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Winter 2012

ACU TODAY Wave Reviews Jess Weeden and her classmates love the Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center

Partnering in the Journey

Zechariah Manyok Biar

Summer Academy

House of the Rising Son

This ISSUE 2 10 32 40 48 52 58 60 62 64 68 80

Horizons Wave Reviews: Students Love eir New Money Center New Scholarship Campaign: Partnering for the Journey ‘YouWill See’: Biar Helps Build South Sudan Summer Academy House of the Rising Son: Chiang Rai International Christian School Hilltop View Academic News Campus News Wildcat Sports EXperiences Second Glance

See pages 10-31 for an inside look at how the Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center is invigorating students, faculty and staff who work out in ACU’s newest major facility. (Photograph by Jeremy Enlow)


ACU is a vibrant, innovative, Christ-centered community that engages students in authentic spiritual and intellectual growth, equipping them to make a real difference in the world

ACU Today is published three times a year by the Office of University Marketing at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas. Staff Editor and Graphic Designer: Ron Hadfield (’79) Associate Editor: Katie (Noah ’06) Gibson Sports Editor: Lance Fleming (’92) Contributing Writers This Issue: Paul A. Anthony (’04), Katie (Noah ’06) Gibson, Tamara (Kull ’77) Thompson Contributing Photographers This Issue: Lynsey Addario, Stephen Allen, John Best, Paul Bryan (’06), Steve Butman, Lindsey (Hoskins ’03) Cotton, David Dillard (’77), Patrick Dove, Gerald Ewing, Stefano de Luigi, Linda Egle (’73), Adam Ferguson, Tim Freccia, Jeremy Enlow, Garrett Hoskins (’05), Willis Glassgow, Gary Knight, Joy Lewis, Jessalyn Massingill (’10), Giorgio Ungama, Gary Rhodes (’07), John F. Rhodes, Kim Ritzenthaler, Whitney Scott, Brian Schmidt (’07), Staff Sgt. Eric Wilson, Aaron Winters Contributing Graphic Designers This Issue: Greg Golden (’87), Holly Harrell, Todd Mullins, Amy Ozment Proofreaders: Vicki Britten, Rendi (Young ’83) Hahn, Robin (Ward ’82) Saylor, Betty (McKinzie ’48) Shipp

ADVISORY COMMIT T EE Administration: Suzanne Allmon (’79), Dr. Gary D. McCaleb (’64) Advancement: Phil Boone (’83), Billie Currey (’70), Paul A. Anthony (’04) Alumni Relations: Craig Fisher (’92), Jama (Fry ’97) Cadle, Samantha (Bickett ’01) Adkins Alumni Association: Audrey (Pope ’85) Stevens Marketing: Jason Groves (’00), Grant Rampy (’87) Student Life: Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson Ex-officio: Dr. Phil Schubert (’91)

corre s pon denc e ACU Today : ACU Alumni Association:

ON THE WE B Abilene Christian University: ACU Today Blog: Address changes: /whatsnew/update.html ACU Advancement Office (Exceptional Fund, Gift Records): ACU Alumni Web Site: Find Us on Facebook: /abilenechristian /ACUsports Follow Us on Twitter: /ACUedu /ACUsports Join our Google+ circle:

ON THE COVER One of the many students who work out in the new Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center is Jess Weeden, a medal-winning member of the United States’ Deaflympic Team. (Photograph by Jeremy Enlow)

Fr om the President


he face of any university is its students, and we are undeniably proud of ours. Their ability, energy and heart for others continually amaze us. Then again, we are never surprised at the ways they

answer God’s call in their lives. Our mission includes providing them the best educational environment in which they can hear it. You see, our students are not just the next generation of Christ-centered global leaders. They are today’s, and they don’t necessarily wait until after they graduate to make a real difference in the world: • Jess Weeden (pages 26-29), a member of the U.S. Deaflympic swimming team, trains in the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center. It is inspiring to see Jess use her influence as a world-class swimmer and her physical disability in a selfless ministry to help others; • While Zechariah Manyok Biar was a graduate student working on two degrees here in Abilene (pages 40-47), he wrote narrative essays about the importance and responsibility of freedom that were published in daily newspapers in his homeland of Sudan. Today, he demonstrates his leadership as a government official of South Sudan, the world’s newest nation. • Brittany Partridge and Amanda Sutherland began the Red Thread Movement as ACU undergraduates. Their thriving enterprise now extends to 70 college campuses around the nation, and they have had the opportunity to travel to Nepal and India to meet some of the young girls and women who have been rescued from lives of sexual slavery because of the simple hand-woven red bracelets college students wear around their wrists each day. Brittany recently received a prestigious national Truman Scholarship in recognition of her leadership potential, with a $30,000 award for graduate studies (page 58); • Ryan Flores, a freshman whose life was threatened as a young boy by kidney disease and cancer, now spreads the word about the importance of organ donation through the Children’s Kidney Foundation he and his parents have established. A film crew from ABC-TV was on campus last fall to document their work and tell his story (page 63); A good portion of this issue of ACU Today introduces you to the new Money Center, a jewel of a facility our students enjoy every day. They have waited a long time for such a building, and the enthusiasm with which they use it should give every donor a sense of satisfaction to see their investment paying dividends in the lives of our students. We also introduce on pages 32-39 our Partnering in the Journey Campaign, a major initiative to help bridge the affordability gap for deserving students whose educational opportunities at ACU would not be possible without scholarships. Today’s economy is challenging; it affects everyone. But each of us is a beneficiary in some way of the financial kindness of those who came before us. As Don Crisp explains on pages 34-35, his and Carol’s experience at ACU changed their lives. Their gratitude, in turn, has inspired generosity toward the university they hope will encourage others to do the same. Kay Onstead (page 37) is one who believes the best investment in the world is in ACU’s talented students. Whether you share resources to help create scholarships, construct buildings or advance the Exceptional Fund, your giving creates immediate impact and an eternal legacy. It also shows how much you continue to believe in Abilene Christian and its mission. Our students are the first to say, “Thank you,” and demonstrate their gratitude by helping someone else in need. 䊱

DR. PHIL SCHUBERT (’91), President The mission of ACU is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. AC U TO D AY

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School’s in session Lady Thiang (played by junior Caroline Marolf ), watches English widow Anna Leonowens (played by senior Ashley Parizek), sing to royal children of the King of Siam. ACU Theatre’s Homecoming Musical production of The King and I was performed Oct. 14-16, 2011, in the Abilene Civic Center. Twenty-two local schoolchildren played roles in the production, which was performed by the Department of Theatre for the first time since 1989. ACU senior Peter Hargrave played the King of Siam.



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HORIZONS ACU’s Andrea Carpenter (2) battles a player from Midwestern State in the NCAA Division II South Central Region tournament, which the Wildcats hosted Nov. 13, 2011. Casey Wilson’s team (bottom right) prevailed, 2-1, when Jacey Ferrara scored with 30 seconds left in overtime.

Cinderella no more


The women’s soccer team – ACU’s newest sport in just its fifth season of competition – will no longer be taking opponents by surprise. In Fall 2011, the Wildcats were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, had a 20-2-1 record, won their second straight Lone Star Conference championship, advanced to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals and cemented their reputation as a national powerhouse. See story on page 68.


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HORIZONS Wildcat strongman Nick Jones, a senior, is a driving force behind the men’s track and field team. His sights are on late May, when he could become the first NCAA Division II athlete to win a national title in the discus four straight years. He has already won the 2012 indoor national championship in the shot put.


Jones finished fourth in the discus and eighth in the shot put at the 2012 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin against the best NCAA Division I competition in the nation.


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HORIZONS Picturing the future More than 330 education and business leaders gathered March 20 in McAllen, Texas, for the Transforming Learning Conference. ACU Connected – the university’s mobile-learning initiative – partnered with the McAllen Independent School District to explore the future of digital learning in K-12 settings. The McAllen ISD’s TLC 3 initiative, with ACU as an advisor, is putting mobile technology in the hands of each of its more than 25,000 students. See story on page 63.


Dr. Robbie Melton uses the iMovie app on her iPad to capture a presentation during the Transforming Learning Conference. Melton, the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and eLearning for the Tennessee Board of Regents, shared the material with her online Teaching and Technology class.


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Marco Torres, California Teacher of the Year, was one of the featured speakers.



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AFFORDABILITY | ACU’s Vision to become the premier university for the education of Christ-centered, global leaders means attracting talented new students who desire to be “salt and light” in the world.

ACU’s $50 million effort to increase affordability for deserving students and their families


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ho are you, Lord?” Saul of Tarsus asked this question on the road to Damascus, where he met Jesus in a real and powerful way. The answer would leave his life utterly transformed, as the power of God moved him to spread the gospel around the known world. As a result, history would never be the same. Similarly, thousands of young men and women arrive in Abilene every fall asking their own questions. They seek a meaning to their life, a reason to believe or a mission about which to be passionate. And they, too, meet Jesus. Perhaps not in a blinding light or on the side of a road, but the experience is no less real as they discover the power of God at work on the campus of ACU. They find their calling, they learn how to lead through service, and they prepare to spread that power throughout their world, transforming generations as Paul did before them. With the costs of higher education outpacing the growth of incomes, students and their families find it increasingly difficult to afford an ACU education, leading the university in February to unveil the Partnering in the Journey Campaign, an effort to raise $50 million in new scholarship endowment. About $15.5 million has been committed thus far. “We’re serious about trying to identify new funds that will go to the students and families that need it the most,” said Phil Boone (’83), vice president for advancement, in announcing the initiative at the Feb. 18 President’s Circle Dinner. “We’re not trying to eliminate everybody’s debt, but we are trying to make it an easier path.” Taking its name from the partners Paul needed to complete his own journeys through the known world of his day, the Partnering in the Journey Campaign seeks committed friends and alumni to help increase ACU’s affordability for students with the biggest gap between their expected family contribution and their actual out-of-pocket cost. According to ACU’s own data, 70 percent of Abilene Christian seniors in 2010 graduated with loans from state, federal and private sources, and those students carried an average debt load of nearly $40,000. At the same time, many sources of student aid – including federal Pell Grants and Texas’ Tuition Equalization Grant – have been cut as governments move to reduce budget deficits. These cuts exacerbate an already precarious situation

percent of adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center said college was too expensive for most Americans to afford.

for many families who saw jobs, savings and security erode during the 2007-09 recession. “We hope to challenge you, and we hope you’re motivated,” Boone told the President’s Circle audience. “The truth is it’s difficult to pay for a college education. We don’t want to just be where we are. We want to be the best we can be, and that takes money.” Nevertheless, Abilene Christian has taken steps to ease the pressure on its students. Since 2003, ACU has offered parents and guardians of future students the option of paying for tuition years in advance, locking in current prices for future use. More recently, and perhaps most significantly, ACU in Fall 2012 will move to an annual block-tuition plan, allowing full-time undergraduate students to take as many as 36 hours in a year for the cost of 30. This plan continues ACU’s recent emphasis of pushing innovative solutions to the challenges confronting higher education. Unlike most other schools with block pricing, ACU includes summer courses in the plan, providing a path to quicker graduation and less debt for its students. “It not only improves the affordability of the degree,” said president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) in announcing the plan last fall, “but it provides additional flexibility for students.” Even with those plans in place, many students will continue to feel the crunch of high costs and incomes that have failed to keep pace – leading the university to place a priority on the scholarship campaign. The campaign’s emphasis is on unrestricted scholarships – those that can be used for any purpose, to give ACU the greatest flexibility in easing students’ burden, regardless of major, hometown or other criteria. To that end, the Don and Carol Crisp Student Affordability Endowment, established by the former chair of ACU’s Board of Trustees and his wife, will collect all unrestricted gifts to the campaign – though all scholarship endowment gifts will count toward the $50 million goal. Donors also have the ability to establish their own endowments, perhaps in honor of a friend, family member or mentor. Likewise, donors are free to donate to any endowment already established at ACU, Boone said. “I ask you to pray,” he said, “about how you can make a difference for families who so desperately want their child’s journey to come through ACU.” For more details, see the following pages.


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The Don and Carol Crisp Student Affordability Endowment


on Crisp (’64) served on ACU’s Board of Trustees for 23 years, from 1984-2007, the last 15 years as its chair. He and his wife, Carol (Croson ’64), have supported ACU financially for decades, providing endowed scholarships in music and education, as well as a professorship in the College of Business Administration. Several years ago, the couple created the Don and Carol Crisp Student Affordability Endowment, which will be the fund for all unrestricted endowment gifts raised during the Partnering in the Journey Campaign. Money from the fund will help students likely to incur the most debt in pursuing an ACU education.

What were your and Carol’s backgrounds before coming to ACU? I grew up in Victoria, Texas, where my father was a truck driver. When I was still very young, my mother earned a college degree so she could become a schoolteacher. My parents’ combined income, along with their willingness to subordinate their personal financial needs, allowed me – along with my sister and brother – to earn a college education. I have enormous respect for parents who are

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willing to make that sacrificial commitment. Carol was from Fort Worth. Her mother was a homemaker and her father started as a band director, owned a music store for a few years and later, sold life insurance. I thought she was from a rich family when I first met her, actually, but it turned out her financial situation was very similar to mine. We both worked and lived very frugally during our college years. How did you come to Abilene? I have an older sister [Sue (’60) Smith], who was the trailblazer in our family. When she graduated from high school, she was determined to go to ACU. Once she enrolled and shared the great experience she was enjoying, ACU became an automatic choice for me. My brother, Jerry (’66), also is a graduate. Carol came to ACC because her grandmother encouraged her to do so and offered to pay some of her tuition. We have followed her example with our own grandchildren. How did you pay for college? When we attended ACU, tuition was less than $20 per hour as I recall. Though that

sounds miniscule today, it was a great challenge for working families and we struggled financially. Both of us worked during the school year and in the summers to supplement the funds our parents could provide, and we graduated debt free. In the 50 years since we were in school, the cost of higher education has increased much faster than earnings for average income families. As a result, what was barely possible for us has become impossible for families today. Now, most students must incur debt to earn a degree. You’ve given back substantially to ACU over the years. Why and how did you start? Like many other alumni, our experience at ACU literally changed our lives. Dedicated Christian faculty such as Dr. Overton Faubus prepared us for a professional career but, more importantly, instilled values and provided mentoring to influence our perspective on life. Friendships formed with classmates have endured for a lifetime and helped us be better people. For our family, ACU has become a place to find a mate for life. Carol and I met on campus and, exercising the wisdom of

20-year-olds, were married just before our junior year. All three of our children are married to spouses they met at ACU. So we are grateful to the university for the major role it has played in our lives. We began making gifts as soon as possible, and we have included the Student Affordability Endowment in our wills. What is the importance of giving back to ACU? We believe it is extremely important to give back to ACU because we want young people to have access to this life-changing university. Ideally, no student who is willing to work hard should be denied the opportunity to attend ACU because of affordability issues, but we know that isn’t the case today. Carol and I have always felt there is a critical need for more scholarship money, so several years ago we created an unrestricted scholarship endowment fund. When our parents died, we established an endowed fund for music majors and another for education majors in honor of them. Because ACU is first a Christian university, we attract many students who want to dedicate their lives to serving people. They choose to prepare for careers as teachers, social workers, nurses and other service-oriented occupations that typically do not offer above-average compensation. Obviously, it is problematic for them to incur high levels of debt. ACU has a unique blend of world-class education and Christ-centered focus, and we need to make it as affordable as we can for those who want it.

