Harding University Honors Botham Jean

The Black alumnus was murdered in his Dallas home in 2018.

Botham Jean
Photo courtesy of Harding University

Harding University will remember and honor the life Botham Jean by placing a bronze monument bearing his image in front of the American Heritage Building. Additionally, the Botham Jean Inspiration Award has been created to be given annually to a member of the Harding community for “demonstrating exceptional faith and perseverance and serving as a role model for all,” according to a news release. This award will be presented each year at Homecoming. 

Jean was a 2016 alumnus of Harding University from St. Lucia. He was murdered Sept. 6, 2018 at his home in Dallas. 

“Botham was a unique and influential leader on our campus,” university president David Burks said. “I loved his smile, the way he led singing in chapel and at church, and his enthusiasm for life. I believe that the bronze monument and the new Inspiration Award in his name will help generations to come remember Botham Jean and his Christlike influence.” 

A dedication ceremony honoring Jean will be hosted by the university on or around his 30th birthday in September.

In addition to the Inspiration Award, two scholarships were established in 2019 and are given annually in memory of Jean. The Botham Jean Memorial, created by Jean’s parents Bertrum and Allison Jean, is given to students who have lived in the Caribbean. A second scholarship established by the Paul R. Carter College of Business Administration, in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jean’s employer, is given to historically underrepresented populations as they pursue degrees within the Harding College of Business. 

“The university felt it was important to honor Botham, simply because he was one of Harding’s rising stars that was taken from us too soon,” said Jessica Berry, admissions counselor and close friend of Jean. “I feel it is important to celebrate his life because this will help project a positive image of young Black men in our country. This monument will give everyone a chance to learn about the impact Botham had on the Harding community.” 

The university last week announced plans to recognize and celebrate African American alumni on campus by naming the Administration Building after Elijah Anthony and Howard Wright, the first African American undergraduates to earn degrees from Harding. There also will be monuments constructed near the building to honor these two distinguished alumni along with the first African American undergraduates to enroll and the first to be awarded graduate degrees. 

These initiatives were announced following recommendations made by the university’s Task Force on Recognizing African American Achievement, created by former President Bruce McLarty. The task force also endorsed the plan to honor the memory of Jean, which was approved by the board of trustees.