Dr. David Burks transitions to serve as president emeritus

Dr. David B. Burks will resign as chancellor effective May 31, after 56 years at Harding, including 27 and one-half years as the University’s fourth president from 1987-2013 and from 2020-22. In June, he will transition to serve as president emeritus. He will continue to office in the David B. Burks American Heritage Building and will be deeply involved in the Centennial Celebration.

“On behalf of Harding’s Board of Trustees, I reflect with joy and gratitude on the remarkable career of Dr. Burks,” said Charles Ganus, board chairman. “In his service as a professor, dean of the School of Business, president and chancellor, he influenced the lives of tens of thousands of students and had an immeasurable impact on our beloved University. As president emeritus, it is fitting that Dr. Burks will maintain an office in the building so appropriately named after him in recognition of his decades of outstanding service to Harding. As Harding’s Centennial Celebration nears, Dr. Burks brings a unique perspective. Including his years as a student, Dr. Burks has been on campus for 60% of Harding’s history.”

A 1965 alumnus, Burks worked for Exxon as a CPA before returning to Harding in 1967 to teach business and direct the placement office. He became dean of the School of Business in 1974 before his inauguration as president in 1987. He and his wife, Leah, received Harding’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998.

“I am grateful to Harding’s Board of Trustees for the opportunity to serve both as president and as chancellor over the past 36 years,” Dr. David Burks said. “Harding is very much a part of my life’s work and ministry. I love our faculty, staff, especially our students, and our extended Harding family, including many Searcy friends. It has been my joy to be a part of this work for most of my adult life. I am now looking forward to the next chapter in my journey. I’m very confident that God will continue to bless the work and ministry which we call Harding.”

Burks served as chancellor from 2013-2020 and 2022-2023, leveraging the University’s resources to better serve White County communities.

“Dr. Burks has enjoyed a remarkable career,” President Williams said. “His tenure of over five and a half decades is extraordinary.  What a tremendous legacy! I look forward to joining him in the Centennial Celebration as we recognize God’s blessing on Harding over the last century.”

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 students from across the U.S. and more than 50 nations and territories. The University offers more than 110 undergraduate majors; 14 preprofessional programs; more than 40 graduate and professional programs; as well as numerous study abroad opportunities including locations in Australasia, Peru, England, Greece, Italy and Zambia. For more information, visit harding.edu .

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