The national landscape: a perfect storm Financing a college education has never been easy. Since ACU’s earliest days as Childers Classical Institute, families have sacrificed to provide a faith-based education for their sons and daughters. In 2012, the university faces a perfect storm of events dramatically affecting how students pay for an ACU education. The 2007-09 financial collapse and recession have had wide-ranging influence. Parents who planned ahead with college savings often have found those funds significantly depleted. In addition, pressure in the job market has led to chronic unemployment and underemployment, as well as large numbers of foreclosures and bankruptcies. Cash-strapped state governments responded by cutting grant and loan aid for higher education, and federal policy moved toward austerity, leading to further student-aid reductions. These events left many families struggling to contribute toward their children’s education as their finances were ravaged by job losses, evaporating college funds or shrinking disposable income. According to a May 2011 survey by the Pew Research Center, 75 percent of surveyed adults said college was too expensive for most Americans to afford. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of college graduates in the same study (86 percent) felt college had been a good investment for them personally.

Closer to home: TEG cuts The vast majority of ACU students come from Texas. In January 2011, state officials grappled with a $27 billion budget deficit, a gap legislators chose to address with massive cuts in spending, including cuts to the Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG), which is a critical piece of aid for Texas students with financial need attending ACU. The university’s TEG allocation dropped from a recent high of $4.56 million in the 2009-10 school year to $3.13 million in 2011-12, including a decline of nearly $600,000 from 2010-11. This most recent cut could have reduced the financial aid packages of 175 ACU students, based on an average per-student TEG award of $3,400. The university covered that shortfall out of its operating budget so these students would have the aid they expected for the year. ACU endeavors to be the premier university for the education of Christ-centered, global leaders. To achieve that goal, the core questions of cost and affordability must be addressed – with the partnership of committed and generous friends and alumni.

The steps we’ve taken to increase affordability Annual block tuition Beginning in Fall 2012, the university will charge for tuition on an annual block-payment basis – a move born from an effort to find ways to make an

You’ve set up several endowments – the affordability endowment bearing your name, the Noah and Elizabeth Crisp Endowed Scholarship for business, and the C.O. and Viva Croson Endowed Scholarship for music. Why are endowments important to you and to ACU? Endowments are important because they establish a funding base that continues to grow into the future. Funds established at ACU many years ago are larger and produce more annual income than the original donors could have imagined. It is the best way to ensure ACU will be affordable for generations to come. 䊱


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Paying it Forward

ACU education more affordable. Students will be charged a set price for taking anywhere from 24-36 hours of classes in a school year. The price will be based on a 15-hour courseload each semester; students can take as many as 6 hours for free every year, including in the summer. This should encourage students to graduate sooner and allow them to do so with less debt, taking fewer hours at other colleges, especially in the summers, and providing the university with a more predictable flow of income. The price – $26,770 for the 2012-13 school year – includes all required student fees but does not include room and board, course-specific fees or individual charges such as mailbox fees. Because it shortens the time students are in school, annual block tuition can dramatically reduce the cost of an ACU degree. A student taking full advantage of the plan could save more than $17,500 from what he or she would pay on a per-hour basis. (See chart on page 35.)

Projected annual payouts based on the size of the endowment:

$1 MILLION two full-tuition, four half-tuition or 18 $2,500 scholarships


Prepaid tuition

two half-tuition or nine $2,500 scholarships

For several years, ACU has offered parents and guardians of future students the option of paying for tuition years in advance, locking in current prices. Students or their parents at any time may purchase a one-semester tuition block or all of the blocks needed for graduation, paying the current rates and avoiding the uncertainty of price increases during their collegiate career. In 2003, ACU joined more than 200 private colleges and universities from across the country participating in the Independent 529 Plan, a way for families to lock in discounted tuition rates for their children’s future education by depositing funds in 529 accounts. The certificates generated by the 529 plans are accepted at any participating college or university, including ACU. While these steps are helpful, Abilene Christian needs need committed partners willing to make the journey possible for students who still need help.

$100,000 two $2,000 scholarships

$50,000 one $2,250 scholarship

$25,000 one $1,125 scholarship



These students are the children or grandchildren of ACU alumni, or have significant history with Churches of Christ. Core students are typically more familiar with ACU’s campus culture, have more relationship connections when they arrive and are more likely to complete their degrees. Yet the economic environment has made it increasingly difficult for them to afford ACU – and often they are turning to regional state universities. While many have vibrant Christian populations and outreach efforts, they can never provide the faith-infused experience ACU can. To aggressively recruit these students to continue the legacy of Christian education their families hold dear, ACU must provide financial aid packages narrowing the cost gap between the university and its competitors.

Expanding markets As ACU’s national visibility expands, particularly in the area of mobile learning, the university’s exposure to students with no prior connections has increased. These students are people of faith yearning for a place where they can grow spiritually and academically as they begin their journey. They are often high-achieving students courted by many institutions, both private and public, and they have high expectations for academic rigor, faith development, leadership, service and financial aid. High-performing students help raise the bar for ACU, as they bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to help shape the campus culture. In addition, students who enter Abilene Christian with high test scores and exceptional high school experiences graduate at a much higher rate. ACU must provide financial incentives to help these students choose the university over its competitors. The economic downturn has made an ACU education impossible for many. The cuts in gift aid from state and federal governments have put ACU out of reach. Yet what better place could there be than ACU for an ambitious young person, perhaps a first-generation college student, to begin his or her journey? ACU is equipped to grow servant leaders; programs such as Lynay and Pulse have proven that

Even in the midst of extremely challenging times, students want and need the exceptional faith-based education ACU offers. In the most recent survey of students who applied to Abilene Christian but chose to attend elsewhere, the top two reasons for their alternate selection were proximity to home (27 percent) and the financial aid package offered (24 percent). Increased

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Students from ACU core families

High-need students

Opportunities for partnership


scholarship endowment, while benefiting all students, could help the university target several key prospective-student populations:



lthough she didn’t know it, Kay Onstead made Victoria Costa’s college decision a whole lot more stressful. Costa’s parents were ACU alumni, and she grew up dreaming of making the crosscountry journey from their North Carolina home to Abilene. Her father is a minister, however, and cost dictated she instead attend a local state university near her home. “I’d already dealt with not going to Texas,” Costa said, recalling her mindset the final week of summer before she started college. “I had talked myself into it. I was ready.” Then she received a phone call from ACU. She had been accepted to receive an Onstead scholarship, awarded to ministers’ children each year, often when all other financing options have been exhausted. Classes started in less than a week, and ACU suddenly was affordable for the Costa family. The next day, she received a call from Dr. Gary McCaleb (’64), vice president of the university, who personally selects the Onstead scholarship recipients each year. He urged her to change her plans and come to ACU; her parents also supported the move. Victoria received word of the scholarship Aug. 13. By Aug. 16, she was driving across the country with all of her belongings crammed into her car. “All the things you’re going through to decide where you go to

college, I went through in four days,” she said. Onstead has heard stories like that before. Each year, she attends a dinner with each of that fall’s Onstead scholarship awardees. They eat together and tell her about their plans and hopes – all made possible through the endowment fund she helped establish more than two decades ago. “I’m just delighted that she got it,” Onstead said. “I meet the students every year, and it’s the highlight of my year.” Forty-one students received an Onstead scholarship for the 2011-12 school year, and more than 170 have benefited from the program since Kay and her late husband, Robert, established the endowment in 1989. The Onsteads never attended ACU – had never even heard of the university, Kay said, until as a young married couple they met a group of ACU alumni at their Houston church. They were so impressed with their new friends, they vowed their children would attend ACU. Ultimately, three of them did. As parents, the Onsteads began giving liberally to the university – helping construct the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building and creating the Robert R. Onstead Business Endowed Scholarship fund.

“Once you get your children out there, you see what’s needed,” she said. “That’s the best investment in the world you can make – in students. We’ve had nothing but good come from all of that.” Perhaps the best, she said, is the Onstead Scholars program. She has partnered in the journeys of hundreds of students – all of them unable to afford an ACU education until they were awarded scholarships through her endowment. “I think I get more out of it than they do,” she said. “It’s just such a blessing for me. I feel like they are going to go out and make a difference in the world.” For Costa, an Onstead scholarship provided the opportunity to spend a semester in Montevideo, Uruguay, her father’s home country, and meet his family. A senior advertising and public relations major, Victoria plans to attend graduate school to prepare for a possible career in corporate communications. “I met people here I know I would never meet in North Carolina,” she said. “I think ACU really gives you an education that integrates your spiritual life more than any other school would.” When Costa met Onstead for the first time, she had a hard time finding the right words for the woman whose generosity radically reshaped her life’s journey. “She helps a lot of kids,” said Costa, whose tuition has been cut by more than half through scholarships. “When that scholarship came in, that’s how I knew I would be able to go. It’s really hard to explain how appreciative you are.”䊱

Kay Onstead and sophomore Jonathan Pruitt, an Onstead Scholar STEVE BUTMAN



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Abilene Christian’s development, focused clearly on the need to increase endowment. Doing so will provide additional financial stability and revenue, and the plan set a goal of $450 million in endowment by 2013. As of March 31, ACU’s endowment stood at $302 million. ACU’s endowment is managed by an award-winning team led by chief investment officer Jack Rich (’77). The investment team’s sole mission is to wisely steward gifts entrusted to ACU over the years, and its record of success is amazing. ACU’s endowment return of 8.9 percent over the 10-year period ending June 30, 2010, was one of the highest of all universities nationwide. Gifts to endowment ensure a consistent revenue stream over time, and they are a core component of ACU’s ability to provide financial aid each year. In the 2010-11 academic year, endowment earnings provided about half of the $21 million in scholarships ACU distributed to students. Visionary donors are critical partners in building an endowment worthy of the outstanding students who attend this university. This partnership can take many forms, comprising both unrestricted and restricted scholarship endowments.

high-need students can blossom when surrounded by a caring community and passionate mentors. This group of prospective students is most likely to be hurt by high levels of student debt. Likewise, high-need students are least able to take advantage of life-changing enrichment opportunities such as studying abroad.

Students in the gap Students with above-average ACT scores from middle-class families want to attend ACU. These young people are often tremendous student leaders in their high schools and communities, but because they are not in the highest test-score ranks and do not have the lowest incomes, they often receive little of the financial help they need. Because they understand the value of an ACU education, they often are willing to incur significant debt to attend. It is critical to provide financial-aid opportunities to a broad spectrum of families so ACU can ensure it remains a diverse and service-oriented community.

Scholarships and endowments The 21st-Century Vision strategic plan, created in 2009 to guide the next phase of

Unrestricted Scholarship Endowments As the financial-aid system grows increasingly complex, it is crucial to provide as much flexibility as possible in granting awards to incoming students. Students draw on a variety of sources to pay for their tuition – family contributions, state and federal grant aid, student or parent loans, outside scholarships, departmental scholarships, and unrestricted scholarships such as A.B. Barret awards, Presidential Scholars awards and Lynay or Pulse scholarships. Those who want to have the greatest effect on students of all majors, genders and backgrounds could invest in the following: Don and Carol Crisp Student Affordability Endowment

Friends and associates of Don and Carol Crisp have partnered with them to establish a scholarship endowment with the potential to significantly increase the money available each year for unrestricted scholarships. Gifts to this endowment will be a special way to honor Don and Carol for their years of service to ACU. (See Q&A on pages 34-35.) Unrestricted Honor Endowments

An unrestricted honor endowment


Joey Hopkins


ost college students wouldn’t give a portion of their summer earnings back to the university they were attending unless it was a tuition payment. But Joey Hopkins (’09) wasn’t most students. Most students didn’t lose their father at age 10. Most aren’t the youngest of seven children. Most don’t earn nearly as much selling Bibles in one summer as some young ACU graduates earn in a year. “I worked my tail end off every summer,” said Hopkins, now a Midland-based landman for oil and gas companies. “I worked 90 to 100 hours a week. It was a crazy thing, but I was rewarded for it.” Hopkins worked for the Southwestern Co., an organization that often employs ACU students during the summers to sell books and software, including Bibles. His long days of work paid off, helping fund his education and leaving some left over.


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“My family taught that when God blesses you, you bless Him back,” he said. “It seemed like ACU was the most important place I could put that money.” Hopkins’ great-grandparents moved their family to Abilene in the 1920s so they could better support Abilene Christian College, and they sent their children there. Hopkins’ grandmother and both parents attended ACU. His father died of Huntington’s disease when Hopkins was 10. By the time he was ready for college, Hopkins knew he would need scholarships to fulfill his lifelong goal of being the first of his siblings to join his parents as a Wildcat. “I tried to tell myself I was looking at other schools,” he said, “but I really wasn’t. That was a big deal to me, just to get there.” Scholarships were a vital part of Hopkins’

ability to pay for tuition; the other pieces, on-campus and summer jobs, turned out to help more than he expected. So Hopkins became assuredly one of the only students in history to be a top-level donor to ACU’s President’s Circle before his own Commencement. “Honestly, it just seemed like the best thing to do,” he said. “A tremendous part of my family heritage is invested in ACU. To me personally, it was so rewarding and such a huge blessing to be able to go to ACU.” As a Southwestern employee, Hopkins became eligible for a scholarship from the Fred Landers Endowment, established by former Southwestern employees in honor of Landers, a 1936 ACU graduate and former president of the company who died in 1987. Hopkins now donates regularly to that same fund, and is considerign establishing an endowment in honor of his father. “Everybody knows ACU isn’t an inexpensive place,” he said, “but everybody knows they get their value in every penny paid. I want to make sure other students have the same opportunity I had.”䊱

First Colony Church of Christ


hen “senior Sunday” came around at First Colony Church of Christ every spring, Alan Scott (’78) noticed a troubling trend. Despite boasting more than two dozen high school seniors in any given year, only a handful were attending Christian colleges, much less ACU. So when ACU advancement officer Eric Fridge (’91) approached Scott with the possibility of creating a scholarship endowment for First Colony students who attend ACU, Scott didn’t hesitate. “If there’s a program to give to, that really helps focus your attention,” Scott said. “There’s a specific program you can tangibly feel, see and become attached to.” Scholarship endowments are a significant part of ACU’s overall endowment – more than 600 of them award more than $3.5 million in scholarships to ACU students every year – once they hit the minimum funding level of $25,000. Fridge said he hopes to have the First Colony endowment to that level by the end of the year. Though many are established by single donors or couples and bear their names, others are established by groups of people, each contributing what they can to a scholarship in honor of someone else or with a specific purpose. “Often people don’t feel a personal connection to their gift,” Fridge said. “I wondered, ‘How can we make folks feel that personal connection?’ So we set up something specifically for our students at church. When they see them at senior Sunday, it personalizes it.” Scott and his wife, Cindy (Hutcheson ’87) Scott, are longtime donors to ACU, with their gifts doubled by a corporate match from his employer. Scott said the endowment is not only a way for ACU to increase enrollment but for First Colony students and families to experience the benefits of receiving a Christ-centered, first-class education. “I’m always thrilled when I see students, especially children of people I grew up with, make the decision to go to Abilene,” he said. “When they go on to have serviceand ministry-oriented careers, I know that comes from not only how they were raised, but what they received at ACU.”䊱

would provide scholarships for ACU students in perpetuity – a living, ongoing reminder of the special person after whom the scholarship is named. Honor endowments have been used in a variety of ways to recognize loved ones. Often family or friends of the honoree pool resources to fund an endowment; at other times, these scholarships are funded through planned-giving vehicles such as charitable trusts or estates. No matter how they begin, scholarships are distributed to students each year, and the initial gift itself continues to grow, launching future generations of students into journeys of their own.

