Alma Mater

Leon Sanderson, with wife Marilyn, receives the 2008 HST Alumnus of the Year award.

Leon Sanderson, with wife Marilyn, receives the 2008 HST Alumnus of the Year award.

An alma mater is written to recognize a school providing training and growth for life ahead. The graduate school of Harding with its beginning in Searcy in 1954 has a rich heritage out of which this process has occurred for more than 1200 students. With the desire to affirm and celebrate the service of Harding School of Theology, Bill Flatt, Don Kinder and Leon Sanderson set out to write an honoring piece.

The concept at the beginning was to consider the work of HST as a pebble in a lake that produces ever-widening circles. The stanzas speak of the vision of the founding fathers lived out through commitment and Christian service world-wide. After review, Carisse Berryhill captured this focus in the phrase, “to seek, to learn, to be.” The opening notes of the piece mirror the Harding University Alma Mater written by L. O. Sanderson. The “foothills of the Ozarks” are reflected in the “banks of the river.” [Mississippi river] The chorus opens in majestic unison with recognition of God and our relationship with Him, “O God you are our God.” These words make clear the importance of theology in the school’s name. Thus a song is born to describe and perpetuate this distinguished institution.

– Leon Sanderson

Harding School of Theology Alma Mater

Verse 1
Near the banks of the river that flows down through our land
Is a school for Christian service; forever may she stand.
She welcomes all who hear the call of ministry and love,
And so we sing her praise to God who reigns above.

Oh, God, you are our God, may you ever lead the way,
For those who seek the Lord and gladly serve Him every day.
Through all that you have taught us; to seek, to learn, to be.
May the Word of Life flow through us like a river to the sea.

Verse 2
Framed by those who prayed and dreamed and looked beyond their peers;
Shaped by ever faithful servants she continues through the years.
Built well by master builders true of more than brick and stone,
She lives to mold the future years for servants yet unknown.


Verse 3
We came as your students because we heard the call;
We go throughout the wide world to share God’s grace for all.
Still tied to one another by the Word of God so true,
we stand and face tomorrow for we owe so much to you.


Downloadable sheet music:
Alma Mater Sheet Music (pdf)
Alma Mater, PowerPoint

Copyright information:
©2011 by Leon Sanderson
WORDS: Don Kinder, Bill Flatt (2011)
MUSIC: Leon Sanderson