Harding Names New Distinguished Chair


SEARCY — Harding University celebrated Chancellor Emeritus Clifton L. Ganus Jr.’s 95th birthday April 7. To honor Ganus’s life and contributions to the University, the Clifton L. Ganus Jr. Distinguished Chair of History and Political Science has been established in the College of Arts and Humanities.

The endowed chair will be funded by the University and donations from the Ganus family and will serve to enhance the level of teaching and learning of history and political science not only in the department but also throughout the University. The distinguished chair appointment will be awarded to candidates showcasing excellence in teaching, and the first appointment will be named in fall 2017.

“Chancellor Emeritus Ganus is of course a legend at Harding, and his career began as a history professor who had a reputation for making history come to life,” said Provost Marty Spears. “I believe this honor will be very special to Dr. Ganus because it acknowledges and supports his beginning as a faculty member at Harding.”

Ganus graduated from Harding in 1943 with bachelor’s degrees in Bible and history. He and his wife, Louise, married in Godden Hall an hour and a half after he walked across the stage to receive his diploma. Ganus served as pulpit minister for several congregations before being asked by Harding’s then President George Benson to return as a professor.

“I said when I left [Harding], ‘There is one thing I’ll never do: teach’ — famous last words,” Ganus said. “When Dr. Benson called me and wanted me to teach history and Bible, I jumped at it because I loved Harding so much. I know what it did in my life, how it changed me and set me on the right course, and I know how many other students, too, had the same experience that I had that really turned them around.”

Ganus joined the faculty as professor of history and chairman of the department of history and social science in 1946. He became dean of American Studies in 1952 and president of the University in 1965, serving for 22 years. He then served as a chancellor after his presidency and continues to serve as chancellor emeritus. He has occupied the same office for more than 51 years. He played a vital role in bringing varsity athletics to Harding in 1957 and attends nearly every sporting event.

Louise celebrated her 95th birthday Feb. 9, and Ganus turned 95 Friday, April 7. The couple has been married for 74 years during which they have visited more than 70 countries together and always returned to their favorite place: Harding.

“I’ve been in a lot of places, but I don’t know of any better place,” Ganus said. “I think the spirit of Christ is the spirit of Harding. We are not perfect; we make mistakes; we’re human, and any human institution is going to have problems from time to time, but you have to go a long way to find a better group of people working with a better spirit and attitude. That has always impressed me.

“I know what Harding did for me, and I know what it has done for so many others. If that is still happening and we still have the basic principles and spirit and ideals of the Lord, that’s where I want to be. I don’t know of any better place to be. It’s one of the best places in the world — and I’ve been all over the world.”

Harding University is a private Christian, liberal arts university located in Searcy, Arkansas. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, it is the largest private university in the state. Harding’s student body represents all 50 states and 54 nations and territories. The University offers more than 100 undergraduate majors; graduate and professional degrees at the master’s, specialist and doctoral levels; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australia, Chile, England, France, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit www.harding.edu.

Louise and Cliff Ganus
Louise & Cliff Ganus

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