Restricted Scholarship Endowments While unrestricted endowments provide the most flexibility, restricted scholarships can be a helpful part of the total financial aid picture for ACU students. Special circumstances or donor wishes can lead to the formation of scholarships targeted at a particular segment of the student body. The following are examples of some restricted scholarship endowment opportunities: The Great Reversal Scholarship

Born from a desire to break cycles of despair and hopelessness in urban neighborhoods, the Great Reversal Scholarship is more than money – it is a process to identify, prepare, mentor and fund students from neighborhoods of hopelessness. This process would begin early in the student’s 10th-grade year and would include a variety of experiences such as campus visits; mentoring relationships with both ACU faculty and home-based supporters; and assistance navigating the academic, financial and social aspects of preparing for college. While at ACU, university and local resources help ensure the student has what is needed to thrive in school, and recipients also would be expected to mentor younger students coming through the program. For years, current ACU donors have quietly paid the tuition of students from challenging backgrounds. Unfortunately, many of the students have had limited success on campus because the cultural adjustment has been difficult to overcome. The Great Reversal Scholarship is an attempt to provide the funding and the framework to help these students succeed.

Study Abroad scholarships

Study Abroad (or other “study away” experiences) can be formative for students. As ACU seeks to educate Christ-centered global leaders in the mold of the Apostle Paul, it is important to provide experiences that broaden their views of the world. By graduation, about 25 percent of the current student body will have studied abroad at some point during their tenure at ACU. The university’s goal is that at least 50 percent of students have that experience. The university’s expansion of overseas facilities includes Leipzig, Germany, as well as short-term opportunities around the globe, providing the additional opportunities needed to reach this goal. However, for many students, studying abroad is simply not feasible financially, and this disproportionately affects minority and lower-income students. Study Abroad scholarships would provide assistance in covering costs beyond the typical room and board they would pay in Abilene. A $50,000 Study Abroad endowment could help fund a $2,250 annual scholarship, offsetting much of the expense for a student ready to see the world.

Your chance to partner with our students Donors who provide endowments have a vision for the future. They are willing to plant now and wait two, five, 10 years and more, watching as the seed bears fruit in the lives of young women and men. As Paul did, those students then go out to bless communities, businesses, schools, churches and people in need across the globe. 䊱

To learn more about the campaign or make a donation, visit or contact campaign coordinator Rendi (Young ’83) Hahn at or 325-674-2394.


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Biar helps oversee the Ministry of Roads and Bridges in the world’s newest country.


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See Bonus Coverage at


Zechariah Manyok Biar (’09) continues to fight for the independence of his homeland, South Sudan

lifetime. Four hours. An instant. The time it took for Zechariah Manyok Biar to add his voice to the millions seeking freedom for South Sudan is simply a matter of perspective. From nearly the time he was born, Biar’s region of Sudan was in rebellion against the national government in Khartoum. From before he could shave, he was in training to be a warrior. From the time he turned 18, he was in battle, facing down bullets and shrapnel, fearing the unexpected blast of the land mine, losing his friends and family, watching them die.

A lifetime of struggle. Four hours in line to think about it. “When I was fighting, I was a chaplain,” the 2009 ACU graduate said, recalling his thoughts as he waited to cast his vote affirming support for an independent South Sudan. “People would come to me with a lot of questions about the future. Most of them were killed during the war.” Four hours in line, culminating in an instant. Biar presented his laminated blue-and-white voter ID, dipped his thumb into indelible ink and pressed it on the image of a single hand, waving goodbye. Separation would come. Independence was nigh. And Biar’s reverie dissolved. “Then I thought about the reality of the situation,” he said. “How were we going to make the words we are saying come to pass? Then I started to worry again. “I still worry,” he said. Biar is no ordinary South Sudanese ACU TODAY

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Shepherds carrying Kalashnikov assault rifles are seen close to Rumbek in southern Sudan on Nov. 12, 2010. The campaign for “demilitarization” of the population that started in 2005 doesn’t appear to have been effective: Many weapons still remain in the hands of the population, often leading to tribal clashes across the country.


citizen. He is a member of the government, a thought-leader whose columns on governance, written for Sudanese newspapers while he attended graduate school at ACU, have shaped the budding democracy of the world’s newest nation. But it’s been a long journey – a hard road of death and grief, a bloody highway of war and violence, now an uncertain path of leadership and democracy. Not even he knows when it began.

2+5=7 When fatherless baby Manyok was born in the early months of 1975, he entered a world on the precipice of revolution. A member of the poor, largely uneducated Dinka tribe in the mostly Christian southern region of Muslim-ruled Sudan, Manyok, like many babies born in the region at the time, was not issued a birth certificate. His actual birthday is unknown. Instead, he has claimed Feb. 5, an educated guess mixed with some basic math. The month coincides with his mother’s recollection of the season in which he was born; the date he chose so the numbers of his birthday would add to seven, his favorite number. As was typical for children of his tribe, Biar received no formal education, which was reserved for children too troublesome to help at home. He helped his family raise cattle and farm. The four siblings and their 42

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mother, supported by a large extended family of uncles, aunts and cousins, were subsistence farmers – growing just enough to live on, not enough to sell. In retrospect, Biar said, there were “difficulties” but also “some kind of rural happiness.” “I completely did not know anything of school during those years,” he said. “Good children remained at home to look after the cattle. It was actually the war that gave most of us the opportunity to go to school.” In nearby Juba, the capital of South Sudan, events had been set in motion that would shatter the innocence of Manyok’s and thousands of other boys’ lives. As the Islamist government of Sudan instituted Sharia law and stripped southern residents of their political rights, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army formed to advocate for reform and, if not that, independence. In 1983, the movement became an army, and the SPLA revolted against Khartoum. Manyok was 8 years old. To bolster the ranks of its fighting forces, the SPLA began recruiting children – tens of thousands of them at the height of the war, according to reports by the Coalition to Stop Child Soldiers. In 1987, 12-year-old Biar and thousands of other south Sudanese children – some as young as 5 – signed up to join the army, walking hundreds of miles to an SPLA training camp in Ethiopia, whose

communist government had allied itself with the rebel south. Biar said he went willingly; for others, however, the situation was less clear. “When the SPLA rebelled against Khartoum, the soldiers came to the area, and they were important people,” he said. “Everyone wanted to be important. Almost everyone wanted to be a soldier. … There were elements of voluntary choice and elements of forcible recruitment.” For 15 days, Manyok and a dozen other children from his clan walked through jungles, eating only what they could carry or beg from villagers in the few towns they passed. Others, who lived farther from the border, walked for months. Many died. “For many children it was a difficult time,” Biar said. “We didn’t have enough water. We didn’t have enough food. We could not eat anything apart from what we could carry, and we were very young, so we could not carry a lot.” Several of the victims were Biar’s cousins, boys to whom he had been close, “like brothers.” Yet Biar’s voice remains calm, even matter-of-fact while describing the journey. It is the voice of someone for whom tragedy and suffering long ago became routine. “Before the war, death was a different thing,” he said. “It was something children could not get involved in [but] we buried children by the side of the road. That

Sudan region is no stranger to humanitarian crises he dense jungles of Central Africa have been a convenient venue for warlords and bureaucrats who exploit human rights. While recruiting young boys as soldiers is, at best, a disturbing practice, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) for which Zechariah Manyok Biar risked his life should not be confused with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Biar joined the SPLA and fought in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005) to earn South Sudan’s independence; the LRA is the guerrilla force masterminded for more than two decades by Ugandan militant Joseph Kony. More than two million people are said to have been been displaced – and untold others mutilated or murdered – by LRA forces forcing children to participate in their alleged atrocities. The LRA is active in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and South Sudan. For a time, the Sudanese government in Khartoum supported the LRA because of Ugandan support for the SPLA. In October 2011, President Barack Obama deployed 100 armed military advisers to Central Africa to help various forces in their hunt for Kony, who has been indicted for war crimes by the international Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. In early March of this year, the 27-minute film, “KONY 2012,” ( became a social media phenomenon, part of a campaign to heighten world outrage against a warlord who has abducted more than 30,000 children and escaped capture for years. The film also received criticism from those who argued it oversimplified the situation and misled viewers about the current reach and strength of the LRA. On March 16, film star George Clooney and his father, Nick, were arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as they protested the actions of Sudan president Omar al-Bashir, who is blocking food aid from people who live in the Nuba Mountains along his country’s border with South Sudan. Civilians are reportedly hiding in caves while tensions between the two countries escalate, causing Sudanese missiles and bombs to rain on the region. Clooney – who has visited South Sudan, recently met with Obama to discuss his concerns, and testified before a Congressional committee – seeks to draw attention to what he argues is a growing humanitarian crisis in a part of the world that knows such confounding situations all too well. 䊱 ACU TODAY

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Southern Sudanese vote at polling stations Jan. 9, 2011, on the first day of the independence referendum in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Jan. 9, 2011. For the referendum to pass, 60 percent of the 3.9 million registered voters had to cast ballots, with a simple majority supporting independence.



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was unthinkable a month before.” Their destination was little better – with no food or shelter, the boys had to find and cook their own meals and construct their own grass-roof schoolhouse. With no school supplies, they completed assignments in the dirt. Biar recalled the first test he ever took was written and graded on the ground. United Nations aid brought better conditions, as well as additional teachers, including some who carried with them the gospel. Manyok was baptized in 1989, and, following the custom of adopting the name of a biblical figure, chose the prophet Zechariah. After four years, the children’s education

and training was savagely interrupted. In 1991, the Ethiopian government began to collapse. Opposition forces, seeking to oust foreign allies of the former leadership, attacked the camp, and the children fled back to Sudan – a hellish race for safety. Many of the boys who survived the bullets and machetes of the enemy soldiers were swept away by the Gilo River or eaten by crocodiles. The crossing was so horrific, Biar now says, that no accurate account of it has ever been recorded. Finding no rest in Sudan with the Islamist government still firmly in control, the children continued to flee, south into Kenya

At a church in Juba, Southern Sudanese Christians pray for a peaceful referendum to separate from Sudan.


Before the war, death was a different thing. It was something children could not get involved in [but] we buried

children by the side of the road. That was unthinkable

and finally to a refugee camp near the Sudanese border. The boys had been on the run for more than a year. Zechariah resumed his education, reaching fourth grade by the time he was 18. But after six years in training, the time had come for the man to fight.

Butterfly in the stomach Before Biar could fight the enemy from Khartoum, however, he was pressed into action against his own neighbors. In 1991, the SPLA suffered its own defection and civil war as a splinter group sought to overthrow then-SPLA leader John Garang and replace him with Riek Machar, a senior commander in the rebel army. Two years later, Machar’s forces occupied and decimated Biar’s home region, killing thousands in less than a week, razing villages and displacing thousands more. The conflict not only sapped the faction’s popularity among residents in the south, it convinced Biar and about 1,000 other young men in Kenya to return home and fight, first to end the regional conflict, then to secure the region’s independence from Sudan. “That annoyed us,” he said. “We said, ‘We cannot continue with our studies while our people are running from place to place.’ ” The strife was short-lived; by 1995, Machar’s forces rejoined the SPLA. In the meantime, Biar and his comrades had begun an offensive against government-held cities in the south, attacking and capturing the town of Kapoeta in 1994, the first Sudanese-held city to fall to southern forces. “That was the start of the victory,” said Biar, a machine gunner who that year was ordained as an Anglican priest and made an army chaplain. “That was the thing that led to the current situation. Khartoum eventually decided to talk peace.” Until a peace agreement could be reached, fighting continued – usually at night, when the rebels could move under cover of darkness. Biar described a pervasive anxiety as the army would move into position – fear that a false step would be his last, a gunshot would end his life, an unlucky blast would send metal piercing through flesh. “You feel like something is floating in you,” he said, “what you call butterfly in the stomach. We’re not only facing the bullets of the enemy and the shrapnel, we are facing the land mines. But when we fired the first bullet, fear would go. When we came back from the attack, it was very bad because you’d find out your best friend was not there, your relative was dead. Then you prepare for the next attack.” In the end, the line between life and death was fine indeed. During one battle, a rocket-propelled grenade landed next to Biar. An explosion would have killed him instantly; instead,

a month before.” ACU TODAY

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the grenade bounced away, exploding only after its second impact. Biar’s reaction to such a close call was, again, matter-of-fact: “That’s how it is in war.”

In his job, Biar depends heavily on technology, which also helps him stay in touch with ACU professors and friends back in Abilene.

War to West Texas After four years on the front lines of civil war, Sgt. Zechariah Manyok Biar in 1997 was appointed to an administrative position, adjutant to his battalion commander. It was a promotion that changed his life – and his country. In 1999, the commander offered Biar an opportunity to continue his education. He enrolled in a two-year Bible college, graduating with a certificate in pastoral ministry. From there, he attended Timothy Training Institute, earning a diploma in theology from the three-year Bible college. Another chance encounter – this time with Dr. Mike Smith, an Abilene native and physician doing medical missions in Sudan who asked Biar to help him learn Arabic and Dinka – led to Biar receiving a bachelor’s degree in education from Kampala International University in Uganda. The civil war, meanwhile, had drawn to a close after 21 years. Khartoum and the SPLA reached a peace agreement in 2005, which put in place a timetable leading to the January 2011 independence referendum for the 10 states of South Sudan. With the conflict subsiding, Biar had more flexibility to leave the region. Using his contacts with Abilene Christian, Smith helped him obtain a scholarship covering the costs of receiving a Master of Arts in Christian ministry from ACU’s Graduate School of Theology. “He decided to send me to school,” Biar said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I can take that.’ So he decided to send me to Abilene, to ACU.” In 2006, after a lifetime of fighting for survival in east-central Africa, Biar boarded a plane for the United States. Dr. Jack Reese (’73), dean of the College of the Biblical Studies and the Graduate School of Theology, first met Biar at the annual GST Talent Show at the beginning of the school year. Biar rose and told stories from his homeland. “He is so self-controlled, so un-self-conscious,” Reese said. “It was not daunting to him at all to walk into a room of 150 people he didn’t know and take command of the room.” While taking classes in the GST, Biar befriended a classmate, Belinda (Halbert ’75) Harmon, a member of ACU’s Board of Trustees and the Oak Ridge Church of Christ in Fort Worth. The congregation agreed to subsidize Biar’s second master’s degree, this one in social work. Biar finished both degrees in three years, 46

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The resources that we have will be enough for our culture. We have a fertile land, and the people are hard-working. All these things show me the future

of South Sudan is brighter. South Sudan is not going to fall. You will see.” TIM FRECCIA

Biar lives in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city of 250,000, serving as a riverport of the White Nile River.

taking 19 hours of classes each semester – a workload that would overwhelm most graduate students. “He’s just amazing,” Harmon said. “He’s willing to tackle any hard task.” Biar, fascinated with the workings of American democracy, began engaging his professors in discussions about the application of such principles in his own culture, especially as South Sudan drew closer to probable independence in 2011. “He had a place, he had a role in a country he had no doubt would be formed,” said Reese, one of the professors to whom Biar turned. “He was confident in God’s purposes for him and his country.” Yearning to share his insights, Biar began writing guest columns to Sudanese newspapers. Smaller local papers in the south would then reprint them, giving Biar a wide platform to influence the creation of the government. “I took my observations of the United States and applied them to my country,” he said. “It was my writing mainly the people here appreciate. It’s because they know me through my writing.” Tackling such issues as corruption, the rule of law, job creation and allocation of resources, Biar urged for transparent government, political freedoms and, perhaps most remarkable for this onetime soldier, peaceful resolutions of disputes. “One cannot rule out the difficulties that South Sudanese will face when they vote for independence in 2011,” he wrote in April 2010. “There might be violence or even economic collapse. However, nobody in South Sudan will regret his or her choice for secession.” In a more recent column, Biar used colorful language in comparing Libyan rebels to those already rebelling against the nascent South Sudanese government: One should not kick the buttock of an elephant if he knows he is not strong enough. Anybody who sings the song of violence must first check his muscles.

