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American Studies Institute

Liberty is the most fragile possession of the human race. The great historian Arnold Toynbee challenges us even today with this statement:

"The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. History seems to confirm the saying that people of past civilizations have passed through nine steps to complete a cycle beginning and ending in bondage. People in bondage have developed a spiritual faith; spiritual faith has given them courage; courage has brought them liberty; liberty has given them abundance; abundance has caused selfishness; selfishness produced complacency; complacency brought on apathy; apathy begot dependency; dependency brought forth its natural result: bondage again!"

President's Welcome

Bruce McLarty

Harding University is pleased to present its quality program in American citizenship education. The University's American Studies Institute stands as a tribute to the heritage that has made America the great nation that it is.

A 77-year history of educational excellence at Harding has provided the atmosphere for free enterprise education in a nation that was founded upon Christian principles of faith, liberty and human dignity. Harding University strives to enhance the appreciation of that heritage through the American Studies Institute's focus on basic principles of free enterprise.

The American Studies Institute encompasses thousands of individuals and corporations who participate in the program each year.

Dr. Bruce McLarty, President
Harding University

"....one of the most prestigious lecture series in the south." WSJ Senior Editorial Board Member Stephen Moore, speaking to Arkansas Business

Mission Statement

The American Studies Institute is to be an educational bastion to the broad countercultural trends that we see sweeping our nation from one decade to the next. Its answer is to go back to the fundamental values that made this country great. As Dr. George S. Benson, the late president in Harding University, first articulated as Constitutional Government, Capitalism, and Christianity. From these three C’s, American Studies Institute can see a multitude of values flow such as a respect for authority, respect for human life, the work ethic, and discipline.

This long-established tradition continues to be highlighted by its marquee, Distinguished Lectureship Series, and emphasis on educational programs, such as the National Leadership Forum and the Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education. For the future, efforts are being explored, such as the Sino American Studies Institute.

Harding University will always uphold and study America’s role it plays in making this country and the world a better place in which to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Lecture Series

Bringing lectures to the Harding campus, this program serves as an integral part of the American Studies Institute. A unique approach to citizenship education in contemporary national and international affairs, the Lecture Series offers insight into current trends in political and economical development affecting the American way of life. Speakers in the Lecture Series have included President George H.W. Bush, President Gerald Ford, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev,  Lech Walesa, Barbara Bush, Dick Cheney, Linda Chavez, Henry Kissinger, Bobby Bowden, Gene Stallings, William Bennett, William F. Buckley Jr., Benazir Bhutto, Ben Stein, Laura Ingraham, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, and President George W. Bush.

If you need accommodations due to a disability, please contact the American Studies Office by calling 501-279-4497. Please make your request at least one week prior to the scheduled presentation.

Lee Ellis

Col. Lee Ellis, Sept. 18, 2014

7:30 pm  Benson Auditorium

Lee's newest book, Leading with Honor, shares his POW experience and the 14 leadership principles that helped him and his compatriots survive. Lee’s previous book, Leading Talents, Leading Teams, was published by Northfield Publishing and shares in-depth team development concepts based on their innate gifts and talents. Additionally, he co-authored three books on career planning. He is a conference and motivational speaker on the subjects of leadership, team building, mentoring, and career planning. In addition, he has been interviewed as a subject matter expert on several nationally syndicated radio programs.

Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens, Nov. 13, 2014

7:30 pm  Benson Auditorium

Former Navy SEAL, Founder of The Mission Continues, and Best-Selling Author

Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, the founder of The Mission Continues, and the award-winning and best-selling author of Strength and Compassion and The Heart and the Fist. He has served as a humanitarian volunteer across the globe and has deployed to Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, and Iraq. His close call with a truck bomb inspired the formation of The Mission Continues, which helps wounded and disabled veterans. Greitens draws from his experience as a humanitarian and a SEAL to address leadership, team building, resilience, overcoming adversity, and the power of service.

Archie Manning

Archie Manning, Feb. 19, 2015

7:30 pm  Benson Auditorium

When people think of Archie Manning, they think football. But Manning’s appeal transcends his athletic achievements. People far and wide have been inspired by his warm personality, his drive and sense of humor. He was recently selected Father of the Year by the National Father’s Day Council. He currently serves in public relations and consulting capacities for several local, regional, and national companies, including Reebok, Gatorade, Direct TV and CBS Sports. For 25 years he hosted four Archie Manning Cystic Fibrosis benefit golf tournaments in Louisiana and Mississippi and is active in a wide variety of charitable and civic causes.

