Student Spotlight: Ella Duryea



Student Profile

Our first 2024 Student Spotlight is Ella Duryea, Harding’s 2023-2024 Student Government Association President. Ella is a senior communication science and disorders major from Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ella has a passion for connecting with people and serving others. After turning her tassel this May, she plans on pursuing law school. 

What are your responsibilities as SGA President? 

“As Student Government Association President, I act as a resource for both the students and faculty of Harding University; meaning that I listen to the ideas and concerns of both parties and serve as a bridge between the two. Practically, that means lots of meetings, emails, and phone calls. In fact, a lot of my job is simply to know things and know people. To be in frequent conversation with a variety of people across campus allows me to connect those with like-minded missions and passions. At the beginning of my role, I assumed my job as a leader would be to brainstorm my own initiatives and make them happen. Early on, I learned that my idea of leadership was incomplete and perhaps selfish. The responsibility I now take on everyday is to listen to the passions and ideas of our community. I help to make those ideas an effective reality that benefits the experiences of all members of this community.

 I was very grateful to be wrong about this aspect; the diversity of opinions and motivations here results in better ideas than I could ever come up with on my own. It’s more about being a servant than handing out projects and assignments. This role has stretched my definition of leadership—these days my perception of the concept looks much more cross shaped.” 

What are some of your highlights from your position? 

“‘Bro, are you that girl from Table Talk?’ is perhaps one of my favorite comments to get stopped with. Yes, I am the girl you have seen every Monday in chapel for the past six months. It’s reflective of the part of my job that most people know me from, and the part that is one of my favorites: Table Talk with Ella. There is a purpose and message behind each one that all ties into the vision I had at the beginning of the year. My theme, There’s Room for You at the Table, is lived out as I bring students and staff from across campus to join me at the table for a meaningful conversation. There, we get to meet some of the people that are working hard—often with little to no recognition—to make Harding a better place. This celebration has been a continued effort to foster a culture that values each other and values being here. 

The absolute best part of this role is also what makes it a difficult responsibility at times. I am a 21 year old girl with college classes and a social life who has morphed into a semi-professional with lots of meetings, lots of emails to answer, and lots of important decisions to make. I have learned so much from trying to balance the two. On my journey to be both a determined leader and an approachable, youthful gal, the most remarkable mentors have come alongside me. I have watched these mentors, men and women from the Harding community, do the hard work of holding both their ambition and humility in graceful tension. As a result, I have learned so much about the leader and the follower of Jesus that I want to be. Experiencing the chaos and excitement of asking questions and growing while in the safety of wise, loving mentors has been the greatest blessing of my time as Student Government Association President.” 

What words of wisdom do you have to share with underclassmen?

  1. 1. Put your name in the hat because it's a good thing to care, try, and work hard. 

2. Take your time walking to class: look up so you don’t forget that you go to school in a pretty place with kind people.
3. Be friends with people that don’t think, or look, or believe like you do.


We are excited to shine a spotlight on more students from the Harding community for their hard work, passion, and dedication. 

More News

2024 Speakers

Adm. William McRaven

Harding recognizes 2023 fall candidates for graduation during Dec. 16 commencement