Future at the door Upon graduating with two master’s degrees in 2010, Biar returned to South Sudan, preparing the region for its seemingly inevitable transition to statehood. Support for independence ran high in anticipation of the 2011 referendum. Lines began forming outside polling places as early as midnight, Biar said. As a member of the provisional government, he worked for a few hours before taking his place in line at 11 a.m. About 3 p.m., he cast his vote. More than 96 percent of South Sudanese voters chose the waving hand denoting separation over the two clasped hands of unity. Biar and some friends stayed awake

until midnight then opened their doors and shouted into the streets as the historic day ended. Yet Biar’s excitement was tempered with the realization that the hard work was about to begin. South Sudan would be an independent nation in seven months. “I was excited,” he said, describing his emotions at the time. “But the excitement is not that important now because of the challenge that was coming. If [the people’s] expectations do not come to pass, they are going to be against the government – not because I was pessimistic, but because I saw it as a reality.” Shortly after t he vote, Biar wrote the following: The future sometimes seems far away, but it is often at the door. … The future that we were talking about is now current. There will be no excuses for us not to put our system in order now. Biar plays a key role in creating that system, serving as executive director in the Interior Ministry of South Sudan, in charge of setting in motion a long-range $4 billion infrastructure plan for the nation’s roads, mostly dirt, and bridges, mostly nonexistent. He acts as something of a roving consultant, spending several months at each ministry, an Anglican priest and former machine gunner using the planning skills that came with his American social work degree to formulate long-term policies for the government. “I’m still moving from being a soldier to being a civilian,” he said. “I can’t tell when I completely moved from one side to the other.” Harmon describes Biar as incessantly positive when he was in Abilene about the future of his country. “I can’t tell you how many people he’s seen die or the hardships he’s gone through,” said Harmon, who conducted a series of extensive interviews with Biar for a graduate paper she wrote on the development of Christianity in North Africa. “He’s always been so optimistic and proud of South Sudan.” That optimism remains, though it’s held in check by the sheer enormity of the challenges South Sudan faces. The north remains hostile to the breakaway republic and has instigated border clashes with South Sudan and its neighbors. Negotiations over oil revenue – the south contains the vast majority of the Sudanese oil fields but cannot transport it without northern pipelines – have been fitful. And splinter groups continue to rebel against the new government in hopes of gaining more power. “Until we put our systems right, people will be rebelling against

the system,” he said. “That is not going to make South Sudan fall. If South Sudan falls, they are not going to benefit. They are not going to kill South Sudan, but they will be killing the people, who are innocent.” Cultural barriers also pose problems – particularly, the endemic nature of corruption spawned by intense need, a duty to support extended families and an expectation of reward. “Corruption is a challenge here, and it’s going to remain a challenge,” Biar said. “Fighting it is complicated. It is difficult, to be honest.”

The weapon of the pen When Biar was 12 years old, his SPLA teachers told him, “You must hold your gun in your left hand and your pen in your right.” The machine gun with which he fought has been put away, and the pen is now Biar’s weapon of choice. The world of South Sudan is changing; Biar is changing the world of South Sudan. And he, too, has changed, describing himself as “the first person in my family since the beginning of time” to go to college. “When I started fighting, I grew tougher,” he said. “I did not regard my life as very important. That stayed with me until 2006, when I went to the United States. That’s when I started valuing life. Today, I have a different perspective. I could still fight, but not the same way.” On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was born, the 193rd member of the United Nations. The future is at the door. How long can it last? What kind of nation will it become? The ink has faded from his thumb, but Zechariah Manyok Biar needs no such external reminders about the importance of the independence he fought nearly his entire life to achieve. “When we set up this system, we did not know much about how government works,” he said. “The only thing we know is democracy. What we are struggling with is how democracy works. … There is hope it will improve. “The resources that we have will be enough for our culture,” he said. “We have a fertile land, and the people are hard-working. All these things show me the future of South Sudan is brighter. “South Sudan is not going to fall,” he said. “You will see.” 䊱 See Bonus Coverage at


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ACU TODAY BONUS COVERAGE Zechariah Manyok Biar earned master's degrees in Christian ministry and in social work from ACU.



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bout a year ago, the Republic of South Sudan obtained its independence from the Republic of Sudan. But today, challenges face the two countries. People on both sides are still dying from war-related injuries. In open fields, wild animals and birds feast on the bodies of people killed in recent clashes at Heglig. Sudanese jet fighters bomb civilian areas, burning villages, displacing families and killing children. These challenges are not just isolated to war. In January 2012, our government shut down oil production contributing to 98 percent of its budget because the Sudanese government was stealing it to pay transition fees after both sides failed to agree on the amount South Sudan should pay for

transporting its oil through Sudan. As a result of the shutdown, many South Sudanese are facing imminent starvation. Yet they are willing to fight for real freedom. An outsider will not understand the apparent madness of the South Sudanese willing to continue fighting Sudan after attaining their freedom. But we have our own way of understanding what is now taking place. We believe it is a continuation of the price we paid for our freedom. Freedom for South Sudanese is not the absence of war; it is the absence of oppression – both direct and indirect. Before the civil war that ended in 2005, the South Sudanese believed they were treated like second-class citizens in Sudan. When the British left Sudan in 1956, 800 senior positions in the government had to be filled. Only four were given to South Sudan and none to residents in the Nuba Mountains. The South Sudanese are mainly Christians and, according to Arab Muslims, Christians should not rule Muslims. Diversity was seen as bad, and all Sudanese were expected to adopt Islamic and Arabic

cultures, including the Arabic language. To do anything to the contrary was to be uncivilized. Oppression in the cities resulted in oppression in rural areas, too. In Bor, a regional capital in South Sudan, the Sudanese routinely executed South Sudanese for no reason at a place called Pan Nyok Agany. Anybody found walking at night was arrested, taken to Pan Nyok Agany and would be seen floating in the river the next morning. Such murders affected cattle keepers who had no choice but to walk through Bor at night when returning from faraway places in search of their lost cattle. There were other ways of killing Southerners. Whenever there was drought in the South, the government would do nothing to save people from starvation. Preventable diseases would easily kill many people. Hospitals only existed in towns. Malaria was a major killer of babies and the elderly in rural areas and even in towns in the marginalized areas. Maternal mortality was common because of a lack of trained midwives. Nobody would even dream about



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development projects in the South to We in the South relate to the suffering reduce these conditions. of marginalized people in the Sudan. We These conditions contributed to the strongly believe that standing up against willingness of every South Sudanese resident the oppressors, however strong they could to die for freedom, in which he or she will, as be, is the only solution to ending oppression. songwriter Mary Aluel puts it, “experience Being alive in your own land while regarded new creation.” Mangok, another songwriter as less than human – Sudanese President and musician, says: “Even if both the sun and the moon fell down, one person will An African Union soldier finds the village of Tama freshly burning more remain to claim our land.” than a week after it was attacked by Arab Janjaweed nomads, backed Paying for freedom – as by government forces, in Tama, South Darfur, Sudan, on Nov. 3, 2005. South Sudanese understand The AU made several attempts at patrolling and conducting an it – is the willingness to die investigation in the village of Tama after it was attacked, but Arab nomads blocked the AU from accessing the village and fired upon so that oppression ends and approaching vehicles. Hundreds of villages were pillaged and burned life for future generations throughout Darfur, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. can be realized. This price was costly indeed. The international community estimates the two-decade civil war killed 2 million people throughout Sudan. South Sudanese think it is closer to 3 million. The reality is that many more people died because no one was present to report their demise. What counts, however, is not how many people were killed. It is the importance attached to their death. During the war when I was an army chaplain, I witnessed soldiers dying while saying they were happy to do so for Omar Hassan al-Bashir recently referred to the future happiness of their children, even South Sudanese as “insects” – is worse than those yet to be born. That kind of yearning death itself. Aluel said in her song that we for freedom is what counts. are not taking away somebody’s land: We Old men, women and children – apart own it and believe what has absorbed so from the dying fighters – believed they were much of our blood in the past will heal us in paying the price of freedom when they spent the future. According to her, if we are on the days and nights without shelter after the wrong side, then God would tell us to give enemy drove them from their homes. up. But if the land is ours, then we will not Starving Southerners believe a free South be defeated. We will not give up until we all Sudan will one day be a place where people die for it. That is the meaning of paying a would have plenty to eat. price for freedom. We are not alone in our suffering. The South Sudanese do not associate bad The people in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, governance with bad people. They do not and Blue Nile are going through the same. think the Arabs are bad people. They believe They are part of marginalized peoples that what is bad in the Sudan is its system throughout the Sudan. Even though most of governance. The initial aim was not to of them are Muslim, they are still seen as secede from the North; it was to reform the second-class citizens by the Arab leadership. system in Khartoum. The failure of change They are driven from their homes so Arabs in Sudan’s capital city led to the secession affected by the expanding desert can be of South Sudan. resettled in their areas. Questioning how Today, we are looking forward to a the government makes these decisions is democratic Sudan in which people have seen as a threat by the elites in Khartoum. a say about how they are governed. Even Like the South Sudanese, the black though we have paid the higher price for Africans of Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile our freedom, we do not hate the Sudanese. are paying higher prices for trying to be They are our brothers and sisters. 䊱 human beings like the rest of the elites in Khartoum. It does not matter which religion Zechariah Manyok Biar lives in Juba. He can be reached at they believe; their African-ness is enough for them to suffer.


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A birds-eye view of destroyed huts in Muhajariya, South Darfur, Sudan, on March 15, 2009.




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Hawa Nur Salah, 4, watches her mother build a house after they were displaced from Abdangal village, and fled to Zam Zam Camp outside of Al Fashir, North Darfur, Sudan on March 13, 2009. About 32,000 displaced people from the south Darfur villages of Muhajariya, Labado and Kasan Jadid, gathered in makeshift shelters in the camp. Many of them suffered from a lack of food, water, shelter, and from illnesses. Children were the most frequent casualities of the difficult living conditions.




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Women ride from the Kutum market to the Fata Borno Camp for the displaced under escort by South African soldiers of the African Union in Sudan's troubled Darfur region on Jan. 19, 2007. The trek took the women 15 kilometers (9 miles) through open territory. Women were frequently attacked and raped by government-allied Janjaweed militias when they ventured into open territory.




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Male relatives of Asha Adam, who died that morning in the Nyala hospital after being sick with diarrhea, prepare her grave for a burial at the Otash camp for internally displaced Sudanese people in Nyala, South Darfur, Sudan on March 20, 2009. As camps dealt with the expulsion of international human rights organizations, and most clinics were closed in the camps, many people were faced with a shortage of water and growing health concerns, and a lack of sanitation.


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Displaced Sudanese take refuge in 2004 under a tree out of the heat of the day and out of view of the Antanov responsible for bombing their village in Disa, North Darfur, Sudan. There were an estimated 2-3 million people displaced in Darfur who were trapped on the east, west and south by government troops. To the north, desert wasteland often claimed the lives of their livestock and weaker members of their families.


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Academic camp expands, offers travel to Colorado and New Mexico

his summer, high school students interested in a variety of topics – from problem-solving via robotics to the communication methods of ancient civilizations – can earn college credit while experiencing life on campus at ACU’s Summer Academy.


by K At I E N O A H G I B S O N

e Summer Academy program began in 2010, with a one-week camp offering a choice of several elective courses taught by ACU faculty members, each worth 1 hour of college credit. Students stayed on campus in residence halls, getting a brief taste of the ACU experience as they attended classes, worked on projects together and ate in the World Famous Bean. is year’s Summer Academy offers a similar one-week option, with courses in digital media, entrepreneurship, debate, robot-based problem solving, cryptography, and an intensive piano course. But students also can opt for the two-week version of the Academy, which offers the opportunity to earn 4 hours of college credit and take an excursion to several UNESCO World Heritage sites in New Mexico and Colorado. “We wanted to do something different,” says Dr. Kristina (Campos ’99) Davis, assistant professor of communication and honors studies, and director of Summer Academy. “We wanted to provide continuity by offering the one-week camp again. But the two-week camp was really the result of the Honors College staff dreaming and imagining something really unique. e camp is like a shortened version of our Study America program – it’s a vastly different experience from most academic camps.” As she and the Summer Academy team surveyed summer academic camps at other institutions, “we found so many different examples of what this could look like,” Davis says. “Many camps only connect with one part of a student: the mind, the body or the soul. Some Christian academic camps were still mainly about a spiritual experience, so we didn’t want to simply duplicate that. “ACU already has Leadership Camps – a strong group of spiritual summer camps – and we wanted to focus on academics. So we looked for ways to foster a love of learning in our students. We want them to truly see what it means to be Christian scholars,” she says. During the two-week camp, students may choose one core course (for 3 hours of freshman- or sophomore-level college credit) and one elective (for 1 hour of fine arts credit). Core courses include Introduction to Human Nature (a survey of psychology with a focus on human behavior), Film and Faith (a study of recent and classic films, emphasizing the films’ theological elements and expressions of contemporary culture), and e Ethics of Jesus (a survey of the four gospels, focusing on the ministry and teachings of Jesus). e 1-credit-hour fine arts courses include introductions to digital media, on-site drawing and sketching, and black-and-white photography. “We hired some of the toughest – but most fun – professors on campus, and asked them not to go easy on these students,” Davis says. “is is their chance to see ACU at its best: ey’ll have the best faculty and the most challenging classes in a short-term experience.” After the first week of classes, students will visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Colorado and New Mexico, where they will begin to apply the skills learned in their elective AC U TO D AY

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courses and think more deeply about the principles they’ve been studying in their core courses. “e weekend excursion gives students the chance to ask a lot of questions about these civilizations,” says Haley Dilling (’09), enrollment marketing manager at ACU, who helped organize the first Summer Academy and is promoting the current one to prospective students and parents. “Students will explore the geography of the region and study the civilizations that lived there, and ask: ‘How did they live? How did they tell stories? What was their worldview, their view of God, their moral system, their religion? How did the places where they lived impact their thoughts and societies?’” “We have been intentional about connecting the classes to the weekend trip,” Davis agrees. “All the faculty members have looked at ways to connect their material to the trip. We planned the trip before we chose the classes, so we made sure each class had a natural connection to the idea of studying ancient civilizations.” Students will travel first to taos, visiting the Pueblo de taos, the only living Native American community to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. e multi-storied adobe buildings are located about a mile north of taos, and have been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years. Many of the pueblo’s current residents, like its ancient ones, are artists. Some still use ancient techniques to make pottery, buckskin moccasins and drums; others focus on music, sculpture, painting or jewelry making. After touring taos, the students will travel to Colorado, where they will tour Mesa Verde National Park, which encompasses more than 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 well-preserved cliff dwellings inhabited by Puebloans from about A.D. 550 to 1300. ey will conclude the excursion with a trip to Carlsbad Caverns, where they will tour the famous caves and study their development from wilderness to frontier outpost to tourist attraction. At each site, students will observe and discuss the culture, philosophy, communication and lifestyle of the earliest civilizations of the American Southwest. As part of ACU’s ongoing commitment to integrate technology with learning, students in the two-week course will be loaned iPads upon check-in, pre-loaded with all textbooks, course readings and supplementary materials for their classes. Students can take the iPads on the weekend excursion, recording their observations and doing on-site research as they travel. ey also will use the skills learned in their elective classes to record and reflect on their experiences. During the second week in Abilene, students will use the research and insights from the excursion in their core class discussions and projects. Davis, for one, can’t wait. “is experience lets me show the best and brightest prospective students what an ACU experience can be,” she says. “From the time I was a student at ACU, I have believed that academically we could compete with any other university in the nation. I would tell friends that ACU was giving me a world-class education right here in Abilene. is is what Summer Academy is allowing me to do: to show younger students the best ACU has to offer.” at’s worth writing home – or at least posting to Facebook – about. to learn more about Summer Academy and keep up with students’ activities this summer, visit or 䊱


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Summer Academy 1 • June 10-23, 2012 • Abilene, N.M., and Colo. Summer Academy 2 • June 24-30, 2012 • Abilene

Selections of books written, edited, compiled or contributed to by ACU alumni, faculty, staff and students. See others on Pages 60-61.