Papandreou 

Prime Minister George Papandreou, April 23, 2015

7:30 pm Benson Auditorium

As Prime Minister of Greece from October 2009 to November 2011, George Papandreou has been at the forefront of the global financial crisis. Named as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” in 2010 for “making the best of Greece’s worst year,” he speaks with authority on the state of the Eurozone today and the future of the European Union. In these tumultuous times, few are better placed than Prime Minister Papandreou to provide insights into the Euro Crisis and the mounting challenges in democratic governance.

Around the world, Papandreou has deployed ‘Green Diplomacy,’ calling for the protection of the environment.  He has championed human rights at home and abroad, and has actively sought to maximize citizen participation in governance through information technologies. He has also held other government posts, including Under‐Secretary for Cultural Affairs and Minister for Education.

The Distinguished Lecture Series Roots

The American Studies Institute traces its roots to a program that started at Harding in 1953 called the School of American Studies. Expanded and renamed in 1988, the Institute is designed to supplement the academic training of students by promoting a complete understanding of the institutions, values and ideas of liberty and democracy. It does so by providing up-to-date reflections from national and international leaders in business, government and education.

The benefits of the American Studies Institute have been visibly significant. Unequaled educational opportunities have been provided to students in many disciplines. The program has a long-standing tradition of recognition from the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pa., receiving numerous awards in the area of community service. In fact, either the program itself or Harding faculty and administrators have won a Freedoms Foundation award every year for the past 45 years.

Needed Now More Than Ever!

In a country where drive-by shootings are an indication of the decline in the values of our youth, what are we to do?

The answer is, "We go back to the fundamental values that made this country great!" The late president emeritus of Harding University, Dr. George S. Benson, articulated these values as "the three C's." The first value was Constitutional Government. The second was Capitalism, and the third C was Christian-Judeo Ethics. From these three C's one can see a multitude of values flowing, such as respect for authority, respect for human life, the work ethic and discipline.

It is ironic that in the post-Cold War era, Russia and Eastern European countries are clamoring for seminars on entrepreneurship that teach the fundamental values that this country was built upon, such as the work ethic, trust and respect for human dignity. At the same time, our own country moves in the direction of more big government, more taxes, devaluation of human life, and more crime.

The American Studies Institute is an educational bastion against these broad trends that we see sweeping our nation. However, we know no man is an island, and no man stands alone. The same can be said for the programs such as American Studies.

Harding University's American Studies Institute cannot do it alone! We must have the widespread support of people who share in the values that are promulgated by Dr. Benson's famous three C's. Only through locking arms and taking a stand can we have any hope of reversing some of these trends, returning this nation to the greatness it once held, and ensuring its place in the world as the pre-eminent leader of liberty.

Establishing the Program

The American Studies Institute traces its roots to a program at Harding University that began in 1953 as the School of American Studies. Initiated to work toward bringing about a better understanding of the American way of life, the program had an impact on the education of every student. In the ensuing years, the program of American Studies at Harding has become one of the most-honored programs of its kind in the nation.

Historical Synopsis

The American Studies Distinguished Lecture Series has had 500+ distinguished lecturers on campus over all of these years.  An example of the quality of the lectures in illustrated by the following list: Gerald Ford, William Crowe, Dan Quayle, Lynne Cheney, Helmut Schmidt, Benazir Bhutto, Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, John Major, Colin Powell, Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Barbara Bush, Malcolm S. Forbes Jr., and Brian Mulroney.  Further evidence of the American Studies Institute program being the marquee program of the university, it has been awarded Freedom Foundation medals from the very earliest to date to a total of over 45, for contribution to the community and country.

 

1925     Dr. George S. Benson goes to China as a missionary and personally experiences Communism and Socialism    

 

1936     Dr. George S. Benson returns to Harding University as the university’s second president; Dr. Benson established his National Education Program (NEP), emphasizing Godliness and Patriotism and his three C’s of Constitutional Government, Capitalism, and Christianity (over 25 million people a week came in contact with Dr. Benson’s thoughts on these through his radio program and publications)

 

1936     Dr. Kimmerer of Princeton University; first American Studies speaker

 

1949          First Freedom’s Foundation medal awarded to Harding University by General Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

1952          School of American Studies established; Dr. Clifton L. Ganus named Dean

 

1953          First educational tour for students

 

1954          American Studies for Teachers program begun

 

1956     Youth Citizenship Seminar began for High School juniors and seniors

 

1965          Dr. Billy Ray Cox named Director of the American Studies program

 

1973          Management Seminars begun as a part of the American Studies program

 

1979     The Dell Belden Center for Free Enterprise Education was established

 

1982          Lecture Studio Library was begun; Dr. David B. Burks, Dean of the School of Business, named director of the program

 

