Harding’s Paul R. Carter College of Business establishes $1M Student Managed Investment Fund

The Harding University Paul R. Carter College of Business announces the establishment of a Student Managed Investment Fund. The fund was created to offer business students valuable experience in investment analysis and portfolio management. 

“The Student Managed Investment Fund is a significant opportunity for our student members to gain valuable experience in investment analysis and portfolio management,” said Dr. Allen Frazier, dean and professor of the College of Business Administration. “Students will work with a contingent of Harding’s board and COBA’s finance faculty to gain a unique educational experience in financial management and understand how to become faithful stewards of money entrusted to them.”

The fund will be overseen by a student manager team made up of 12 junior and senior COBA students. Senior managers will be responsible for researching and evaluating investment opportunities within a particular industry group or groups (e.g. health care, technology, energy, etc.) while junior managers will serve a supporting role and prepare to advance into the senior position the following year. This year’s student management team includes three juniors and nine seniors. 

  • Senior Alden Bradley of Grapevine, Texas
  • Senior Ashton VanBrunt of Jenks, Oklahoma
  • Senior Bennett Holloway of  Kansas City, Missouri
  • Junior Collin Nieman of Spencer, Wisconsin
  • Junior Cooper Carroll of Madison, Mississippi
  • Senior Cort Chambers of Larchmont, New York
  • Senior David Reed of Vienna, Virginia
  • Senior Emma Jackson of Siloam Springs, Arkansas
  • Senior Grant Countess of Shelbyville, Tennessee 
  • Senior Julio Montenegro of Urbanizacion Farallones, Chinandega
  • Junior Mason Callaway of Burleson, Texas
  • Senior Riley Fox of Cave Springs, Arkansas

Under oversight of faculty, student managers will research and analyze stocks to identify prospective changes to the fund. Student managers will meet frequently to address board market movement and expectations, fund and sector performance, and discuss prospective investments. At the end of each month student managers will provide a written and oral report on performance of their investments and recommend changes to the fund portfolio.

A sum of $500,000 has been designated as an initial fund balance. Another $500,000 will be invested in an S&P 500 index fund to help the Student Managed Investment Fund and allow additional funds to be transferred to student management in time. 

Lyon senior designs bicentennial coin for Independence County

A Lyon senior’s design has been selected for Independence County’s bicentennial coin.

The coin commemorates the 200th anniversary of the county’s founding, which was established in 1820. Batesville was established in 1821, and it is the oldest existing city in Arkansas.

Samantha Long, a fine arts major from Cave City, created the coin’s design based on her own interpretation of what Independence County Judge Robert Griffin had requested. 

The front features a Native American based on the Cherokee tribe as a nod to Arkansas history and a steamboat as an homage to Independence County’s beginnings as a trade area. The back of the coin features a glimpse into modern-day Independence County, showing local farmers and businesses coming together while Independence County grows in the background.

“I felt that it was very important to incorporate farmers into the design because our community has so much to thank them for,” Long said.

She continued, “My brother gave me the idea to have them shaking hands, as a way to show the two coming together to help build our community.”

Professor of Art Dustyn Bork had approached Long about submitting a design. He told her it would be a great way to gain experience for her fine arts major.

“This is an excellent example of a Lyon student seeing their design come to fruition in a tangible way,” Bork said. “What an awesome opportunity for Sam and to celebrate our community.”

“It’s honestly an honor to be selected for something so important!” Long said. “I couldn’t believe it at first, and I did feel a bit anxious during the process.”

She concluded, “But by the end of it, I was very proud to have had the opportunity to leave my small mark on Independence County.”

Lyon students make mountain of research out of anthill

Lyon students and faculty are studying local ants for a national research project.

Biology professors Dr. Allyn Dodd, Dr. Maryline Jones and Dr. Cassia Oliveira have partnered with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., for a national ant DNA barcoding project.

“DNA barcoding allows researchers to identify species by DNA sequences,” Dodd said, “and can be used to identify invasive species.”

She said researchers across the country are gathering as many ant species as possible, based on a list provided by the DNA Learning Center. They will soon begin identifying their samples, extracting the DNA from the ants, amplifying it and isolating it to send back to the center for sequencing.