The Best Scholarships for the Best Students

Megan’s Secrets



By Dr. Jason Morris (M.S. ’94), Donald Asher and Nichole Fazio-Veigel ISBN 978-0-76893-260-7 • 358 pages

By Mike Cope ISBN 978-0-89112-286-9 • 224 pages

One in a series of books by educational resource leader Peterson’s, this edition is designed to help students looking to apply for nationally prestigious scholarships, internships and experience-based programs.

Cope, adjunct professor of Bible, missions and ministry at ACU, writes a memoir of his short time with Megan, his loving daughter who died at age 10 but left her father and family with an eternity of amazing lessons about life.

Tomorrow’s Garden




By Stephen Orr (’87) ISBN 978-1-60529-468-1• 256 pages

Edited by R. Mark Shipp ISBN 978-0-89112-298-2 • 320 pages

Orr, the gardening editorial director for Martha Stewart Living magazine, features gardens from 14 American cities that have been simplified without sacrificing beauty or innovative design.

This “psalter/commentary” combines in-depth study with 108 new songs based on the text of Psalms 1-41. Numerous alumni contributed, including professors Dr. Jack Reese (’73), Dr. Mark Hamilton, Dr. Glenn Pemberton (’85), Dr. Sean Pullen, Dr. John Willis (’55), and professor emeritus Dr. Jack Boyd (’55).


God’s Story, Your Story



By Dr. Richard Beck (’89) ISBN 978-1-60899-242-3 • 212 pages

By Max Lucado (’77) ISBN 978-0-31029-403-0 • 208 pages

In an unprecedented, unblinking fusion of psychological science and theological scholarship, Beck describes the pernicious effects of the psychology of purity upon the life and mission of the church.

One of the world’s most popular best-selling Christian authors, Lucado helps people see how their day-to-day story intersects with God’s grand epic of everlasting redemption in a way that makes their faith journey come to life.

Details at 10

Echoing the Story



By Bert N. Shipp (’56) ISBN 978-1-60949-415-5 • 160 pages

By Brady Bryce (’95) ISBN 978-1-60899-818-1 • 138 pages

A former reporter for The Optimist in the 1950s, Shipp served more than 40 years at WFAA-TV 8 in Dallas, where he was an award-winning news director and assignments editor who helped shape news reporting.

Part spiritual formation, part discipleship, part journey through the Bible, this guidebook is an experience in hearing the Word of God in life. Readers are encouraged to imagine their everyday lives as stories oriented toward God.

Renewing Christian Unity

Growing Up Colt



By Dr. Douglas A. Foster, Dr. Mark G. Toulouse and Dr. Gary Holloway ISBN 978-0-89112-543-3 • 208 pages

By Brad McCoy (’83) and Colt McCoy, with Mike Yorkey ISBN 978-1-61626-659-2 • 256 pages

This book provides a brief history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is the third in a series of books examining the backgrounds of faith traditions born of the American Restoration Movement. Foster is professor of church history at ACU.

Before Colt McCoy became an all-America college and NFL quarterback, he grew up in Tuscola, just south of Abilene, coached by his father, Brad, who instilled principles that forged his son’s faith and determination to succeed. Colt’s grandfather is Burl McCoy (’55), former ACU head coach of track and field and women’s basketball.


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House of theRisingSon Alumni use their academic skills and servant hearts to build and teach in ailand’s new Chiang Rai International Christian School STORY BY DEANA NALL • PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM FERGUSON


an wasn’t supposed to go to college. She probably wasn’t even supposed to graduate from high school. She was the only English-speaking member of her hill-tribe family in northern ailand. But a scholarship to Chiang Rai International Christian School changed the course of her life, and now she’s about to graduate from an international university in ailand.

Tew’s family is from China, and he knew nothing about Christianity before he came to Chiang Rai International Christian

The Stuarts and Penningto


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School. He was supposed to have become a Buddhist monk. Now he is a strong believer who loves to share his faith in Christ. When Ja first came to Chiang Rai International Christian School, she heard the students singing and didn’t understand what the songs were about. “Now I know all these songs, and I believe all these songs,” she said. ese are a few snapshots of the students who have experienced Chiang Rai International Christian School

“I’ve always wanted to put education and missions together.” – BRENT PENNINGTON (CRICS) in Chiang Rai, ailand. When principal administrator Brent Pennington (’93) thinks about how the school came to be, he just shakes his head and quotes a line from Eugene Peterson’s Christ Plays in Ten ousand Places: “e Lord makes straight lines with crooked sticks.” “Sometimes I don’t really know how we got into all of this,” Pennington said. “A lot of people just came together.” Every morning, 80 students stream through the newly built hallways of CRICS. ey are the children of humanitarian aid workers, doctors, lawyers, professors, Christian missionaries and Buddhist monks. ey come to the school for an education, and because of the small class sizes and the emphasis on critical thinking skills, they receive a higher-quality one than some of the local ai schools are able to offer. But to the leaders at CRICS, teaching is about much more than the mind. It also is a matter of heart and soul. “I’ve always wanted to put education and missions together,” Pennington said. e past year has been an exciting time of growth and development. To meet requirements of the ai government to become a licensed school, CRICS underwent a major building project, completed in

December 2011. Pennington has been able to realize his dream of mixing education and missions in a way he never could have envisioned. “We have been able to help build a school that allows missions to happen, and we get to share Christ with ai families,” he said. Following the school’s mission to “serve the servant by providing quality, innovative, family-oriented English Christian education,” the CRICS faculty has sought to offer education to children of missionaries and Christian service workers. CRICS has become a respected school in the Chiang Rai community. While ai schools place as many as 40 students in one class, classes at CRICS average eight students per class, and cap each one at 15. “e ai education system isn’t bad; it’s just overloaded,” Pennington said. “ere’s only so much they can do.” Another advantage the school offers is its ESL program, according to Pennington’s teammate, Dr. Troy Stuart (’98). Asian culture currently places a lot of value on learning English and the 30 percent of CRICS students whose native language is something other than English have the opportunity to develop their English skills. But the school’s ESL program is not only for native ai speakers. “We have developed our ESL program so families from Malaysia, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Korea, as well as ailand are able to send their children to the school,” said Pennington’s wife, Julie (Griggs ’94). “It is quite the multi-cultural setting, with many of our students speaking two or three languages.” Located in the heart of the northernmost province of the country, Chiang Rai is the main commercial center for the Golden Triangle border region of ailand, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Laos. Chiang Rai also has a

Brent Pennington oversaw construction of three new buildings on the campus of Chiang Rai International Christian School, although record monsoon-generated rains slowed the progress.


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large population of immigrants from China, so CRICS draws a rich mix of ethnicities into its student body. As a result, the school itself has become something of a mission field. About 30 percent of the students are Buddhist. Brent is one of four ACU graduates who leads the school. Julie worked as elementary coordinator before the adoption of Joy, their 1-year-old daughter. Troy and his wife, Tanya (Morris ’97), arrived in ailand with their three sons to work at CRICS in 2010. Troy serves as director of accreditation and curriculum while teaching Bible and history classes. Tanya teaches third grade and works as a recruiter. Two more ACU graduates, Eric (’95) and Rutha (Taylor ’93) Ebeling, plan to arrive this summer with their family to work with the school. Years before any of them dreamed of living in ailand, the Penningtons and Ebelings knew each other as undergrads at ACU. Later, Julie and Tanya met in the marriage and family therapy graduate program, and Troy met Brent while Brent was working as residence director of McKinzie Hall. “From a relational standpoint, ACU played an important role because of the relationship Tanya and I built with Brent and Julie while we were in school there,” Troy said. “None of us had any idea that we would cross paths again. I can just picture God smiling back then thinking, ‘I know the plans I have for you.’ One of the important roles a university like ACU plays in God’s kingdom is building connections among servants.” As Abilene Christian students, the Penningtons met others who would ultimately inspire them to go overseas.

“At ACU, you encounter different people who are doing great things all over the world,” Brent said. While a student at ACU, Brent met Drs. Kelly Hamby, Jeff Haseltine and Ted Presley (’68) – all of whom had spent time in different cultures around the world. Dr. Chris Flanders (’89), now an associate professor of missions at ACU, also influenced Brent to develop a heart for other cultures. “When I was a sophomore, Chris was leading small groups of ‘World Christians’ who encouraged young ACU students to consider what adventures God might have for them in Asian countries,” Brent said. Dr. William Rankin, ACU director of educational innovation and associate professor of English, inspired Brent to major in English and, ultimately, teach English. “He knows what it means to love students by educating with excellence and passion,” Brent said. “I will never forget those days when it was such a joy to walk into his Major British Writers class.” Brent began spending his summers in St. Louis doing internships with missions pioneer Stanley Shipp (’46). During his semesters at Abilene Christian, Brent became involved in Bible studies for international students, and he and Julie spent time with Larry Henderson (’74), who teaches missions at ACU. In 1996, Brent and Julie made a trip to ailand to visit Brent’s brother Russ (’90), who served as missionary there for 16 years. “All of that planted the seeds of having a deep desire for doing work overseas,” Brent said.

Tanya (Morris) Stuart


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ese seeds also were planted in Julie, who describes herself as not having much of a worldview when she was a freshman at ACU. “I wondered why many of my friends were taking the World Christians class and hanging out with international students,” she said. “God had put the nations pretty deeply into Brent at an early age, so as I understood more what loving and marrying Brent might involve for our lives, it felt a bit overwhelming at times. As I grew through that, ACU was a safe and healthy place to develop, learn and prepare for the future during an impressionable stage of life.” While the Penningtons and Stuarts were finishing their graduate degrees in 1997, a small group of missionaries on the other side of the globe in Chiang Rai was forming a homeschooling co-op for their own children. Opened as the Family Learning Center that November, the school spent its early years Dr. Troy Stuart meeting in a warehouse before moving to a teak house and a church before occupying an old hotel. By then, Brent, Julie and their children, Ben and Kate (they would later adopt Jack and Joy), had arrived in Chiang Rai as a missionary family and had become involved with the school. While Brent worked at a local university, Julie joined the Family Learning Center school board as it was faced with a significant decision. ai families were expressing interest in enrolling their children in the Family Learning Center. e school could either keep turning them away or cease operation as a home school co-op to pursue the international school registration process under the ai Ministry of Education. After much prayer and exploring both options, the school board decided to become a licensed international school. e school had to meet a long list of requirements, including developing its own curriculum, recruiting teachers in a more formal manner and buying land and constructing facilities to government standards. “God truly gave us favor here with the minister of education for our area and many others around the world, really, as we plowed through refining our curriculum, raising funds from donors all over the place and working as a unified team,” Julie said. Brent had become the school’s principal administrator, and the expensive building project was daunting. But donations began to trickle in, and the school eventually collected the $700,000 needed for the three buildings of the project’s first phase. “ree years ago, we were wondering how a small missionary community could raise $120,000 to buy an

11-acre plot of land,” Brent said. “It’s clear that God has moved this whole thing along.” In fact, the entire licensing process came together as everyone in the school community contributed their time, energy and resources. “It has truly been a faith-building process to watch God bring the right people at the right time for the tasks we needed and the funds that we have needed,” Julie said. “God has truly multiplied the fishes and loaves before our eyes as we prayed for provision for certain needs.” e new campus opened in January, and the school is now licensed as a fully recognized international school. e new facility features a room named after Julie’s parents, Dr. Jack (’64) and Ann (Faubus ’65) Griggs. A group of families gathered donations and planned the room’s dedication, with which the school community surprised the Griggses when they visited Chiang Rai last year. “It was one of those moments where our two worlds met – dear friends and family in the states with our friends and work here in Chiang Rai,” Julie said. At CRICS, students from a variety of backgrounds come together in an environment in which Christian teachers foster thinking and learning. To Brent, this is the “life” that makes the school unique and attractive. “Many CRICS students are hearing about Jesus for the first time, and their Buddhist families tend to be open to this Christian family environment as they see the joy and encouragement for their student in the classroom,” he said. “Ultimately, many students choose to believe in Christ, and others internalize Christ’s ideas and take this with them into their future settings.” Many of the school’s parents work in humanitarian aid efforts, including community development with hilltribe people groups; church planting among unreached people groups in Laos, Burma and Southern China; children’s homes for kids who are HIV-positive; ministries working with at-risk girls; orphanages; and peace efforts in Myanmar. “Parents regularly tell us they wouldn’t be able to do what God has called them to do in this area if the school wasn’t here providing a way for their children’s education,” Julie said. It’s no secret that CRICS students are developing servant hearts. When last year’s monsoon season brought devastating floods to ailand, members of this year’s senior class decided to use their senior-trip money to help victims. “is is a small class with some students in it who do not come from Christian homes,” Troy said. “As a class, AC U TO D AY

