Harding University

The information on this page was last updated 5/3/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Harding University is a private Christian institution of higher education committed to the tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. It is composed of the following academic units: a College of Allied Health, a College of Arts and Humanities, a College of Bible and Ministry, a College of Business Administration, a College of Education, a College of Nursing, a College of Pharmacy, a College of Sciences, and a School of Theology, through which over 100 undergraduate majors as well as graduate and professional programs in athletic training, business, education, mental health and wellness, ministry, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, and theology are offered. The University serves a diverse, coeducational student body from across the United States and around the world, although the primary constituency for students and financial support is the fellowship of the churches of Christ.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Harding University
915 E. Market Ave.
Searcy, AR 72149-5615

Website: harding.edu

Phone: 501-279-4000

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 710236896

CEO/President: Mike Williams, Ed.D.

Chairman: Robert C. Walker

Board size: 24


Ruling year: 1959

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 06/30

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


The board of trustees, the administration and the faculty believe that the freedom to pursue truth and high academic achievement is compatible with the Christian principles to which the University is committed. The faculty is dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service, and to their role as models of Christian living. The University community seeks to provide an environment that both supports students and challenges them to realize their full potential.

Mission statement

We are a community who seeks to support and challenge our students to realize their full potential. Our mission is to provide a quality education that will lead to an understanding and philosophy of life consistent with Christian ideals.

Statement of faith

Harding University was founded in 1924 upon spiritual convictions. We are, at our core, a Christian university. The character, example and concerns of Jesus Christ are the standards that shape us and chart the course for our future. Because of this, an all-encompassing love for God and a corresponding love for people are at the heart of who we are.

We are committed to retaining the Christian identity of Harding University. Realizing that there is a powerful, almost overwhelming tendency for Christian institutions to drift toward secularism, we recommit ourselves to the distinctive practices that have always been central to Harding's Christian mission: required Bible classes; daily chapel; and a lofty code of behavior for the board, administration, faculty and students.

For many years it has been our goal that Harding University integrates and celebrates "faith, learning and living." The Christian worldview is to be at the core of every academic discipline and every extracurricular activity on campus. Every professor who stands in front of a class, every coach who stands in front of a team, and every director who stands in front of a cast or a chorus is to speak and lead as a man or woman of God. They are to confess, both in words and actions, that God created the world, that He redeems us through the blood of His Son Jesus, that He fills his children with His Holy Spirit, and that He calls us to be holy as He is holy. Such core themes will be emphasized in chapel services, in faculty meetings and throughout the university.

The Gospel of John states that "the Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (1:14). Grace and truth were perfectly blended in Jesus. He spoke truth, but always in a gracious way. He extended His hand in grace, but never betrayed the truth in doing so. However, Christians constantly struggle to demonstrate that same sacred balance. Gracious people are easily tempted to compromise truth, and truth-seeking people often communicate ungraciousness. Recognizing this challenge, we are determined to be a people who are "full of grace and truth," sacrificing neither in the pursuit of both. Cheap grace and harsh truth are two extremes we will seek to avoid. Our hope is that, when people think of Harding University, they will think of both grace and truth.

Another important aspect of our institutional identity is our belief in the Bible as the fully inspired and authoritative Word of God. We hold it to be "God-breathed" and the basis of our teaching and life (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is central to our goal of spiritual formation in the life of everyone at Harding. Consequently, it is our goal that all graduating seniors leave our university with a greater level of confidence in Scripture than they had when they first arrived on campus.

Harding University has always been a leader in world missions. Nearly one-third of the missionaries who have gone out from churches of Christ have graduated from Harding. We believe that at this critical point in history it is important that we renew our commitment to participate fully in the mission of God, both at home and abroad. While the pluralism of our postmodern culture denies the need to preach the gospel, we continue to believe that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ and that Christians are to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19).

Harding has always been deeply connected with churches of Christ, and we reaffirm this connection. Our goal will be to continue to hire only members of churches of Christ as faculty and administrators. Though we live in a time of significant confusion over our brotherhood's identity, we are determined that Harding University will become captive to neither a rigid legalism on the right nor a formless liberalism on the left. "With gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:16) we affirm such distinctive convictions of the mainstream churches of Christ as baptism for the remission of sins, a cappella music in worship, and male spiritual leadership.

While we maintain our close ties with the churches of Christ, we make clear that Harding opens its arms to all. Those who do not share all of our convictions are always welcome, and we will work hard to see that they are always treated with kindness, fairness and respect.