1985          The Walton program was established

 

1987     American Studies Program changed to American Studies Institute and an advisory board was formed with Co-Chairmen Jack Stephens and Sam Walton

 

1987     Dr. Jim Carr named Director of the American Studies Institute and Dr. Bob Reely named Executive Associate Director

 

1988          American Studies Institute Conference Center was established

 

1988     Arkansas American Legion Auxiliary Girls’ State

 

1990     American Studies Distinguished Student upper level Honors program formed

 

1992     Arkansas State Special Olympics hosted by the American Studies Institute

 

1992     Stephens Scholars Program begun

 

1993          Youth Citizenship Seminar (YCS) changed to National Leadership Forum (NLF)

 

1993     Summer Economics Institute for Teachers had begun, graduating approximately 25 teachers a year for seven years totaling of 175 graduates, influencing as many as 150 students per year, giving a multiplier of possibly thousands of students to be influenced in Economic Education

 

1999     Arkansas Home School Conference hosted by Conference Center

 

2004          Sino/American Studies Institute began. Presently, 16 Chinese scholars have graduated from Harding University and there are 36 that are currently enrolled

 

2006     National Leadership Forum celebrating its 50th Anniversary with approximately 10,000+ High School students influenced over these years in godliness and patriotism

 

Continuing the Tradition

Harding's program for American Studies continues to work toward increasing awareness of the American tradition. Expanded in 1988 under its new name, the American Studies Institute is broadening its base of emphasis in a Christian educational environment that encourages students to continue the traditions that made America great. Rooted in such concepts as freedom, liberty, democracy, faith in God, family and values, the heritage of American society rests in ideals fostered by the founding fathers of this great nation. A number of programs are coordinated by the American Studies Institute:

Leadership Program

The ASI Leadership Program conducts conferences, seminars and training either on campus or at various locations throughout the United States. Featuring national opinion leaders, these conferences are designed to develop American leadership and to promote the values that are important to this country as it approaches the 21st century.

Conference hotel facilities are also available for use by business firms and organizations who desire to plan their own programs. A multi-faceted Conference Center with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology is housed in the University's American Heritage Center.

Entrepreneurial Development, BUSINESS Consultation and Training

Consultation and training on behalf of the private and public sectors to enhance the efficiency of government, business and industry is a key program of the American Studies Institute. The American Studies' Center for Management Excellence assists with this service.

Distinguished Student Honors Program

Harding University students of all majors are eligible to apply to the American Studies Institute Distinguished Student Honors Program. The prerequisites for application include a 3.5 grade point average or above and standing as a junior, senior or member of Harding University's Honors Program. The grade point average for the students who are now participating in this program is 3.76 and above.

Educational Tours

Educational tours of various cities and major metropolitan areas throughout the United States are conducted for Harding's American Studies Honor Students, allowing them to meet business leaders, government officials and educators each year. Normally, one tour is a part of the annual schedule, including one to Washington, D.C., on occasion.

National Leadership Forum

Each year the American Studies Institute hosts a National Leadership Forum on the Harding campus. Co-sponsored with regional civic clubs, the seminar promotes leadership education for high school students from a five-state region.

The Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education

The Belden Center for Private Enterprise Education at Harding University emphasizes a back-to-the-basics approach to economic enlightenment. Endowed by the late Del Belden, former chairman of Lomanco Inc., the Belden Center attempts to translate values into practical education programs.

As part of the program, the University's student economics team has participated in the "Students in Free Enterprise" intercollegiate competition since 1979. The team won the national championship in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1985 and were national runners-up in 1979, 1983, 1986 and 1988 1993.

Central American Entrepreneurial Seminars

Seminars are conducted on entrepreneurial skills and their application in promoting economic development in two Central American countries. More than 200 attendees per country is typical of the interest in this seminar program. Local and national business leaders participate in the presentations. This program nurtures and strengthens the ties between not only Harding University's American Studies Institute and the Central American countries but also with graduates of the Walton Scholar Program who have finished their educations and have returned to enhance the free enterprise systems of their own countries.

China Scholar Program

The American Studies Institute values Sino-American relations and exchanges, and thus invites Chinese government, business and educational leaders to experience U. S. culture and study U. S. governmental, business and educational systems.

