Written by Eli Dean // Photo by Macy Cox
Harding University celebrated Founders Day, part of the many Centennial celebrations, Sept. 7. The day commemorates the 99th anniversary of the school’s first day of classes.
Executive Vice President Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson said he was excited to begin the Centennial celebration with Founders Day this year.
“It is an opportunity to really celebrate when this University started,” Thompson said. “When we say ‘Founders Day,’ we are appreciating all of those men and women who made it possible to even establish Harding. It also pulls different generations of people together as a community.”
Founders Day started with chapel followed by a Centennial prayer walk led by Mike and Lisa Williams. The prayer walk started at the Harding College arch and concluded at the David B. Burks American Heritage Building. Thompson’s emphasis for the day was the legacy students will build for themselves while at the University.
“For them, the legacy and relationships that are developed over time, everything all the students experience now — that’s [the result of] hard sweat, time and work that all came before us,” Thompson said. “So we get to acknowledge that, celebrate and thank God for it, but we also get to be good stewards of it.”
Several Harding students are building their own legacies within their families. Freshman Vivi Edwards is a first-generation college student who said she is hoping to start a new generation of Harding students in the future within her family.
“Being a first-generation college student, I believe Harding is the perfect place to start a generational tradition of creating hardworking Harding students,” Edwards said. “Harding has been so good to me, and I hope one day I can give back to such a wonderful place.”
While hoping to build her own legacy on campus, Edwards said she has appreciated her decision to attend Harding as a Searcy resident.
“The first couple of weeks at Harding have been nothing but the best, and I don’t think I would have gotten this same experience from any other college or university,” Edwards said. “The love and care that I feel on this campus is more than I have felt anywhere else besides with my loving parents.”
Some students on campus are building the legacy they want for themselves in hopes of making positive changes while on campus. Freshman class representative Fletcher Stobaugh said he wants his legacy to be about love and kindness to those around him.
“I love being the voice of the freshman class,” Stobaugh said. “I want my legacy at Harding to be joyful and [about] building people up. I love Harding so far. It’s been everything I hoped it would be.”