This statement of spiritual vision is presented, and we offer it to God with the words of our Lord, Jesus: "Father ... not [our] will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating523 of 111069 of 129
Fund acquisition rating388 of 111149 of 129
Resource allocation rating286 of 111126 of 129
Asset utilization rating944 of 1110120 of 129

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$18,122,983$19,241,004$14,830,380$27,295,840$16,863,506
Short-term investments$102,444,517$133,133,856$163,194,649$210,328,311$137,335,312
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$124,248,766$158,587,492$181,319,053$242,393,695$158,603,422
Long-term investments$0$0$0$151,368,911$0
Fixed assets$209,325,923$205,312,440$207,982,534$643,976$210,199,069
Other long-term assets$137,957,992$106,322,890$25,370,436$11,210,281$29,267,677
Total long-term assets$347,283,915$311,635,330$233,352,970$163,223,168$239,466,746
Total assets$471,532,681$470,222,822$414,672,023$405,616,863$398,070,168
Payables and accrued expenses$5,103,684$2,714,688$1,857,383$2,720,126$4,725,993
Other current liabilities$4,564,563$6,632,433$5,521,611$4,394,403$4,502,127
Total current liabilities$9,668,247$9,347,121$7,378,994$7,114,529$9,228,120
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$26,339,022$20,583,235$21,898,707$20,713,976$20,547,536
Total long-term liabilities$46,209,542$50,645,134$59,071,563$62,229,261$64,399,238
Total liabilities$55,877,789$59,992,255$66,450,557$69,343,790$73,627,358
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$184,318,568$187,543,717$178,285,230$177,637,370$168,749,067
With donor restrictions$231,336,324$222,686,850$170,936,025$158,635,703$155,693,743
Net assets$415,654,892$410,230,567$348,221,466$336,273,073$324,442,810
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$23,616,989$24,781,502$16,260,806$19,989,548$20,591,949
Program service revenue$95,040,033$93,892,791$97,702,208$106,306,488$142,058,242
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$9,875,287$55,292,186$15,210,679$8,832,585$13,239,571
Other revenue$0$195,188$242,363$333,802$416,476
Total other revenue$104,915,320$149,380,165$113,155,250$115,472,875$155,714,289
Total revenue$128,532,309$174,161,667$129,416,056$135,462,423$176,306,238
Program services$108,649,038$98,247,302$103,843,782$109,545,332$140,960,154
Management and general$12,582,825$12,011,785$11,670,979$12,052,585$11,511,670
Total expenses$123,107,984$112,152,359$117,467,663$123,632,160$154,882,106
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$5,424,325$62,009,308$11,948,393$11,830,263$21,424,132
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$5,424,325$62,009,308$11,948,393$11,830,263$21,424,132


Bruce McLartyPresident former$262,518
Michael McGalliardDean CAH/Assoc Provost HS$235,761
Jeffrey MercerDean College of Pharmacy$219,533
David CollinsExecutive VP$207,097
Rayanne StoryAsst Dean Pharmacy$191,908
Jeffrey MorganAthletic Director$186,410
Tamara HallSecretary/Treasurer$183,729
Julie Hixson-WallaceAssoc Dean of Faculty Affairs$180,321
Marty SpearsProvost$178,763
David BurksPresident$125,053

Compensation data as of: 6/30/2022

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 5/3/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Harding began as a senior college in 1924, when two junior colleges, Arkansas Christian College and Harper College, merged their facilities and assets, adopted the new name of Harding College, and located on the campus of Arkansas Christian in Morrilton, Ark. Harper had been founded in 1915 in Harper, Kan., and Arkansas Christian had been chartered in 1919.

Upon completion of a study begun in May 1978, the board of trustees approved the study's recommended change of Harding to university status, and on Aug. 27, 1979, the name of the institution officially became Harding University.

The college was named in memory of James A. Harding, co-founder and first president of Nashville Bible School (now David Lipscomb University) in Nashville, Tenn. A preacher, teacher and Christian educator, James A. Harding inspired his co-workers and associates with an enthusiasm for Christian education that remains a significant tradition at Harding University.

With the merger J.N. Armstrong, who had served five years as Harper's president, became president of Harding College, and A.S. Croom, president of Arkansas Christian for two years, became vice president for business affairs. In 1934 Harding was moved to its present site in Searcy, Ark., on the campus of a former women's institution, Galloway College.

