Ozarks senior receives ministry scholarship

Release Date: 12/14/2011

Ethan Harbour, a senior economics major from Booneville, Ark., has received the Dr. Arnold and Luella Langenberg Scholarship, which is awarded to help defray the costs of undergraduate education to a student who plans to pursue the ministry.

Ethan Harbour

Ethan Harbour, a senior economics major from Booneville, Ark., has received the Dr. Arnold and Luella Langenberg Scholarship, which is awarded to a student who plans to pursue the ministry.

"I am Presbyterian from birth and have always been connected to this campus for that reason," Harbour said. "Church youth events brought me here quite a bit. I fell in love with the university and knew I wanted to come here."

Harbour said he originally came to Ozarks to major in English and pursue the pre-law track, but after his first year he had a change of plans. "By that time I had decided I wasn't as interested in the law as I'd originally thought," he said. "Ms. [Phyllis] Johnson suggested I take a business class, so I did. I fell in love with economics, so that's my major now, with a minor in Spanish."

He described the scholarship as particularly helpful because the Presbyterian Church requires its pastors acquire at least a Master's of Divinity degree before engaging in ministry. "I've already applied to the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary," he said. "They said I should be hearing back very soon. So I'm waiting."

Harbour played both piano and organ at his home church in Booneville and now does the same for the Presbyterian Church in nearby Harmony. "I had thought that playing music was all that was required of me from God," he said, "but I realized while working as Munger chapel assistant for Reverend Nancy that I really loved the work."

Harbour is chapel intern under Rev. Nancy J. Benson-Nicol, the U of O chaplain.

Common sense also played a part in his decision. "Throughout the summer of my junior year I was researching jobs," he said, "and I realize that with the economic trouble the country is undergoing, the job market for economics majors is not what it could be. If I pursued that sort of work I'd have to go to grad school anyway, and I wasn't at all sure I wanted to get my MBA. That uncertainty led me to consider a vocation within the church, rather than secular work. Once I considered the possibility of seminary, I had this intense inner realization that in the process of figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, it kind of hit me what I'm supposed to do, finally."

As chapel intern, Harbour works helping prepare the church for services, coordinates with groups wanting to use the facility, sets up PowerPoint presentations to be used during services, and overall helps Rev. Nancy with the logistics of service. He is also president of the Presbyterian Campus Ministry.

Asked whether he hopes to stay in the region or travel in his work, Harbour mentioned a trip he took over the summer to Costa Rica. "I did it as part of my Spanish minor and stayed with my friend Alex Murcia, who's from there," he said. "It opened my eyes about the rewards of experiencing other places. Costa Rica is amazing and the culture is phenomenal. I saw the Rio Celeste, one of the 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The people were terrific. Anyway, the trip caused me to be open to the fact this career track might take me away from Arkansas. Hopefully if so, I'll land back here someday. If not, that's okay. If I do end up coming back, that's perfectly fine, too."

Harbour says attending Ozarks has helped shape him into the person he's become. "It has caused me to be much more open minded," he said. "Booneville is about the same size as Clarksville, but the demographics there are much narrower. Being a university undergraduate has exposed me to multiple cultures and changed and broadened how I look at the world. I am a better person for it."

He has advice for new students. "If I could look back and speak to myself four years ago, I'd tell myself not to make such a big deal about choosing a major right away," he said. "It so happened my advisor was on sabbatical the year I started," he said, "and that postponed my focusing on the pre-law track, but I am very happy with the way it's all worked out. So that's my advice. You don't have to figure everything out up front. You'll probably change your major a couple of times anyway. A couple at least."

Harbour graduates from U of O in May.