Oliveira had received a message about the project, and she, Jones and Dodd submitted an application. The Lyon team was one of four selected for the Ozarks region in Arkansas and Missouri. They will cover Northeast Arkansas and parts of the river valley.

“The thing I love most about this project is that it allows us faculty to collaborate and model collaborative research to our students,” Dodd said.

Junior Briar Miller and freshman Catalina Terlea had reached out to the biology department about their interest in research, and the faculty thought the ant DNA barcoding project would be a great way to get them involved.

Miller, of Cave City, has collected specimens of different ant species around his home and yard. 

“Since I am a local, I became involved in this project in August to gain valuable experience,” Miller said, “and to become more involved at Lyon and in the science department despite this semester’s remote learning.”

Terlea, of Little Rock, has collected ants on the trails around Batesville and the Lyon campus. She first heard about the project in her biology course. A few upperclassmen in the Honors Fellows program with her mentioned that Dodd may need help collecting ant samples, so Terlea decided to reach out about being part of the project.

“I thought it was a very neat project because I am interested in genetics,” she said.

Miller and Terlea have also helped identify the ants that other researchers have collected and will participate in the DNA extraction of each species once the lab materials arrive.

Both students have learned a lot through the course of the research project. Miller said he had not thought about the different species of ants native to this area before and has enjoyed learning about the diversity of the species in north central Arkansas. Terlea agreed, saying she was “surprised at the range of sizes and colors” of local ants.

“When I first started collecting ant samples, it took a long time because most ants camouflage with their environment,” she said. “Over time, I learned some efficient collecting techniques, such as using an aspirator, sifter and stunning the ants.”

Miller said ants can be difficult to catch not only because of their small size but also because of their ability to communicate with each other.

“In addition, different species live in a wide range of different environments, such as trees, underneath rocks and logs, in houses and on the outside of different surfaces,” he said.

Terlea said her favorite moment was when she and Dodd hiked a trail and discovered a group of ants living among the different fungi.

“We were very excited about how the fungi and ants coexisted, and we decided to sit in the middle of the trail and collect them,” Terlea said. “I learned a lot from [Dodd] that day in the field about ants and habitats.”

She believes this experience and knowledge will help her have a better understanding of animal behavior and symbiotic relationships in future courses at Lyon.

“I am very interested in genetics, and the experience I will gain from running PCR analysis will benefit me in my future research and the courses I plan on taking.”

Miller said the project will give him the chance to learn more about DNA coding and extraction.

“That will be important in upper-level biology courses,” he said, “and will also be helpful in my career and postgraduate goals, since I am considering attending optometry or medical school after Lyon.”

Dodd said she, Jones and Oliveira enjoy how this project gets Miller and Terlea out in the field and gives them experience with insect identification as well as important laboratory techniques.

“Catalina and Briar will present the data we collect at future conferences, most of which are virtual right now,” Dodd said. 

She concluded, “This will give them the opportunity to practice their presentation skills, disseminate their findings and receive feedback from other scientists.”

Hendrix Receives $2 Million Challenge Grant from Mabee Foundation

Hendrix College has been awarded a $2 million challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation.

The Mabee Foundation grant will support the launch of the College’s Residence Hall Renewal Project, which includes the renovation of historic Martin and Veasey Halls in the core of the Hendrix campus. 

“We are so grateful to the Mabee Foundation for its longtime support. This challenge grant will be a critical catalyst for completing the renovation of two historic residence halls that hold a special place in the hearts of Hendrix alumni and are absolutely integral to the campus experience of our students,” said Hendrix President Ellis Arnold. “We are honored by the confidence and support of the Mabee Foundation. Throughout the years, their generosity has enhanced the academic and residence life experience for every student at Hendrix.”

The $9.2 million Residence Hall Renewal Project, which will begin in late May, is part of A Time to Lead, the College’s $150 million campaign. To complete the Mabee Challenge, Hendrix must raise $1.7 million by April 15, 2022.

Last fall, Hendrix announced that it had surpassed its original $110 million campaign goal more than a year ahead of schedule. In November, Hendrix received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Foundationand expanded its campaign goal to $150 million. The campaign now stands at $133 million and will extend to 2023. 

