Summer Stampede introduces freshmen to campus

_DSF7244June 10, 2016 | Summer Stampede |

The University hosted 430 incoming freshmen and their families on campus June 9-10 for the first session of Summer Stampede.

During Summer Stampede, students built their fall semester schedule, met new friends and professors, attended orientation sessions, and got a glimpse of what to expect as they begin their freshman year in the fall.

“Meeting all the new students from all parts of the world is my favorite part of Stampede,” Jake Gainey of Vero Beach, Florida, said. “It’s great to meet with professors, and I’m looking forward to learning from them.”

Summer Stampede marks the first time that Jake’s father, Biz Gainey, has been to campus, and he said that Stampede has been a reassuring experience.

“Since this is my first visit and being unfamiliar with Harding, I’m excited about the vision and the passion behind the leadership that I’ve seen,” Biz said. “The teachers show great interest and genuine concern, and I believe [Jake is] going to get a top-notch, world-class education. To see the school in action has been just fantastic. I wish I had a place like this for my undergrad.”

Madison Thornton of Conway, Arkansas, said meeting her Stampede roommate was a comforting part of the busy schedule.

“Everybody is so nice, and it’s a really great environment,” Madison said. “I’ve been able to meet all these great people at Stampede, and there’s just been a real community feel here.”

“To see the school in action has been just fantastic. I wish I had a place like this for my undergrad.” -Biz Gainey

Madison’s father and Harding alumnus, Chris Thornton, said Stampede was an exciting time as a parent because it is a glimpse of what is in store for Madison in her next four years.

“Having a chance for Madison to meet her randomly assigned roommate for the week and see the sweet, Christian nature of her and her family was great,” Chris said. “Just the uniqueness of that being something we can rely on here is really encouraging.”

IMG_1985At the academic fair, students connected with their departments and professors as well as explored opportunities like studying abroad, joining a choral music group and working for student media.

“Meeting faculty and staff and seeing how much they genuinely care about the students has been great,” Will McClain of Dallas said. “They hold the priority of us having a relationship with God as their main goal.”

Instructor of public relations Katie Ramirez addressed students’ concerns and questions at the fair and said the most rewarding part of Stampede as a faculty member is turning the students’ excitement and nervousness into a roadmap for the future.

“I love being the person who can help students figure out what their future looks like,” Katie said. “Even if that future isjust what their first semester at Harding is, I love that we get to take that excitement, motivation and anxious energy and help them figure out what they want to do and who they want to be.”

After a full day of making new friends and meeting professors, students attended sessions aimed at teaching money-management skills and study skills to retain information and academic scholarships.

_DSF7222Mark Pruitt, associate director of admissions, advised the group that discipline and repetition are the two biggest ingredients in being a successful student. Mark also warned on the importance of keeping a 3.0 GPA to maintain academic scholarships.

Nathan Green, a financial advisor for Simmons First Wealth Management, said it is important for students to keep perspective as they begin their freshman year. He highlighted budgeting and living within a reasonable means as two key factors to smart money habits as a college student.

“Take your time here seriously,” Nathan said. “Your time at Harding will truly make you into the best person you can be.”

Sessions II and III of Summer Stampede will be July 14-15 and August 17-18. Registration and more information on the remaining two sessions can be found at

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