One of Harding's first graduates, George S. Benson, returned from mission work in China in 1936 to assume the presidency of his alma mater. The vigorous educator quickly directed the College out of deep indebtedness and launched it on a journey to financial stability, national recognition and academic accreditation. When Dr. Benson retired in 1965, his 29 years of tireless service were more than evident in a multimillion-dollar campus, regional accreditation, a strong faculty, and a continually growing student body. Dr. Benson died in December 1991 and is buried in Searcy.

Dr. Clifton L. Ganus Jr., a 1943 graduate, served as president from 1965 to 1987. A former history department chairman and vice president of the College, Dr. Ganus kept alive his predecessor's drive for excellence by leading a plan of campus improvement and expansion. During his administration, enrollment increased from 1,472 in the fall of 1965 to 2,767 in the fall of 1986. Seven major academic buildings, four large residence halls, and several married students' apartments were constructed. A $1 million addition to the Science Building was completed in 1984. Also, six academic buildings were renovated and/or enlarged. The nursing program, the social work program, the Mission Prepare program, the School of Biblical Studies (with programs in Searcy and in Nassau, the Bahamas), and the Harding University in Florence (Italy) program were developed during his administration. In Memphis, Tenn., the Graduate School of Religion experienced significant growth, received accreditation by the Southern Association, and added the Doctor of Ministry degree to its program. Upon his retirement, Dr. Ganus became Harding's first chancellor, and in his honor, the board of trustees named the physical education complex the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Athletic Center.

Dr. David B. Burks became Harding's fourth president in May 1987. A 1965 graduate, he has been a member of the faculty since 1967 and previously served as dean of the School of Business. As professor of business and director of the American Studies program, Dr. Burks received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1974 and 1986. A C.P.A., retired, Texan, and consultant, he has written The Christian Alternative for Business and Strategic Management Simulation. He instituted the course in Christian Business Ethics, a requirement for all business majors. He holds a doctorate in administration of higher education from Florida State University. Under his leadership, the University has experienced record growth in enrollment and giving and, more importantly, continues to place significant emphasis on Christian servanthood.

Dr. Burks retired from the presidency May 2013. Upon his retirement, he became the chancellor of Harding, and Dr. Ganus became the first chancellor-emeritus. Dr. Burks still has an office on campus and is active in the Harding community. After serving 73 years on the staff of Harding University, Chancellor Emeritus Clifton Loyd Ganus, Jr. died on Sept. 9, 2019, at the age of 97.

Dr. Bruce D. McLarty officially became the fifth president of Harding on June 1, 2013. Prior to being named president, Dr. McLarty was University vice president for spiritual life for eight years. Before his work at Harding, he was the pulpit minister at College Church of Christ in Searcy from 1991-2005. Prior to coming to Searcy, he preached in Cookeville, Tenn.; Memphis, Tenn.; Marks, Miss.; and Williford, Ark. He and his wife, Ann, also spent time in Meru, Kenya, as missionaries.

Dr. McLarty graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in Bible from then Harding College. In 1982, he received his M.Th. from Harding School of Theology. He received his D.Min. from Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary in 2010. Dr. McLarty received the Outstanding Alumnus award from the College of Bible and Ministry at Harding in 1999. He has written articles for 21st Century Christian Magazine, Upreach Magazine, Image Magazine, The Gospel Advocate, and Harding's Church and Family Magazine. In addition to writing articles, he also wrote a book, Journey of Faith: Walking With Jesus Through the Gospel of John, that was published in 1997.

During his inaugural address Sept. 20, 2013, Dr. McLarty coined the phrase "A Community of Mission" as a definition for what Harding has been, is and aims to become. He hopes to continue to bring the student body, faculty and staff together as a community as everyone works to daily serve God and each other.

Dr. McLarty retired Dec. 1, 2020, and Dr. David B. Burks resumed the role of president as a larger committee was formed to begin the search for a new president.

In June 2022, Dr. Michael Williams became the sixth president of Harding University. Williams earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Harding in 1985 and later returned to earn his Master of 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 was appointed vice president of advancement in 2003. Williams served as the president of Faulkner University from 2015-2022 before returning to Harding to serve as president.

At his inauguration celebration on Sept. 16, 2022, Williams challenged all members of the University community to discover their "Inspired Purpose," a phrase anchored in our historic Christian mission that characterizes a bold vision for our future.

Program accomplishments

Nearly 5,000 students from 49 states and more than 50 nations & territories come here to transform their passions into professions that serve others. Approximately 96 percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid, with approximately $60 million awarded annually.