SEARCY, Ark., – Harding University will celebrate the inauguration of Dr. Michael D. Williams, the University’s sixth president, at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16. Dr. Robert C. Walker, chairman of Harding’s board of trustees, announced this selection on Oct. 27, 2021. Williams assumed the presidency on June 1, 2022, receiving the baton of leadership from Dr. David B. Burks.

Williams’ inauguration will be a historic event as the community gathers with alumni and friends to celebrate the beginning of Williams’ presidency and the rich heritage of the University.

The inauguration will be the culmination of a series of events celebrating the beginning of Dr. Williams’ tenure.

Thursday, Sept. 15

  • 6:00 a.m. — Legacy Relay from the original Harding College campus in Morrilton, Arkansas, to the current Harding University campus in Searcy. The Extra Mile, the last leg of the relay, will begin on campus at 4:30 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 16

  • 7:30 a.m. — Prayer Breakfast in Cone Chapel

  • 9 a.m. — Inauguration Celebration in Benson Auditorium

  • 10:30 a.m. — Coffee Reception with President Mike and Lisa Williams in C.L. Kay Plaza, in front of Benson Auditorium

  • 2-4 p.m. — Celebrations with Academic Colleges

Williams earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Harding in 1985 and later returned to earn his Master of Business Administration. He earned his Doctor of Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He began serving on Harding’s admissions staff in 1987, was named director of admissions services in 1991 and was appointed vice president of advancement in 2003. Williams served as the president of Faulkner University from 2015-2022.

The inauguration celebration will be livestreamed. If you plan to attend, complimentary tickets must be reserved at For more information, visit