  • A Master of Science in Educational Leadership program is designed to cater to the needs of Chinese educators and school administrators who desire to further their professional knowledge and skills in educational leadership and school administration.
  • A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program is designed to meet the needs of Chinese businessmen and business leaders who desire to further their professional knowledge and skills in business administration and organizational leadership.
  • Special programs can be designed to meet the special needs and interests of Chinese business leaders and school administrators who come to study and research on a weekly, monthly, or semester basis.
  • Lecturers include professors with Ph. D’s, and leaders and experts in various fields, such as college presidents and deans, business CEOs, successful bankers, and local political leaders.
  • Lectures or courses for non-credit programs can include topics such as American industries and business, American politics, American business laws and ethics, American school administration, American educational leadership, Sino-American trade, Sino-American relations, etc.
  • Field trips can include U.S. businesses, industries, schools, cultural events, the state capital, and other places of interest.

 

News: Harding ranks among best Christian colleges and 100 college buys > Read More

 


For further information, contact:

West Xionghui LingWest Xionghui Ling
Director of China and East Asia Program
Associate Director of Sino American Studies Institute
001-501-279-5762 (Office)
001-501-593-8869 (Cell)
86-15819409316 (China)
xling@harding.edu
westlxh@yahoo.com
Mark Yu WangMark Yu Wang
Director of China District Programs
001-501-593-7099 (cell)
501-279-5385
86-15802665237
wymark2005@yahoo.com
ywang@harding.edu
 

Or write to:

Harding University
American Studies Institute
Box 10705
915 E. Market Ave.
Searcy, AR 72143
U. S. A.

 

As well as

  • Distinguished Lecture Series
  • Business Consultation and Training
  • Walton Program
  • Stephens Scholars Program

Evaluating the Results

The benefits of the American Studies Institute have been visibly significant. Unequaled educational opportunities have been provided to students in many disciplines. The program has a long-standing tradition of recognition from the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pa., receiving numerous awards in the area of community service. In fact, either the program itself or faculty and administrators at Harding have won a Freedoms Foundation award every year for the past 44 years.

Harding's continuing emphasis on the principles of freedom has made an indelible mark on students through the years. Their influence continues to permeate and influence those around them.

The American Studies Institute at Harding University is truly unique. I know of no other program in America that brings to its constituencies the same caliber of national opinion leaders in business and politics. Harding was a pioneer, and continues to be a leader, in the promotion of free enterprise education.

Harding University is making a difference. Its educational program in free enterprise and in the American way of life is preparing students to build a better nation. The expanded services of the American Studies Institute assure that these goals will continue to be achieved.

Advisory Board

Chairman
Harold Smethills
, chairman, founder and manager, Sterling Ranch LLC

Executive Committee 

Chris Bequette, president, American Coaches Wealth Management

Charles W. Bradley, chief executive officer, Senderra Capital

Don Brown, retired, Mead Johnson Nutritional Group

Blair Bryan, managing director, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.

Brant Bryan, principal, CresaPartners, Fairways Equities 

Brian Bush, executive vice president, Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs

Byron Carlock, president & CEO, CNL LifeStyle Company

Larry Crain, president, Crain Management Group

John Paul Hammerschmidt, U.S. Representative (retired)

J. Leon Johnson, circuit judge, Pulaski County, Arkansas

Tory Kiam, president, RPI Corporation

Dennis Leggett, (retired) Aerojet

Topper Long, president and chief executive officer (retired), Textron Engine Marine and Land Systems

J. Stanley Marshall, founding chairman, The James Madison Institute for Public Policy Studies

Paul Maynard, partner, Deloitte & Touche, Minneapolis

Bruce McLarty, president, Harding University

Jack McNutt, president (retired), Murphy Oil Corporation

Lundy Neely, president and chief executive officer, Crown Solutions

Wayne Ridout, president, Ridout Lumber Company

Porter R. Rodgers, surgeon (retired)

Reynie Rutledge, chair, First Security BanCorp

Peter Searson, chairman, Gallagher Bassett Group, Capalaba, Australia

Mark Stansberry, founder and chairman, The GTD Group (Global Trade and Development)

Fritz S. Steiger, president, Deltox Inc.

Jeff Tennyson, chairman and chief executive officer, EquiFirst Corporation

Lt. Gen. Herman O. Thomson, U.S. Air Force (retired), H.O. Thomson Associates Inc.

W. Barger Tygart, vice chairman (retired), J.C. Penney Company

Jody Venkatesan, partner, Holloway & Company

David Waldron, owner/contractor, Waldron Homes

Donald (Buddy) Wray, president (retired), Tyson Foods Inc.

