Home Sweet Searcy


Searcy’s small-town atmosphere provides an ideal environment for Harding’s community to thrive. Searcy Mayor Mat Faulkner (’02) sat down with us to discuss the relationship between the University and its hometown and how we can grow together. 



 How has Searcy changed since you were a student? 

In some ways Searcy has changed a lot since I was a student more than 20 years ago. In other ways, it is very much the same. We are seeing tremendous growth in commercial business development and quality of life. This provides students more options for shopping, dining and recreation. There has also been a tremendous arts movement in recent years. You can see this in the public art installations downtown, fantastic year-round festivals and live music options. What has stayed consistent is the genuine hospitality and kindness of the people here, and that is what makes Searcy truly special.

Where would you like to see Searcy in the next five, 10, 20 years? 

Searcy recently invested in developing a 20-year master plan based on a high level of input from the community, including Harding. We now have plans for improving our parks system, bike and pedestrian trail system, and infrastructure. Citizens also recently voted to fund the development of a new community center, an outdoor water park, new ball fields, a food truck park, and the development of Riverside Park, which is ideal for rock climbing, paddle sports, soft surface trails, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation. What an exciting time for Searcy and Harding!

What is the relationship between Searcy and Harding, and how can they grow together? 

I really see Harding and the Searcy community as an integrated partnership. What is good for one is good for the other. I love to see how faculty and students intertwine education with community involvement projects. When students have the opportunity to invest their time and talent into improving the community around them, it creates a lasting, positive impact for everyone involved.

How can students, faculty and staff be more involved in the community?

Students, faculty and staff at Harding have so much to offer. When considering how to get involved with the Searcy community, I’d begin by asking, “What is your passion?” and “What talents has the Lord blessed you with?” Try to find organizations, nonprofits and churches with missions that align with your passion and be willing to share your gifts to benefit others. When you take an active role in finding ways to make your community better, it makes you appreciate where you live even more.



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