Harding University President’s Council to be restructured

Harding University today announced a revised structure of its President’s Council.

Under the revised structure, donors can join the President’s Council within four giving levels, each named after Harding’s presidents, with a corresponding recognition medallion collection:

David B. Burks Level includes donations from $600 to $1,499. Burks, who currently serves as Harding’s president, will retire June 2013 after 26 years as chief executive.
Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Level includes donations from $1,500 to $4,999. Ganus served as president from 1965 to 1987.
George S. Benson Level includes donations from $5,000 to $9,999. Benson served the longest tenure as president, 29 years, from 1936 to 1965.
J. N. Armstrong Level includes donations $10,000 and above. Harding’s first president, Armstrong served from 1924 to 1936.

The goal of the new structure is to not only expand Council participation and make the donor group more inclusive but also to acknowledge the presidents’ legacies.

“When the President’s Council was established in 1965, its role was not only to provide financial support, but to be the eyes and ears of the college,” said Dr. Mike Williams, vice president of University Advancement. “As we constantly speak with donors, we see a tremendous value in inviting alumni and friends of all ages and demographic backgrounds to join the Council as partners in our effort to integrate faith, learning and living with our students.

“It is also fitting in an organization called the President’s Council that we acknowledge the four men who committed themselves to the high calling of chief executive officer,” said Williams. “Each of the four presidents was the right man for his time and helped establish Harding as one of the country’s premier Christian universities. Those of us who presently serve Harding stand on their shoulders as we look to the future.”

To recognize Council participants, Harding has authorized the striking of the President’s Council Medallion Collection, which depicts the presidents’ likenesses on one of four 2.5-inch medallions and the University seal on the reverse.

The medallions, struck in copper (Burks), bronze (Ganus), silver (Benson) and gold (Armstrong) plating, represent the four giving levels. Donors will be presented their respective giving level’s medallion and all medallions representing the lower levels. As donors graduate through the giving levels, they will add those medallions to their collection. Each medallion comes with its own wooden stand.

“We value the commitment and support that Council members provide to the University,” said Liza Freeman Wright, President’s Council chairwoman. “The medallion collection is a small way that we can show our appreciation for members’ involvement and engagement, and it beautifully honors the legacies of Harding’s four presidents who have faithfully served through the University’s 89-year history.”