About the Mabee Foundation

The Mabee Foundation was formed in 1948 by John and Lottie Mabee. Hard workers, innovative entrepreneurs, and shrewd investors, they built an impressive business and were gracious and generous as they shared their financial blessings with others through various forms of philanthropy.  Since its inception, the Mabee Foundation has grown to a value of over $1 billion and has made grants totaling over $1.2 billion. Mabee Foundation Challenge Grants have enabled many organizations to finish projects in a timely fashion and, in the process, to build their bases of support in such a way as to help ensure the health of the organizations for the long-term. Learn more at www.mabeefoundation.com

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit  www.hendrix.edu.

Passion for leadership: Lyon junior leads through persistence, empathy

Lyon College junior Daria Giles is not interested in staying a member of clubs. Her goal is to continue progressing in any organization she joins. 

“I’m not going to be part of something if I’m not passionate about it.”

As evidenced by her many leadership positions in the Lyon community, Giles has many passions. 

In addition to being an Honors Fellow and a double major in music and secondary education, she is the president of both the Honor Council and Spectra Alliance, the section leader of the woodwinds in band and a student mentor with Dr. Barry Gehm. 

She has worked as an academic and residential mentor for the APPLE (Accelerated Program of Personalized Learning and Enrichment) Project Upward Bound program the past two years and tutored the clarinet section at Batesville High School.

Giles, of Marion, had been in several clubs in high school, so balancing multiple responsibilities was not new for her when she came to Lyon. She would show up at school at 7:15 a.m. and would stay until 8 p.m. for marching band practice.

“I’m not the oldest in my family, but I was the oldest child in my household,” she said. “I was expected to help take care of my brother and all those things.”

Giles continued, “I feel like if I wasn’t a natural born leader then I developed into one early and sought out those roles at school.”

By the time she started her freshman year at Lyon, she was “revving to go already.” She talked to the band director about being a section leader and got her position as a residential mentor for APPLE, preparing high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in college.

“I loved watching them grow over the summer,” Giles said. “My students still message me every once in a while.”

APPLE showed her how to lead others through empathy.

“I think being human is the best way to reach students. They are not receptive when you act better than them because you’re not.”

She continued, “They want someone they can relate to and will treat them with the amount of respect they deserve.”

As a sophomore, Giles took on new leadership roles and learned the importance of speaking out and relying on others.

She became the vice president of Spectra Alliance, a student organization focused on serving the needs of Lyon’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies. As a bisexual woman, she was passionate about fulfilling Spectra’s mission but felt the organization was not doing as well as it could.

“Things weren’t getting done, and I decided I needed to get it done,” she said. 

She stepped up and became president. Since then, the organization has sponsored more events, including a series of sex education talks led by faculty and a vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2019.

“For the vigil, we lit paper lanterns and put them in the lake while I read off the names of all the trans people who had been murdered over the course of 2019,” Giles said.

She continued, “The event went very well. It was very emotional, but it was necessary. I want to do more things like that with Spectra.”

Fortunately, she does not have to manage all of these organizations and events on her own.

When Giles had band commitments and a Spectra meeting on the same night, she wrote down what she wanted the vice president, Timmy Tignor, to go over for Spectra and left the meeting in his hands.

“As a leader, you still have to rely on the people you lead,” she said. “That means making sure you have a good team under you.”

Giles continued, “I want my team members to take on their part of the work, know what they’re doing and be respectful.”

She is also grateful to have mentors like Director of Bands Dr. Frederick Brown helping her figure out her path in life.

“I’m trying to be a band director, and [Brown] will basically quiz me on what I would do if we had a certain issue in band.”

Giles said they discuss options for her future, such as graduate school and Teach for America, and the importance of her getting in front of an ensemble to prepare for a career as a band director.

“He’s been linking me to scholarships specifically for women in music education and also Black people in music education,” Giles said, “because he knows people like me are quite niche in the music education field.”

Brown said one of Giles’ best leadership qualities is her willingness to help wherever she can make a positive contribution.

