President Dr. Bruce McLarty announces retirement effective November 30, 2020, Dr. David Burks to serve as president

Oct. 30, 2020 | Letter from the Board of Trustees |

Harding University Board of Trustees announced this afternoon that after careful and prayerful consideration, Dr. Bruce McLarty will retire as President of Harding University effective November 30, 2020.

“We are grateful for Dr. McLarty’s service over the past seven and a half years. He has made a powerful impact with his leadership, with an emphasis on community and commitment to living the Harding mission,” said Dr. Robert Walker, chairman of the Board of Trustees for Harding University. “Recent economic and higher education trends have created an extremely challenging business environment that has impacted the institution, leading the board to make a change. Chancellor Dr. David Burks will bring his experience and proven business acumen back to the University as a guiding hand through these unprecedented times.”

Dr. Burks, who is well-respected in the higher education and Church of Christ communities, served as president of Harding University from 1987-2013 and will become president effective December 1. A committee will be formed to evaluate a broader Presidential search.

“I am deeply grateful to the Harding University Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to serve as Harding’s president for the past seven and one-half years,” said Dr. McLarty.  “The University has had a profound impact for good on everyone in my family, and I owe it a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay. Now as I retire from the University, I am reminded of Robert Frost’s line, ‘and miles to go before I sleep.’ There is so much I want to do. I am a preacher at heart, and I look forward to using my new freedom to teach, preach, encourage and write. I have been so blessed to have this time at Harding, and I am excited to find out what God may yet have in store for my wife, Ann, and me.”

Dr. McLarty looks forward to spending time with students, alumni and other members of the Harding community at homecoming this weekend and graduation on November 21.

“Dr. McLarty is a dear friend and colleague,” said Dr. David Burks. “I appreciate his many contributions to the University over the past seven and a half years. I certainly wish him well during this period of transition in his life. I know he will continue to make wonderful contributions to the Lord’s kingdom in the future.”

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