Retired Highest Ranking Air Force Attorney to Lecture at Westminster


Lt. General Richard C. Harding, USAF (Retired), the former highest-ranking attorney for the U.S. Air Force, will deliver the Cherry-Price Leadership lecture at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, in the Coulter Lecture Hall of the Coulter Science Center. 

The lecture is free and open to the public.   A reception will follow the lecture in the Coulter Atrium.

“We are honored that Lt. General Harding has agreed to deliver this important lecture on his years of extraordinary service to our country,” says Westminster President Dr. Fletch Lamkin.  “He was involved in some of the most agonizing decisions leaders can be called upon to make following the tragedy of 9/11.” 

Lt. General Harding was the Judge Advocate General (TJAG) at Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C.  In that position, he served as the Legal Advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force and all officers and agencies of the Department of the Air Force, leading over 4,400 uniformed and civilian lawyers, paralegals and legal support personnel.  He oversaw military justice, operational and international law and civil law functions at every level of command. 

On September 11, 2001, General Harding was in an underground facility near Omaha, NE when the two planes crashed into the World Trade Center.  “Then the phone that never rings…rang,” he recalls.  “Within an hour after the phone call, President George W. Bush arrived.”

In his lecture, Lt. General Harding  will describe unclassified discussions on 9-11 among the national leaders on how to react to the deadliest terrorist attack on the United States in our nation’s history. 

Lt. General Harding spoke on this experience and other national security issues in 2016 on the Westminster campus and more recently this year spoke to the Association of Churchill Fellows at a dinner in St. Louis, MO. 

He is third-generation military as the son of an Air Force officer and grandson of a Naval officer  and entered the Air Force himself with a direct commission in 1980. 

During his years in the military, Lt. General Harding served in a variety of assignments as a judge advocate, including six assignments as a staff judge advocate at the unified command, major command, numbered air force and wing levels. 

Prior to assuming his last position, Lt. General Harding served as the Commander of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.   

He holds Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Arkansas. 

The Cherry-Price Leadership Lecture series was initiated March 1, 2016, to offer the Westminster community opportunities to hear about the personal journeys of today’s entrepreneurial leaders.   

Made possible by the generosity of two distinguished Beta Theta Pi alumni, Howard Cherry, ‘65 of Wellington, FL and Rob Price, ‘65 from Lake Charles, LA, this lecture series stands apart from other Westminster lecture series such as the A. P. Green Lecture, I.B.M. Lecture and Enid and R. Crosby Kemper Lecture in that it shines the spotlight on the character traits that the successful leaders of our time possess and therefore reinforces Westminster’s mission “to develop leaders of character…prepared for lives of success, significance, and service.”   

The inaugural Cherry-Price Leadership lecture was delivered by Arnold W. Donald, CEO and President of Carnival Corporation and Carnival PLC, the world’s largest cruise ship line.       


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