“Whether it is helping other students with learning music and drill, volunteering at high school events or providing invaluable insight for the Lyon College band program, Daria is a fierce and compassionate critical thinker, selflessly giving to others,” he said.

Giles encourages other Lyon students to “just go for it” if they are considering applying for a leadership position.

“If you don’t get it the first time, then that means you have more time to keep working toward that goal. There are always people who can help you or that you can reach out to on campus.”

Giles concluded, “There’s nothing stopping you from asking for feedback or help. It’s a matter of communication and trying again and again.”

Congressman French Hill Leads Forum at Philander Smith College

U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR 2nd District) paid a visit to Philander Smith College on Monday, April 5th to hold a public affairs forum with students, faculty and administrators. The Congressman spoke about a range of issues including public-private partnerships, investment in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), student loan debt repayment programs, and the need for allied health care professionals in Central Arkansas, among other topics.

In his fourth term, Hill serves as the Co-Chair to the Bipartisan and Bicameral Congressional HBCU Caucus. In 2019, he hosted a summit on HBCUs in Little Rock that attracted participants from across the state and nation. He also supported the permanent reauthorization of more than $250 million in funding for HBCUs.

“We appreciate the focus and work of Congressman Hill in support of the nation’s most venerable institutions,” said Philander Smith College President Roderick Smothers Sr. “He has certainly been an unwavering advocate of Arkansas’s HBCU delegation, so it is not surprising that he would engage our scholars in dialogue about critical issues impacting their lives and our communities.”

The Congressman praised Philander Smith for its history of preparing young people for careers that will allow them to benefit not only Central Arkansas but communities across the nation. He also encouraged students to communicate the “value proposition” of HBCUs to corporate entities as they seek professional opportunities. 

 “I have been a champion for HBCU schools and students, and I am excited to continue to serve the HBCU communities in Congress,” Hill said. 

Hill engaged with students at the invitation of Dr. Daniel Egbe, Chair of the Division of Social Sciences at Philander Smith College. Several PSC students greeted Hill, including SGA President Keilan Patterson, SGA Chaplain J’Nya Thompson, Miss PSC Jerrin Cooper, and Mister PSC Terrian Livingston. Sophomore Class President Imri Davis introduced the Congressman.

National Science Foundation awards Harding Faculty James Huff $575k grant to launch career-long research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded James Huff, associate professor of engineering and Honors College faculty fellow, a $575,000 grant for his research titled CAREER: Advancing academic cultures of well-being by understanding professional experiences of engineering faculty. This NSF CAREER grant is the most prestigious individual award given to an early-career faculty member at Harding. It is the 59th CAREER grant awarded in the state of Arkansas and only the sixth at an institution other than the University of Arkansas since NSF’s inception in 1994.

Dr. James Huff

The grant awards Dr. Huff for advancing his psychological research on shame, identity and well-being in engineering education settings. The $575,000 grant will be used to implement a nationwide qualitative investigation of engineering faculty, and also facilitate in-depth training on coping with professional experiences of shame. 

“In this project, I will closely be examining the ways that engineering faculty experience powerful emotional experiences of professional shame when they fail to achieve what they feel is expected of them,” said Huff. “In prior research, engineering faculty are rarely studied as whole individuals but rather seen as static, supportive fixtures of student outcomes. Through this study, I will develop a holistic understanding of how faculty regulate emotion in moments of shame that are often hidden from view. The findings will inform us how we can better equip faculty with informed strategies to live out of a mindset of care — both toward themselves and their students — and thus advance well-being in academic settings.” 

Prior to receiving this award, Huff worked as a principal investigator of an NSF grant studying the lived experience of shame in engineering students. 

Huff’s work has been published in the Journal for Engineering of Education introducing his theory of professional shame. This work is the foundation of his NSF CAREER proposal. 

Harding Online launches a new initiative, the Center for Organizational Leadership, which will offer three certificate programs and the Master of Arts in organizational leadership degree beginning this fall

Harding University announced today the launch of the Harding University Center for Organizational Leadership, the first initiative of the newly formed HU Online. Through HUCOL, Harding will offer a Master of Arts in organizational leadership and three certificate programs in executive and workplace coaching, human resource management, and learning and development beginning this fall. The organizational leadership master’s program is a 30 credit-hour degree, and certificates are 12 credit hours. The center’s academic track will be offered in collaboration between HU Online, the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration and Strata Leadership.