Lynn Wright, group president, Regions Bank

Albert R. Yarnell, chairman, Yarnell Ice Cream Company

Earl Young, advisor, U.S. Rare Earth Minerals

Sponsors

Patriot's Endowment Club

  • First Security Bank
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Leggett
  • Mr. and Mrs. E.M. McKinney
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jack McNutt

America's Club

  • Aramark
  • Dr. and Mrs. Kyle Blickenstaff
  • Dr. and Mrs. David Burks
  • Dr. and Mrs. Jim Carr
  • Dr. and Mrs. Jim Citty
  • Drs. Richard and Debbie Duke
  • Johnny Brock Excavating and Landscaping
  • Chesapeake Energy
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas
  • James H. Cone Inc.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Hooper
  • Liberty Bank of Arkansas
  • Mr. and Mrs. Greg G. Niblock 
  • Dr. J.D. Patterson
  • Mrs. Treva Pryor
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Ray 
  • Steelman, Connell & Moseley Architects
  • Mr. Warren Stephens
  • Dr. and Mrs. Stephen Tucker
  • Mr and Mrs. Joey Wiggins
  • White County Medical Center
  • White River Flooring

Liberty Club

  • Dr. and Mrs. Glen Blue
  • Bryce Corporation
  • The Bug Man of Searcy
  • First Community Bank
  • Dr. and Mrs. C.L. Ganus, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. James B. House
  • Mr. and Mrs. Roger McMennamy
  • Regions Bank
  • Mrs. Lois Schwartz
  • Simmons First Bank of Searcy
  • Dr. and Mrs. Mark White
  • Major Dennis and Dr. Cheri Yecke

Constitutional Club

  • Mr. and Mrs. Brooks Davis
  • Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bush
  • Mrs. Stephanie Carr
  • Mrs. June Carter
  • Dr. and Mrs. Kris Citty
  • ConvaCare Management
  • F.L. Davis Home & Bldg Center
  • Hampton Inn
  • Dr. and Mrs. Allan Isom
  • Dr. and Mrs. Michael Justus
  • Mr. and Mrs. Kelly Koonce
  • Dr. and Mrs. John Ryan
  • Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Sloan
  • Mr. Bill Spear III
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Steuri
  • Mr. Wayne Stover

Free Enterprise Club

  • Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Allen
  • Mr. and Mrs. James Austin
  • Dr. and Mrs. Finis Bailey, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. L.R. Berry, Jr.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Richard Brown
  • Dr. and Mrs. Bryan Burks
  • Mr. and Mrs. George Carder
  • Mr. Richard Cargile
  • Dr. and Mrs. David Collins
  • Dr. and Mrs. Bob Corbin
  • Dr. and Mrs. Jared Cox
  • Mr. Keith and Dr. Reet Cronk
  • Dr. and Mrs. Dan Davidson
  • Mrs. Virginia Ann Davis
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brad Dell
  • Dr. and Mrs. Don Diffine
  • Dr. and Mrs. Gene Dugger
  • Entergy Arkansas
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jim Fielder
  • Mr. and Mrs. Scott Finley
  • Mr. and Mrs. Al Fowler, Jr.
  • Dr. and Mrs. Allen Frazier
  • Mr. and Mrs. Fred Gallo
  • Mrs. Irene Gray
  • Mr. and Mrs. Larry Hansen
  • Mrs. Lil Harris
  • Dr. and Mrs. Budd Hebert
  • Dr. and Mrs. Don Helms
  • Mr. and Mrs. Blake Hendrix
  • Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Hobby
  • Mrs. Karen Sue Horton
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Howard
  • Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Howard, Jr.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Howell
  • Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bob Humphrey
  • Drs. Fred and Alice Jewell
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bill Knight
  • Mr. and Mrs. Scott LaFerney
  • Mr. and Mrs. Brian Maddox
  • Dr. and Mrs. Wilton Martin
  • Mr. and Mrs. Paul Maynard
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mazander
  • Dr. and Mrs. Edward McAdams
  • Dr. and Mrs. Bruce McLarty
  • Dr. and Mrs. Randy McLeod
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mike Millar
  • Mr. and Mrs. Paul Morgan
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dan Newsom
  • Mr. and Mrs. Orvis Pigg
  • Mr. and Mrs. Joel Pritchett
  • Mr. and Mrs. Charles Raley III
  • Dr. and Mrs. Bob Reely
  • Mr. and Mrs. Guilford Rice
  • Mr. and Mrs. David Ridings
  • Dr. and Mrs. Porter Rodgers
  • Mr. and Mrs. Craig S. Russell
  • Dr. and Mrs. James G. Shelton
  • Mr. and Mrs. Harold Smethills
  • Mr. and Mrs. Ty Swindle
  • Mrs. Katie Thompson
  • Wal-Mart Super Center
  • Wal-Mart Distribution Center No. 6018
  • Mr. and Mrs. Zearl Watson
  • Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Wray
  • Mr. and Mrs. Don Yates

Contact Us

American Studies Institute
501-279-4497
ASI@harding.edu