June 1, 2022, receiving the baton of leadership from current president Dr. David B. Burks.

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents students from across the U.S. and more than 50 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; more than 15 preprofessional programs; more than 40 graduate and professional programs; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australasia, Peru, England, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit harding.edu.

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