“I have dreamed of days like this,” said Keith Cronk, senior vice president of HU Online. “This initiative will further enhance Harding’s ability to provide world-class Christian education to a global audience.”

HUCOL will be staffed by Strata Leadership, a talent development company based in Oklahoma City, and will be the primary marketing and enrollment arm for the program. Strata provides character and competence-based executive coaching, training and resources to companies, nonprofits, governmental agencies and educational institutions throughout the United States and abroad.

In addition to the announcement of HUCOL, several staffing updates were announced:

Dr. Nathan Mellor (B.A., ’95 and MSE, ’97) – executive director

Mellor is CEO of Strata Leadership, which he co-founded in 2009. Since that time, Strata has become one of the most influential leadership companies in the region. Mellor will be leading HUCOL in addition to his ongoing work with Strata from Edmond, Ok. 

Dr. Andrea Bishop (B.A., ’97 and M.Ed. ’01) – academic director

Bishop most recently served as the coordinator of virtual learning for UofM Global, the online arm of the University of Memphis.

Todd Miller (B.A. ’96 and MFT ’98) –  director of strategic initiatives

After serving more than 20 years in ministry, Miller most recently worked as clinic and community relations director at OneLife Wellness Center in Searcy, Ark.

Piper Riggs – director of marketing and admissions

Following her time in higher education, Riggs was executive director of a nonprofit prior to launching her own successful company, Caraway Lane Marketing, in Edmond, Ok.

Gift Celebrates Iconic Philander Smith Alumnus

On the heels of Black History Month, Philander Smith College is pleased to announce a $25,000 gift from Rush and Linda Harding of Little Rock to honor Scipio A. Jones who attended the institution in 1883.  Later this year, a commissioned portrait of Jones – painted by Wade Hampton, a Little Rock native now living in New York City – will be hung in the downtown Little Rock post office that bears the name of the pioneering civil rights lawyer.

The lead gift to fund the project, which is estimated at a total of $50,000, is being made by the Hardings who, as longtime supporters, have strong ties to Philander Smith.  A former member of the College’s Board of Trustees, in 2018, Rush Harding was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the institution for his valued service and financial contributions.

“Dr. Rush and Linda Harding have been staunch supporters of Philander Smith College for a very long time,” said Roderick L. Smothers, Sr. president of Philander Smith College. “Their latest act of generosity to ensure that a portrait of our alumnus, Scipio A. Jones, is placed in the post office that bears his name is just another example of how they continuously seek ways to lift up Philanderians and our institution.”

Born to an enslaved person in Tulip, Ark., Scipio Africanus Jones attended Walden Seminary (now Philander Smith College) before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Shorter College in North Little Rock. Denied admittance to law school because of his race, Jones passed the Arkansas Bar in 1889 after serving legal apprenticeships and was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar in 1905.

Jones is perhaps best known for his skillful dense of the Elaine 12 during the Elaine Race Riots of 1919 when twelve Black sharecroppers were wrongly charged and sentenced to death by an all-white jury for their alleged involvement in the murder of a white man. As another 87 other Black men were convicted for participating in the ensuing riots, Jones was hired as the defense attorney for all 99 of the convicted men in a case that was heard before the United States Supreme Court.

“In 1969, I was in the first totally integrated class in Clarendon, Ark., where I am from. Elaine schools played in Clarendon’s conference in sports and I have vivid memories of my Black teammates being apprehensive about traveling there to play because their grandparents shared with them what took place in 1919,” said Rush Harding.  “This is why as stakeholders in Philander Smith College, Linda and I are honored to make this gift to honor such a distinguished Arkansan and Philander Smith alumnus.”

Signed into law in December 2020, it was legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. French Hill (R-AR) that is allowing the Scipio A. Jones Post Office Building located at 1700 Main Street in Little Rock, just minutes from the Philander Smith campus, to “accept and display” a portrait of Jones’ likeness.