International Programs has completed their search to name the new director of Harding University in Greece (HUG), a program which has sent Bisons to experience culture and life throughout the Mediterranean world since 1994.
Daniel Adams, chair of the art and design department, was chosen after a seven-month hiring process that saw 25 applicants for the position. Most recently, Adams directed the Art and Design International (ADI) trip in summer 2018 which took students on a study of worship and culture around the globe. He also has served as the faculty at four semester-long programs, including HUG in 2004. Now, he and his wife Meagan will return full-time to the Harding campus in Porto Rafti, Greece.
“I distinctly remember thinking that it would be a cool thing to come back someday and be directors — then I promptly forgot about it until this fall,” Adams said. “Over Thanksgiving break, one of my daughters mentioned the open position for director and that rekindled those thoughts from 15 years ago.”
With an examination of the archeological record of Ancient Greece, Egypt, Turkey and Israel as part of the HUG experience, Adams’s fine art and design background fit precisely with the HUG itinerary. In addition to the academic and historical study of art, Adams said he will continue to produce art while serving as director, calling it an opportunity to connect contemporary and ancient art and culture in class.
“As a visual artist who has been teaching humanities from a visual arts perspective, I hope to deepen the experience of seeing ancient art and architecture and help to illuminate why those physical forms help us to understand the culture and humanity of the people of the Mediterranean area,” Adams said.
Junior art major Morgan May, who traveled around the globe with Adams on the ADI trip, said she is impressed by his care for students, expertise in the classroom and applied knowledge on the road.
“When we visited Greece on the ADI trip, I could totally see him fitting in there,” May said. “I could not think of anyone else who would be a better HUG director.”
Jeff Hopper, dean of international programs, said a number of qualities are considered when choosing a new director for a study abroad program, qualities like mature judgment, administrative skill, travel experience and an understanding of Harding’s mission.
“Professor Adams has all of the qualities and components,” Hopper said. “In addition, he came to us with a vision for the program that was the strongest of any.”
Hopper called Greece “a treasure trove for the study of art” and said he looks forward to working with Adams to understand and craft new ways in which students at HUG will be able to capitalize on the study of art in the region.
Adams said studying abroad gives students a chance to be away from their own culture for a chance at a new way of understanding and experiencing ways of life around the world.
“Instilling a sensitivity to the lives of others who are children of God helps to break down unnecessary barriers we raise when we have not taken the opportunity to travel,” Adams said.
The Adamses will arrive at HUG in May 2019 to receive the summer HUG group. Former HUG directors Jerry and Dianne Myhan are serving as interim directors, and Silas Heffley, assistant to the HUG director, will remain at the Greece campus to aid during the transition. Adams said Warren Casey, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, has begun the search to name his replacement as chair of the art and design department.