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Harding University Names Search Committee for New President

2 min read

Robert C. Walker, chairman of the Harding University board of trustees, on Wednesday announced members of a search committee to identify and recommend the university’s next president. 

The move comes after former President Bruce McLarty retired in October. At the time, Walker said economic and higher education trends that “created an extremely challenging business environment that has impacted the institution, leading the board to make a change” in leadership. David Burks, Harding’s chancellor and a former president, is leading the university while the board seeks a permanent replacement.

Harding had 4,793 students in the fall 2019 semester after peaking just above 7,000 in 2011. In fall 2020, it reported 4,621 students.

The university has hired executive search firm CarterBaldwin of Rosewell, Georgia, to help the board and the committee with the search. 

“We are conducting a nationwide search for a president that will lead Harding University in its vision as a Christ-centered institution of higher education,” Walker said in a news release. “We are searching for a mature member of the church of Christ who is led by the word of God and the Holy Spirit, committed to the spread of the gospel of Christ and focused on strengthening the University in its pursuit of excellence in higher education.”

In addition to Walker, the search committee includes board members, faculty and alumni. Charles Ganus will chair the committee.

Members are: 

  • Tim Bewley, member, board of trustees; commercial banking officer
  • Charles Ganus, vice chair, board of trustees; retired executive, Murphy Oil Corp.
  • Stephanie Howell, member, board of trustees; private foundation manager
  • Lundy Neely, member, board of trustees; retired CEO
  • Roy Reaves, past chair, board of trustees; retired bank president
  • Harold Redd, treasurer, board of trustees; minister
  • Robert C. Walker, chairman, board of trustees; general surgeon
  • David Collins, executive vice president, Harding University
  • Donny Lee, dean, College of Education, Harding University
  • Ron Smith, chair, department of mathematics; vice chair, Faculty Leadership Council, Harding University
  • Robin Maynard, attorney; co-chair, President’s Council, Harding University; alumna
  • Mark Weeks, CFO, Kingswell Capital; alumnus
  • Cordell Zalenski, finance, Walmart Corporation; alumnus

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy. It is the largest private university in the state.

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