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Julie (Griggs) Pennington


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“Parents regularly tell us they wouldn’t be able to do what God has called them to do in this area if the school wasn’t here providing a way for their children’s education.” – JULIE (GRIGGS) PENNINGTON they have embraced the call to love our neighbor and to show people the love of Christ through serving the community.” Although CRICS is on the other side of the globe from Abilene, relationships the Penningtons and Stuarts formed through ACU continue to help the school grow. “I’m amazed at how much of our support, both financial support as well as prayer and encouragement, comes from people we connected with while at ACU,” Brent said. “ACU is very instrumental in our work here because of those relationships that were in place long before we got here. at’s an encouraging part of what ACU means to us.” CRICS is always in need of help, especially in the classroom. Teacher assistants do not need to have a degree, and while teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in any major, they do not need to be certified to begin teaching, Tanya said. Teachers with bachelor’s degrees can become certified to teach through the Association of Christian Schools International. “All ages are welcome!” Tanya said. “Young people come to assist, recent college grads come to work with us for their first full year of teaching, families such as ours move here, and retired teachers devote time to help us.” In November, when construction on the new CRICS building was complete enough for the students and teachers to move in, they marked the occasion by marching from the old campus to the new one – led by the high school worship team singing praise songs. e community pitched in to help with the move. e students at CRICS spend a week on a community service project every year, and this year’s project was moving to their new school. On the day of the march, Brent reminded the students of another people who, long ago, moved to a land with gardens they did not plow and vineyards they did not plant. He led the students in reading the Psalms of Ascent, and he urged them to always remember this significant day in the school’s history. “It’s not so much that I think we have done something great,” Brent said. “But that I believe in what God is doing here.” As Julie teaches, administrates and parents four children in a part of the world she never imagined she would call home, she continues to be at amazed at the way God has worked in Chiang Rai. “is is the Lord at work in our small corner of the world,” she said. “I love the ripple effect of how he uses one person to affect so many lives in a lifetime. I see that as what God is doing with our students – those who are living in Christian families, as well as those courageous ones who are the first believers in their families. It’s amazing to think how God is and will continue using these students. It’s fun to dream about everything the Lord will do next through the people here.” 䊱


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Hilltop VIEW

For the latest, visit


Johnson’s harmonica solo wows crowd at annual Veterans Day Tribute


Apple honors ACU Connected program

The university’s mobile-learning initiative is still topping the charts in higher education. In January, Apple named ACU – along with only nine other colleges and universities in the nation – an Apple Distinguished Program for its work to understand the impact of mobility in education, and to create new ways for students and teachers to learn and engage through mobile devices. The ACU Connected initiative has garnered worldwide recognition, helping Abilene Christian become known as a place where educators can find the information they need to help move their classrooms into the 21st century. For more: 

Beck, students debunk Anson Light legend

For decades, inquisitive ACU students have driven 28 miles north to Anson, Texas, to see the mysterious “ghost light” and try to find its source. In June 2011, Dr. Richard Beck (’89), associate professor and chair of ACU’s Department of Psychology, and seven of his students decided to solve the mystery – with help from their iPhones. Using Google maps and other GPS features on their devices, Beck and his students tracked the light from all possible angles. The data-capturing features on their phones allowed them to prove that the light – which has been featured in Texas Monthly magazine and on the TV show “Unsolved Mysteries” – is caused by headlights from southbound traffic on U.S. Highway 277. “There's a lot of talk on campus about how the iPhone would allow ACU students to do field research,” Beck wrote on his

Red Thread Movement co-founder named ACU’s first Truman Scholar

Brittany Partridge, a senior political science major from Annandale, Minn., envisions a career dedicated to seeking justice for people who are exploited by others. And she’s not waiting for Commencement to get started. Three years ago she and fellow student Samantha Sutherland co-founded the Red Thread Movement to raise awareness about international sex trafficking and provide safe houses for girls rescued from prostitution. In early April, Partridge became the

first ACU student to be named a Truman Scholar and receive a prestigious federal scholarship that recognizes and supports young future leaders. The honor includes a $30,000 scholarship for graduate school, made possible by the Truman Scholarship Foundation. For more:

Psychology majors Tyler Lotz (left) and Zach Stromberg (center) use iPhones to research with Dr. Richard Beck.


He may be 99 years old, but Roland Johnson still knows how to command a room with his presence. Steadying himself with one hand on a walker, the veteran stood and played “God Bless America” on his harmonica – with a surprise rendition of “Oh, Dear Christian College” as a lead-in – as part of ACU’s annual Veterans Day Tribute in Moody Coliseum on Nov. 11, 2011. A video presentation introduced Johnson, who served more than four decades in the U.S. Cavalry, including assignments for the Army during World War II and afterward as part of the Counter Intelligence Corps in Japan and Korea, and as a teacher of ROTC corps in Louisiana. Johnson also preached in G.I. congregations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and earned bachelor’s (’64) and master’s (’67) degrees in religious education from ACU. Johnson volunteers his time


performing patriotic songs on his harmonica for residents of local nursing homes and senior citizen centers. The Veterans Day Tribute also featured ACU’s Grand Chorus, directed by Dr. Sean Pullen, performing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “A Tribute to the Armed Services” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” along with a large American flag unfurled from the rafters.

Christmas at Historic Houses

God With Us

By Patricia (Hart ’56) McMillan and Katharine Kaye McMillan ISBN 978-0-7643-3559-4 • 224 pages


By Phil Ware (’77) ISBN 978-0-89112-313-2 • 376 pages

Stories and photos of Christmas traditions from more than 30 famous American houses, from Mount Vernon, Va., to the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C., to the Pittock Mansion in Portland, Ore.

Ware, the preaching minister at Abilene’s Southern Hills Church of Christ, has published this, his fourth book designed to help Christians participate in faith-enriching daily devotionals.

Winter 2012


The 2010-11 Mobile-Learning Report provides an inside look at ACU’s award-winning mobile-learning initiative. View or download it from

blog. “But I bet the Connected folks never envisioned the iPhone as a vital part of paranormal investigative field research.” 

Curl helps commemorate 50th anniversary of integration of university’s campus


As the first black undergraduate student admitted to ACU in 1962, Dr. Billy Curl (’66) knows something about the difficult road traveled by others with pioneering roles in the integration of a university. “There were a lot of people behind the scenes pulling for me, and they made it possible Dr. Billy Curl for me to sustain myself,” said Curl, who is an ACU trustee, as well as an elder and minister at the Crenshaw Church of Christ in Los Angeles, Calif. He said he remembers his father telling him, “If you want to make it in this world, you are going to have to have an education. You also have to have God in your life and you’re going to have to dream.” Curl spoke in Chapel Feb. 20 and later that evening on a Chapel Forum panel, to mark Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of ACU being an integrated campus. He was joined in the Chapel Forum by Dr. Gary McCaleb (’64), vice president of the university; Dr. Ellis Long (’57), former missions faculty member; Dr. Odies Wright (’72), associate professor of exercise science and health; Dr. Stephanie (Toombs ’90) Hamm, assistant professor of social work and director of the School of Social work; and Byron Martin (’09), assistant director of student multicultural enrichment and support. Moderators were Grant Boone (’91), alumni relations officer, and Farron Salley, senior journalism and mass communication major. Russ Kirby,


Annual number of hours in which ACU students are engaged in community service around the world, according to the university’s Center for Christian Service and Leadership.

director of student multicultural enrichment, was the host. 

Grammy-winning musicians, Texas Rangers’ CFO among campus speakers

• Economics writer Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, spoke out against federal spending at a luncheon Nov. 15, 2011. Moore also addressed technological innovation and tax reform. • Cheryl Bachelder, CFO of AFC Enterprises, parent company of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, spoke Nov. 3, 2011, as part of the College of Business Administration’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Kellie Fischer, CFO of the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, spoke Feb. 7 at a Women in Business luncheon and in an organizational behavior class taught by Dr. Darryl Jinkerson. • Randy Hunt, design director for the online marketplace, spoke Sept. 5, 2011, to ACU art and design students about putting their design talents to use in the business world. • Drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, a seven-time Grammy Award winner, performed and taught several music department master classes in November 2011. • Comedian Bob Smiley (’94), minister and speaker Reg Cox (’84) and former Newsboys singer Phil Joel visited campus Oct. 28, 2011, as part of the “Me Addiction” tour, speaking in Chapel and hosting an evening Chapel forum. • ACU’s Department of Sociology and Family Studies hosted a criminal justice lecture series in October and November 2011. Speakers included attorney David Pearson (’86), officials from the Texas Department of Corrections, a Houston gang task force, and the founders of an Austin crime scene decontamination company. The series continued in Spring 2012 with ballistic experts, police and fire professionals, and forensic psychologists.

750 Number of toys ACU students shared with local families during Christmas on the Streets in December 2011, through Love & Care Ministries. The event was part of the university’s annual Season of Caring, which ran from Nov. 14 to Dec. 14. Students, faculty and staff also provided Thanksgiving meals and organized a free Family Portrait Event for low-income families.

59 Victories in parliamentary debate this school year by seniors Jeff Craig and Jared Perkins, which made them the topwinning duo in the nation. They finished with a record of 59-10 and were named to the National Parliamentary Debate Association’s all-America team. Dylan Brugman, a sophomore, won the NPDA’s Dan Henning Novice Speaker Award, a national honor an ACU student has won three straight years. Perkins won the award in 2010.


Number of NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships won by ACU student-athletes. In the Lone Star state, only The University of Texas at Austin, Rice, SMU and Trinity have received.


Number of universities in the nation to receive “Best Colleges to Work For” designation from The Chronicle of Higher Education. ACU, Duke and USC are among them.


Number of years before ACU will need to undergo reaccreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. ACU recently passed its campuswide study with flying colors; only a small number of institutions are allowed the privilege of not being required to undergo additional monitoring during each decade between COCSACS reviews, and ACU is among them.

The “Me” Addiction

Bursting With Life



By Reg Cox (’84), Rick Brown (’82), Jer Villanueva (’86) and Dr. Glen Villanueva (’88) 978-1-44973-031-4 • 148 pages

By Robert Reid (’70) ISBN 978-1-45375-886-1 • 157 pages

A key to serving God more fully is overcoming a basic human condition: self-centeredness. Deflating our ego is the first step in learning to live a “revolutionary” life, as the authors explain.

Reid, who was a missionary in Portugal for more than 35 years, has amazed untold numbers of people with his testimony about overcoming challenges. This autobiography about his life with cerebral palsy is informative and inspiring. AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


Ac adem ic NEWS ACU’s new engineering program to launch in Fall 2012


Starting this fall, ACU will offer a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) degree through its newly renamed Department of Engineering and Physics. “We’re excited about how this new degree will help students who wish to pursue the study of engineering at ACU,” said president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). “Offering this degree also will help us

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attract even more high-quality students.” ACU has seen a steady increase in prospective students interested in engineering over the past five years, so the new degree positions the university to better serve them. The program is pending final approval by SACSCOC (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, ACU’s accrediting agency). It has been vetted by faculty members at ACU, and is the only B.S.E. degree offered at any university affiliated with the Churches of Christ. To develop the new degree, ACU relied, in part, on a 2010 feasibility study led by Dr. Robert Mitchell, former dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla. UM-Rolla is one of the nation’s top engineering schools. The B.S.E. is a broad, interdisciplinary

“The classrooms of today are very often spaces that are just about rhetorical questions: questions you ask because you already know the answers.” – DR. WILLIAM RANKIN

Rankin among international TEDx speakers at Dubai event Dr. William Rankin, director of educational innovation and associate professor of English, was a featured speaker Oct. 11, 2011, at TEDx Dubai. Held at the Dubai World Trade Center, the conference theme was “The Beauty of Small Things” and Rankin’s 13-minute presentation was titled “Building Small: Considering the Architectures of Learning.” TED’s “Ideas Worth Spreading”concept presents free lectures on technology, entertainment, design, business, science and global issues at annual and independently organized conferences around the world, as well as online at Rankin said that for too many years, teachers have had a too-small vision for what their students could be. “The classrooms of today are very often spaces that are just about rhetorical questions: questions you ask because you already know the answers,” he said. “I’m not sure those questions

are relevant in a world that’s changing so quickly.” Today, more people – 5 billion – have mobile phones than have toothbrushes, Rankin said, so educators must enlarge their vision for what mobile technology can do in a classroom where students are already globally connected by devices that fit in their pockets and transcend all boundaries. He talked about the success of the Red Thread Movement, started by two 17-year-old ACU students to help rescue girls from sex slavery in third-world nations. The connectivity of social media has helped create success for their outside-the-box idea. Rankin said educators must “build the architecture of creation and participation” for students, with a focus on providing as much access as possible. “Start small but dream big and build an architecture for things to happen for your students, as well, because they’re already connected to the world,” he said. 䊱

Students excel in academic competitions, win awards Recent English graduates Bethany Bradshaw (’11) and Tanner Hadfield (’11) took two of the top three prizes in the 2011 Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers’ student writing competition. Bradshaw won the poetry prize and Hadfield took the top fiction honor. And two English majors, junior Paige Wallner and senior Jordan Havens, won second and third place, respectively, in the Christianity and Literature Student Writing Contest’s nonfiction division. A team of ACU journalism students won second place for Best Overall Digital Media Plan at the Texas Public Relations Association’s Fall Digital Summit at the University of Texas-Dallas. Another team won an award for the best writing quality. In March, JMC students also won 12 first-place awards, among 45 overall, in Texas Intercollegiate Press Association competition, and 14 others (including seven


Winter 2012


degree allowing students to choose elective courses to fit their interests, and later, to specialize in a specific engineering field or pursue a particular graduate program. ACU already has agreements in place with graduate engineering schools such as Texas Tech University, which guarantees admittance to students who successfully complete ACU’s undergraduate program in engineering physics. The engineering program also will allow students to find research opportunities similar to those enjoyed by physics students. ACU’s physics program regularly sends undergraduates to top research labs around the country to work on experiments such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the PHENIX project at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Physics and engineering students also can assist their professors in research projects on campus. Current opportunities include collaborating with Dr. Tim Head in his Phonon Imaging Lab and with Dr. Josh Willis (’96) and his LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) research work. “Abilene Christian really is the world leader in involving undergrads in research,” said Dr. Rusty Towell (’90), professor and chair of the Department of Engineering and Physics. “You won’t find another institution where there is a history of involving undergrads in real, world-class research the way we do it at ACU.” The B.S.E. program is pursuing accreditation from ABET, Inc. (formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) beyond the accreditation already in place for the university through SACSCOC. The new accreditation, once secured, will apply retroactively to all B.S.E. graduates from ACU. Students interested in applying to the new B.S.E. program are encouraged to take as many high school and

for first place) in regional Society of Professional Journalists competition. Senior interior design majors Melanie Bartholomew and Haley Buffington won top honors at a regional competition hosted by the American Society of Interior Designers. Two of Bartholomew’s pieces and three of Buffington’s pieces took first- and second-place awards. Sophomores Courtney Martin and Karsten Goodman won the $1,500 grand prize in ACU’s inaugural Elevator Pitch Contest, a new feature of the College of Business Administration’s Springboard Challenge. Senior theatre major and aspiring playwright Brittany Taylor was a national finalist in the Ten-Minute Play Awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. She traveled to Washington, D.C., for an April 19 reading of “Jars,” her production chosen from more than 1,000 national entries.


