Couple of the Month: Dr. Mike and Lisa Williams, Searcy

‘We are humbled and inspired to walk with college students during their defining decade. During this consequential moment, we affirm them and provoke them to use their God-given talents to restore the world to what God intended from the beginning.’ – Dr. Mike and Lisa Williams (Mike Kemp photo)


Where did you grow up:I grew up on a mountaintop in West Virginia.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education, both from Harding University.

JoB TITLE: I was part of the frontier for distance learning in the K-12 arena in Arkansas for 12 years. My previous experiences were teaching in a brick-and-mortar setting for five years.

PARENTS: Richard and Betty Runyan, West Virginia.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: In Alabama, I served on the following boards: Alabama Charter School Commission, Montgomery Education Foundation, HEAL United and Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: I’ve taught Bible classes of multiple ages, hosted Bible studies in our home, served in benevolent centers, and participated in prayer groups.

HOBBIES/SPECIAL INTERESTS: Not to sound cliche, but I like to learn new things. I especially enjoy interior design and cooking. My heart seeks to create a more inclusive culture for individuals with special needs. I am an advocate for research and assistance for those on the autism spectrum. I care about health and wellness of all and work towards this goal daily.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I love people and spontaneous events. I’m a 7 wing 8 on the Enneagram.


KNOW ABOUT YOU: I think an ideal job would be singing the songs in children’s movies such as “That’s What Friends Are For” from “The Jungle Book.”

MOST ENJOYED WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Spending time with family while hiking, cooking, watching movies, and just talking.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: Time will tell.

 WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: The people in the 501 are first-class individuals. People in the 501 love their neighbors. It shows through acts of kindness and putting others first in various ways. 501-ers are always seeking to be and do better, and it makes us all want to be and do better.


Dr. Mike Williams became the sixth president of Harding University in Searcy on June 1. Mike and Lisa are coming home to the 501 after living in Montgomery, Ala., where Mike served as president of Faulkner University since 2015.

Where did you grow up: Ohio.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration, both from Harding University. Doctor of Education from University of Pennsylvania.

JOB TITLE: President, Harding University.

PARENTS: Dave and Sally Williams of Zanesville, Ohio. Both are deceased.

COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES: In Alabama, I was a member of the Montgomery Committee of 100 and the Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Circle and served as campaign chairman for River Region United Way.

CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Speaker, teacher, small group leader.

 HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF: Spirit-led, passionate, and grateful.

WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU: Most people are surprised to find out I am an introvert. I deeply love people and desire relationships, but many days, I surpass my word count early in the day!


WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO: My favorite word is “chazown.” It’s a Hebrew word that means vision. The Bible says, “People without vision, perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE 501: The people of Central Arkansas have a deep sense of community and family. They exemplify the fundamental values of faith, love and compassion.

Their STORY:

how we met: Essentially a blind date!

THE PROPOSAL: December 1986. Christmas time. Lisa thought she was getting a TV. I surprised her with a ring and asked “if she would marry Santa Claus.” 

WEDDING BELLS: Nov. 28, 1987.

CHILDREN: Quentin, Cade and daughter-in-law Cailin.

PETS: Copper, a golden retriever blend, and Zoe, a corgi, who is our angel puppy now after 14 years in our family.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES ENJOYED TOGETHER: Walks, coffee and rich conversation.