Teacher education students impress professionals college-credit-level math courses as possible, up to and including pre-calculus and calculus. To learn more about engineering courses, faculty members and research opportunities for engineering students, visit 䊱

Rhodes named new provost Dr. Robert L. Rhodes, associate dean for students and programs in the College of Education at New Mexico State University, was named April 4 as ACU’s new provost. Rhodes, 44, will begin work July 1, and replaces Dr. Jeanine Varner, who stepped down to return full time to the classroom as professor of English. An 11-member ACU search committee recommended Rhodes, who is a Fellow of the American Council on Education, the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program. “He is a relational leader who possesses a unique ability to help unite the diverse parts of a university community around a common vision and mission,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). Rhodes earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oklahoma Christian University and a doctorate in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. He worked as a school psychologist in New Mexico before beginning his 17-year career at NMSU. Among his research and publications is a focus on intervention strategies for culturally and linguistically diverse students. See for a Q&A video featuring Rhodes with search committee chair Dr. Stephen Johnson (’90). 䊱

took 19 of their students and one Even before they stand in front of first-year teacher (a graduate of ACU’s their own classrooms, ACU teacher program) to the Literacy Research education students are making an Association National Research impression. Two different groups of Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., undergraduate students attended they received a similar response. professional conferences in 2011. “Researchers are stunned at the In December, five students helped level of conversation in which our lead a workshop session at the students can engage,” said Talley. Conference for Advancement of “I kept hearing people say, ‘These Science Teaching/Science Teachers are undergraduates?’” Association of Texas (CAST/STAT) At the LRA conference, annual conference in “Researchers are the ACU students Dallas. They presented stunned at the level of attended daily sessions, "out of the box" physical science experiments conversation in which our spoke with presenters and moderators, and met designed for grades K-6. students can engage. together each night to “This was the first I kept hearing people process what they had professional presentation say, ‘These are heard that day. of my college career,” undergraduates?’” Four students also said Jessica Varner, were invited to a 7:30 a.m. a junior from Abilene. – STEPHANIE TALLEY study group session on “We were thrown into this race and social justice. As they talked experience, but it was amazing.” with seasoned teachers and researchers, Olivia Noland, Melanie Catteau, the students were invited to study and Mariah Shultz and Kristi Damon reflect on issues of race in their student were the other presenters. teaching this spring, and present their “I enjoyed presenting to an engaged findings at next year’s LRA conference audience,” said Noland, a junior from in San Diego. Flower Mound. “It was encouraging for For five of the students, this teachers in the field to express interest was their second trip to the LRA in my presentation and explain how conference. “They coached their peers they would use my experiment in on everything from how to dress their classrooms.” professionally to which types of sessions Instructor Jenn Rogers (’03) to attend,” Talley said. “I was amazed at accompanied the students to the the returning students’ level of listening CAST/STAT conference. “Their and participation. The impact of their presentations were a huge success, and time at the conference will continue as many seasoned science teachers were impressed with their subject knowledge the students finish their coursework and begin their teaching careers. … and enthusiasm,” Rogers said. Their performance was astounding When three ACU teacher education to all involved.” faculty members – Dr. Sheila Delony, Learn more at 䊱 Dr. Jill Scott and Stephanie Talley ’93) –

Faculty members receive grants, awards Kitty (Hall ’77) Wasemiller, professor and program director of interior design, was named the American Society of Interior Designers’ Educator Medalist. Dr. Orneita Burton, assistant professor of information systems, was elected chair of the Management, Spirituality and Religion group of the Academy of Management. Dr. Kelly Elliott, assistant professor of history, spoke Oct. 20, 2011, at Baylor University’s Symposium on The Revival That Founded Baylor: Baptist Faith in Frontier Texas. Dr. Steven Ward (’92), director of bands and orchestra, conducted the orchestra at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts in Nashville.

Dr. Paul Piersall, professor of voice and chair of the Department of Music, directed the Classical Chorus of Abilene in June 5-14, 2011, concerts in Italy and Greece. Samuel Cook, associate professor of music, was the guest artist. Rick Piersall (’90), director of opera, sang the title role May 27, 2011, in the world premiere of Archimedes for the New York Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City, and performed the opera The Secret Agent at the National Theater in Szeged, Hungary, in October 2011. Dave Hogan, instructor of journalism, received the Alan Scott Rising Star Award from the Texas Public Relations Association for his leadership and outstanding contributions to the profession. ACU’s Master of Education in Educational Technology degree garnered national recognition from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


Campus NEWS

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KACU-FM celebrates its 25th anniversary as NPR gem


One of the research examples from the 2010-11 Mobile-Learning Report included a controlled study in which undergraduate psychology students at ACU exhibited significantly higher transfer learning scores compared to traditional textbook readers when using an iPad to prepare for an exam. The average student in the iPad reading group scored higher than 79 percent of those in the traditional textbook reading group. Research on e-textbooks done at Abilene Christian – using iPads – is making news around the world, and has attracted international experts from places as far away as Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs near Paris, France. Learn more at 62

Winter 2012


motley crew of broadcasters,” said Myra Dean, who began volunteering at KACU in 1989 and now serves as the station’s development director. The station has critics as well as fans, but ultimately, said John Best, director of broadcast operations, “it’s a coming-together for a lot of different types of people.” Dean agreed. “Public radio is all about connecting with the community,” she said. “That’s why we’ve started measuring new memberships in our annual membership drives, instead of money raised. It’s a very personal relationship.” KACU celebrated its 25th anniversary at a March 8 luncheon in the Abilene Civic Center that raised $100,000. Teague, now chancellor emeritus, was honored at the occasion for his visionary role while president in founding one of Abilene’s favorite radio habits. The Teague family also has contributed $25,000 toward a new endowment to benefit the station. Listen live or learn more about the station at 䊱

6.00 5.00 4.00 3.00 2.00 1.00 0

Text on iPad

E-textbooks help students earn higher test scores

Average Mean Score on Test for Transfer of Knowledge

piece. Station manager Dr. Larry Bradshaw (’65) and his three-member staff had spent months navigating the maze of paperwork required to secure a broadcasting license, fighting off a competitor’s bid for the airspace they wanted, and raising $300,000 to get the station off the ground. As the music played, they breathed a collective sigh of relief – and launched a conversation with West Texas that continues today. While it initially played a mix of mostly classical and jazz music, the station’s musical horizons have expanded in recent years. Operations manager D. Grant Smith (’05) and his “The Appetizer” program have begun promoting local live music gigs, showcasing folk, alternative and world music. “We’re trying to transition out of music that could be the soundtrack to Dillards,” Smith said. KACU’s listeners enjoy a smorgasbord of regular NPR programs, such as “Car Talk,” “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “All Things Considered,” as well as regular news updates from student and other volunteer broadcasters. “We’re attached to our

Text on Textbook

Garrison Keillor leads KACU-FM patrons and the cast, crew and volunteers of “A Prairie Home Companion” in singing hymns during a backstage dinner in Cullen Auditorium following the show’s Oct. 18, 2008, live performance and worldwide broadcast from Moody Coliseum.


Newcomers to Abilene are often surprised to learn there’s a National Public Radio-affiliated station in town. But thanks to a dedicated staff (both paid and volunteer), generous donors and local business supporters, KACU-FM has been a constant presence on Abilene’s airwaves for 25 years. Radio got its start at ACU in the late 1940s, when a couple of amateur radio hams, Ray Thompson (’51) and Dr. Maurice “Doc” Callan (’52), set up two different AM stations in the World War II-era barracks then serving as men’s dormitories. They eventually joined forces, first broadcasting out of the poultry lab in the agriculture department, and then working with speech faculty member Dr. Lowell Perry (’47) to build a carrier-current transmitter. KACC-AM went on the air Jan. 8, 1951, with studios in the basement of McKinzie Hall. Perry knew his journalism students would need radio broadcasting skills to succeed in their careers, but he also believed radio broadcasting could be an effective medium for mission work. Perry later died in a plane crash in Costa Rica while on a scouting trip for World Christian Broadcasting. Thanks in large part to Perry’s dedication, hundreds of ACU students – including future president Dr. William J. Teague (’52) – got their start in radio at ACU. As both ACU and Abilene continued to grow, KACC staff recognized the need for a larger station with a more robust signal and a greater variety of programming, some of it original. On June 2, 1986, KACU-FM signed onto the air for the first time, playing Handel’s “Water Music” as its inaugural

Christopher O'Riley (left), host of National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” introduces young musicians to the audience at Abilene’s First Baptist Church, where the show was recorded Nov. 16, 2010.

Transfer of learning: iPad versus tradiational textbook


ACU partners with McAllen ISD in landmark program When McAllen Independent School District needed advice on implementing a history-making mobile learning program, it turned to the acknowledged leader in the field: ACU. The South Texas school district is now deep into TLC 3, a bold plan to place mobile technology in the hands of everyone in its learning community – from kindergarteners to high school seniors to 2,000 teachers – more than 27,000 in all. Faculty and staff representing ACU Connected, the university’s award-winning mobile-learning initiative, helped MISD develop its strategy through on-site consultation with school leaders and their technology staff. The district and ACU also partnered March 20 to host the Transforming Learning Conference at the McAllen Convention Center, attracting 330 education and business leaders from around the state. More than 30 school districts serving 350,000 students were represented. Presenters included Dr. William

Freshman featured on “Everyday Health Heroes” TV series


To many college students, organ donation is a vague concept, simply another form to complete when applying for a driver’s license. For Ryan Flores, it’s the sacrificial act that saved his life. Ryan was born with one non-functioning kidney and one kidney with only 10 percent functionality. At 18 months old, he received a kidney donation from his father. Although he later battled lymphoma as a result of the medication involved in his treatments, Ryan made a full recovery, even playing high school baseball. His passion – much more than a hobby – is raising awareness about organ donation. This fall, Ryan partnered with ABC-TV to organize a 5K walk at ACU, calling it Donate Life and providing on-site computers and printers so participants could sign up for organ donation. Ryan was featured in a March 10 episode of the network’s new series, “Everyday Health,” which tells stories of ordinary people facing health issues who give back to their communities. His parents, Mike and Debbie Flores, have done similar work over the years. Soon after Ryan’s transplant, the Flores family founded the Children’s Kidney Foundation to help other families going through similar challenges. The foundation has sponsored numerous fundraisers and charity events, as well as assisting families with incidental expenses such as utility bills, baby-sitting costs and hospital parking passes. “A lot of college students don’t think organ donation is a big deal,” Flores said, “but it can truly change someone’s life.”䊱

Rankin, ACU director of educational innovation; Marco Torres, California Teacher of the Year; John Couch, Apple’s vice president of education; and Dr. James Ponce, MISD superintendent. “It was a pep rally for 21st-century learning that equips local teachers and administrators to make real change in the lives of students in an area of the world that is often overlooked and marginalized,” said George Saltsman (’90), ACU’s executive director of innovation in learning and educational technology. Ponce said the MISD initiative is about far more than the mobile devices. “It’s an expansion on the perspective of the teachers who have been part of the dialogue from the beginning,” he said. “As educators, we stand at the cusp of an extraordinary time, … a day when we are seeing phenomenal, cutting-edge opportunities to propel students to greater achievement.” Learn more about the conference at 䊱


Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and eLearning for the Tennessee Board of Regents, discusses new apps for the classroom.

New scholarship endowments • Dr. Everett and Peggy Blanton Endowed Scholarship • ACU Alumni Choral Society Endowed Scholarship • Robert and Sue Isham Endowed Scholarship • Lois Marie Reed Endowed Physics Scholarship • Carlton and Jayne Ash Endowed Scholarship For more information about contributing to or creating an endowed scholarship, call Barbara (Tubbs ’71) Hejl at 325-674-2600. New professors added to faculty for 2011-12 school year • Dr. Clifford Barbarick, assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry • Dr. Kilna Cha (’95 M.Div.), assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry • Dr. Suanna Davis (’84), assistant professor of English

• Dr. Matthew Garver, assistant professor of kinesiology • Dr. Jennifer Huddleston, assistant professor of biology • Dr. Jonathan Huddleston, assistant professor of Old Testament • Dr. Ryan Jessup (’97), assistant professor of management sciences • Dr. Suzanne Macaluso, assistant professor of sociology • Dr. Libby McCurley, assistant professor of kinesiology • Dr. Jill Scott, assistant professor of teacher education • Rachel Slaymaker, assistant professor of social work • Dr. Martha (Thomas ’70) Smallwood, assistant professor of kinesiology • Dr. Melinda Thompson, assistant professor of Old Testament • Dr. Steve Weathers (’86), assistant professor of English • Dr. John Weaver, dean and professor of library services and educational technologies AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


Wildcat SPORTS Collums and Goodenough named new Wildcat head coaches Ken Collums has called a lot of plays for the Wildcat football team the past seven years, but the next one will be in a capacity unfamiliar to him and ACU fans: head coach. After an impressive run of sustained excellence as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator, Collums was selected two days before Christmas 2011 as the 19th head football coach in ACU history after Chris omsen (M.Ed. ’00) resigned to become an

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assistant coach at Arizona State University. It only took director of athletics Jared Mosley (’00) one week to determine that the best man to lead the resurgent ACU football program was the same one who directed some of the most potent offenses in NCAA history over the last seven years. During that time, the Wildcats have ranked among the nation’s best in almost every offensive category. omsen, who also is Collums’ brother-in-law, left Arizona State in early February to become Tommy Tuberville’s offensive line coach at Texas Tech University. e two coached together at the University of Central Arkansas Ken Collums has been the architect of some of college football’s most prolific offenses at ACU.


Julie Goodenough

before joining the Wildcat staff in 2005. "I’ve been with Chris (omsen) from ground zero here,” Collums said. “e guy is my best friend in the world. I’ve never been around anyone in my life who I've been so like-minded and like-hearted with.” ACU has made the national playoffs six straight seasons, and become a proving ground for future National Football League players. Yet an important part of the football program has been guiding its players through life’s ups and downs, teaching them how to be better sons, brothers, husbands and fathers. “Everything that we’ve done here has been because of the people,” Collums said. “I wholeheartedly believe in what we do here and the product we put on the field each week. We win games and we take these young men and develop them and help them grow into men of impact who will positively influence their future families and, ultimately, society.” Julie Goodenough, head coach the past six years at NCAA Division I-member Charleston Southern University, was chosen by Mosley in early April to succeed Shawna Lavender as only the sixth head coach in ACU women’s basketball history. Goodenough built a NCAA Division III powerhouse at Hardin-Simmons University, coaching the Cowgirls to a 188-54 record in nine seasons, including four national tournament appearances. She was head coach three years at Oklahoma State University before moving to CSU, where she led her team to the semifinals of the 2011-12 Big South tournament. “Our team is going to learn to play to exhaustion every day in practice so the games won’t seem hard at all," she said. “We’re going to recruit and win with godly women who are seeking excellence. We’re going to win with integrity and we’re going to be a team that’s exciting to watch and plays extremely hard. I’m just ready to get going.”䊱

Wildcats shake up football coaching staff New head football coach Ken Collums wasted little time putting his own stamp on the football coaching staff, adding three new defensive coaches and re-assigning an offensive coach. Former defensive coordinator Jason Johns was not retained and was replaced by former Tarleton State defensive coordinator Darian Dulin. Also added to the defensive staff were former Eastern New Mexico University head coach Mark Ribaudo, who will coach linebackers and special teams; and David Rausch, a Hardin-Simmons University graduate who will coach the defensive line. Former offensive line coach Nathan Young (‘08) will coach running backs to give him more of a role in game planning and


Winter 2012


play calling, while former defensive line coach Sam Collins (‘09) will move over to coach the offensive line. Kelly Kent added to regional sports hall of fame Kelly Kent, the bruising fullback who helped lead ACU to its last national football championship, will be inducted May 7 to the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a three-year letterman for ACU who played a key role for the 11-1-1 Wildcat team that won the 1977 NAIA Division I national title in the Apple Bowl in Seattle, Wash. He was inducted to the 2003-04 class of ACU’s Sports Hall of Fame and was named to the Wildcats’ all-decade team of the 1970s. Kent died of a heart attack following his junior year at ACU.



Kelly Kent (left) and Greg Newman celebrate the 1977 Apple Bowl win.

Wildcats reach national playoffs for sixth straight season postseason, joining North Alabama, Northwest Missouri State and Albany State (Ga.) as the only four NCAA Division II universities to reach the national playoffs six consecutive years. Abilene Christian also played one of the highest-profile games of the year when the Wildcats took on North Alabama Sept. 17 in the Lone Star Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Although ACU dropped a 23-17 decision, the Wildcats battled for 60 minutes, fighting back from a 16-0 first-quarter deficit to make it a game late in the fourth quarter. ere was also a 28-18 home victory over West Texas A&M on Oct. 15, the first time the home team had won a regular-season game in that series since a 35-31 ACU win in Abilene in 2002. And there was an instant classic Nov. 5 at Texas A&M-Kingsville when the Wildcats overcame 228 rushing yards by Jonathan Woodson and a fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Javelinas, 42-34. Junior quarterback Mitchell Gale excelled in the win over the Javelinas, completing 30 of 42 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Gale followed his record-setting 2010 season with another stellar one: 3,823 yards and 28 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. He threw for the second-most yards (506) in a game in ACU history in the playoff loss at Washburn when he completed 29 of 48 passes, including four touchdowns. On the defensive side, senior end Aston Whiteside was the headline-grabber for the Wildcats. He finished with six sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and 40 tackles overall, despite facing constant double-teams each week. Whiteside was named to every 2011 NCAA Division II all-America football team. Fifteen NFL teams sent scouts to

Basketball season teams fall short of LSC Post-Season Tournament Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams lost bids to make the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Tournament in the last game of the regular season. The women’s team (12-14 overall and 7-13 in the LSC) put itself in contention by winning four of its last five conference games, but fell to Tarleton State in the season finale, 85-71. Despite missing several games with a shoulder injury, sophomore guard Mack Lankford led the LSC in scoring (21.5 points per game) and had four games in which she scored 30 or more points. She was named all-LSC and academic all-LSC for the second year, first team Daktronics all-region and third team all-America. Lankford is the first ACU women’s basketball guard named all-America since Anita Vigil (’92) in 1990-91.


e ACU Wildcats’ entire 2011 football season was summed up on the game-changing play of an NCAA Division II first-round playoff game at Washburn (Kan.) University. Having backed up the Ichabods to a third-and-23 from the ACU 39-yard line, the Wildcats were about to get the ball back with a little more than four minutes to play, down three points (45-42) and with momentum on their side. It was a huge turnaround from what had been a 24-point deficit early in the third quarter. Now, though, it appeared the Wildcats might be able to pull off the stunning upset and move on to the second round of the playoffs. At least that’s the way it seemed. But then Washburn quarterback Dane Simoneau hit Ronnell Garner for a 61-yard touchdown pass, the clinching play in an eventual 52-49 Ichabod win. at one play, inside that one game, was a perfect illustration of the 2011 Wildcats: really good, but not quite good enough. “We had our chances,” former ACU head coach Chris omsen (M.Ed ’00) said after the game. “We had a chance to get the ball back and go score. We had all the momentum at that time and felt good about getting out of there with a win. But we didn’t make a play when we needed it, and that was the ballgame.” After being picked to win the Lone Star Conference championship in 2011, the Wildcats finished 8-2 in the regular season and 7-1 in the league en route to second place behind LSC champion Midwestern State. e Mustangs took the title from ACU in mid-October when they throttled the Wildcats, 70-28, in the worst loss of omsen’s tenure. But for the most part, there were a lot of positives from the 2011 season. e Wildcats once again reached the

Aston Whiteside was arguably the most dominant defensive lineman in Lone Star Conference history.

campus for ACU’s Pro Day on April 3, an indication of the high regard in which NFL teams hold the Wildcat football program. Last year, 17 teams sent scouts, and teams later signed three ACU players to contracts, including fourth-round Miami Dolphins draft choice Clyde Gates. is year, running back Daryl Richardson was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams, and Whiteside signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Offensive lineman Neal Tivis was invited to a May tryout camp with the Cowboys, as was tight end Ben Gibbs with the Washington Redskins. ACU will have another opportunity to play in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Sept. 15, when new head coach Ken Collums’ team tangles with Tarleton State in the second annual Lone Star Football Festival. 䊱

Head men’s basketball coach Joseph Golding (’99) – who was hired just a month before the 2011-12 school year after Grant McCasland vacated his ACU job after only four months for an assistant coach position at Baylor University – saw his first ACU team finish 12-16 overall and 4-14 in the tough LSC. The league had two teams make the NCAA regional semifinal and one, Midwestern State (29-4 overall), advance to the national Elite Eight for the third straight year. A 2-9 road record helped doom the Wildcats, who have not made the LSC tournament since the 2007-08 season. However, they lost several close games, including a one-point heartbreaker that would have upset Midwestern State on Jan. 31 in Moody Coliseum. Senior guard Zach Williams was a bright spot for the Wildcats, averaging 11.9 points per game and being selected honorable mention all-LSC team. AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


Sports ROUNDUP Vo lleyb all • The Wildcats finished 2011 with an overall record of 21-14, posted a 14-6 record against the Lone Star Conference, and qualified for the NCAA Division II South Central Regional as the No. 8 seed. Top-seeded Central Missouri eliminated ACU in the first round with a 3-2 win. • Senior Jennie Hutt was one of just six players voted onto the Capital One Academic All-America Division II first team. Hutt’s on-court performances throughout 2011 resulted in her earning two Lone Star Conference Player of the Week awards, spots on the Daktronics and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) all-region first teams, and honorable mention all-America. • Senior Kelsie Edwards wrapped up her career as ACU’s all-time record-holder with 1,934 digs, and the single-season record for most digs (696). The 2011 team co-captain was honorable mention all-LSC and second team CoSIDA Academic all-District VI. • Sara Oxford was named AVCA’s South Central Region Freshman of the Year. Oxford, a middle blocker, had the LSC’s 10th-best hitting percentage of .274, averaged 2.89 kills per match and blocked 90 shots.

Sara Oxford

B a se b a ll • ACU was selected to finish fourth in the eight-team Lone Star Conference in its preseason poll of head coaches and made the LSC post-season tournament with a 24-26 overall and 11-17 league record. The Wildcats won seven in a row at one point in the season. • Head coach Britt Bonneau recruited 26 newcomers onto this year’s team, his 16th at ACU. Junior transfer second baseman Chuck Duarte (.379 average and 37 RBI) and senior infielder Duncan Blades (.333 average and 31 RBI) have been the team’s top hitters thus far. Freshman outfielder and first baseman Tyler Eager of Fort Worth Christian outfielder has been solid (.321 average, 31 RBI and team-leading 50 runs scored). • Junior transfer Clint Cooper (7-3 record), senior Aaron Lambrix (4.27 ERA) and sophomore Brady Rodriguez (3-1, 4.89 ERA) have been Bonneau’s top pitchers.


G o lf • Abilene Christian spent the entire 2011 fall season ranked as the nation’s No. 1 team. • The Wildcats are one of four teams to qualify for the NCAA Division II South Central / Midwest Region tournament May 7-9 in Jefferson City, Mo. • Junior Alex Carpenter was invited to play Nov. 21-22 in the prestigious Western Refining College all-America Golf Classic in El Paso. Carpenter is the first Wildcat golfer to be selected for the tournament, and was the only NCAA Division II player in the field for the 54-hole event. JEREMY ENLOW

S occer • The Wildcats finished 2011 with a record of 20-2-1, won the LSC regular-season championship, and advanced to quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II Championship, where they were eliminated by Chico State (Calif.), 1-0. • ACU is expected to return 19 letterwinners from last year’s club, including eight starters, led by two-time all-America forward Andrea Carpenter. • Sophomore defender Brie Buschman was honored with a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America third team, and was one of four Wildcats named to the LSC’s all-academic team along with Carpenter, Julie Coppedge and Krysta Grimm. • The National Soccer Coaches Association of America honored ACU’s Casey Wilson (’99) as the South Central Region’s Coach of the Year.

Hans Hach


C ro ss Co unt ry • Juniors Alyse Goldsmith and Chloe Susset represented ACU at the NCAA Division II championships in Spokane, Wash. Susset completed the 6K course in 22:55, while Goldsmith finished in 23:49.8. • The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association selected Susset as the South Central Region’s Division II Women’s Athlete of the Year. Susset won the individual regional title with a 6K time of 21:50.70. • Susset, Goldsmith, freshman Fabian Wessel-Terharn and sophomore Spenser Lynn were named to the all-LSC team after placing among the top 15 at the conference championships in San Angelo. Susset and Goldsmith finished second and third, respectively, leading the Wildcats to fourth place overall. The men’s team placed second. • Sophomore Erik Forrister was voted LSC Men’s Academic Runner of the Year. Gary Duncan joined Forrister on the men’s LSC all-academic team.

Track and F ield • Abilene Christian’s men’s and women’s teams both entered the 2012 season ranked among the top 25 in the nation, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association. • Senior Nick Jones won the shot put at the 2012 NCAA Division II indoor nationals in Mankato, Minn., with a throw of 17.98 meters. Junior Amanda Ouedraogo won the women’s triple jump (12.84 meters). • Jones (see pages 6-7) is the remaining link to the Wildcats’ 2011 indoor national championship team, which finished with 49 points despite only qualifying four student-athletes. Jones later helped ACU to a national outdoor team title with an individual title in the discus and second-place finish in the shot put. In recognition of his stellar efforts, the USTFCCCA named him the NCAA Division II National Field Athlete of the Year. He won the shot put and discus at the UTEP


Winter 2012


Invitational, the latter with a 203-3 effort good for third on ACU’s all-time performance list. • Middle distance runner Banjo Jaiyesimi, junior college transfers Shenae Steele and Ayesha Rumble, and high school standouts Emily Hill and Karolyn have been among the Wildcats’ top newcomers.

Brie Buschman

M e n’s a nd Wo me n’s Te nnis • Each of the Wildcat tennis teams began the 2012 spring season ranked No. 1 in the region and No. 6 in the nation. The women’s team finished the regular season 21-3 and the men were 17-8 entering the LSC tournament, which both won. They also captured their respective regionals and qualified for the national tournament, starting May 16. • Sophomore Hans Hach and junior Julia Mongin won 2011 ITA/USTA South Central Region Singles Championships in Fall 2011, which qualified them for the National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala. Hach was the sixth-ranked men’s singles player in NCAA Division II, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, while Mongin ranked third among women. Hach’s season record in singles this spring was 22-4. • The team of Micah Hermsdorf and Hannah Kelley won the region’s doubles championship in the fall, and went on to place fourth at the National Small College Championships.

S o ftb a ll • ACU was selected to finish sixth in the 10-team LSC in its preseason poll of head coaches, but the Wildcats started the season 14-3 and by mid-April were the No. 4-ranked team in the region. They were 29-16 overall and 15-11 in the LSC when selected to the four-team South Central Region tournament. ACU’s last appearance there was in 2009. • Junior college transfers Kimberley Briggs, Keanna Winkfield and Sara Vaughn were among ACU’s top newcomers. Winkfield has been ACU’s top hitter with a .384 average. Briggs (.300 average and 37 RBI) and sophomore Lyndi Smith (.342 average) were tied for the team lead with seven home runs each. Courtney Flannery was hitting .345 and Vaughn had a .311 batting average. • Returnees Shelby Hall and Peyton Mosley, and Odessa College transfer Caitlyn Crain have anchored the ACU pitching rotation. Crain had a 13-6 record and Mosley an 11-8 mark. • Crain began the season with a 5-0 record and 1.62 ERA, earning the Louisville Slugger Division II National Pitcher of the Week award in late February. 䊱


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Winter 2012


EX PERIENCES Submit your news online at or use the EXperiences card in each issue of the magazine. Deadlines: ACU Today is published three times a year. Because of printing deadlines, your news could be delayed by one issue. Births and adoptions: Please indicate whether the addition to your family is a boy or girl. Marriages: Remember to indicate the date and place of your marriage. In Memoriam: A member of the deceased’s immediate family should submit this notification. Please include class year for all ACU exes in the family.

1951 Clovis and Jo Meixner celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Dec. 19, 2011. 6077 Westmoor Drive, Shelby Township, MI 48316.

1956 Bill Fletcher’s book, The Essence of Romans, was published by LegacyONE. His wife,

Vonda (Smith), had several poems featured in the anthology Tough Times Don’t Last; Tough Women Do. They have four children and 10 grandchildren. 15802 119th Avenue, Bothell, WA 98011. Gary Swaim is the 2011 Texas Senior Poet Laureate. He also won the 2011 Morris Memorial Chapbook Competition with his poetry collection, Lighted Matches. His play, “Morphine,” will be performed in Plano in March 2012. 109 Hapsburg Court, Irving, TX 75062.

The class years ending in “7” or “2” will celebrate reunions at Homecoming 2012.

1957 Jackie Woolley has self-published a new book, Sex, Lies & Stories: Memoir of a Frustrated Writer. 107 Aster Circle, Georgetown, TX 78633.

It’s common each December to find ACU graduates on the coaching staffs of Texas high school state championship-winning football teams. This fall was no exception. The Panthers of Abilene Christian High School head coach Mark Coley (’75) took the TAPPS Division 1 Six-Man title, Kade Burns (’00) and the Punchers of Mason High School won the Class 1A Division 1 title, and Hal Wasson (’80) directed Southlake Carroll to its eighth Class 5A Division 1 state crown when the Dragons won, tying a Texas record for the most ever by one school’s football team. Tim Buchanan, who was a freshman ACU linebacker in 1980, was head coach of the Aledo Bearcats, winners of the Class 3A Division I crown. JOY LEWIS / ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS

Hal Wasson

Kade Burns





Mark Coley


Winter 2012




With this issue, we congratulate June Presley, who recently retired after serving 27 years in ACU’s Advancement Services Office. She also was the trusted, longtime records-management professional who prepared alumni news submitted by readers for this EXperiences section in each issue. June moved from Cross Plains in 1925 so her mother and uncle could enroll at Abilene Christian, and she spent much of her early life around ACU’s first campus on North First Street.

In September 2011, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s appointment of Judge Robert Pitman (’85) of Austin as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas. Texas governor Rick Perry named Jeff Boyd (’83) as his chief legal counsel, and Rob Kyker (’72) to the Texas Juvenile Justice Board. Boyd was most recently a senior partner at ompson & Knight in Austin. Kyker is a nationally known volunteer leader in the Boys Scouts of America. Elise (Smith ’83) Mitchell was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association for Female Executives, and one of 11 to win a 2011 Women of Excellence Award from NAFE. She also was named to the advisory board for Enterprising Women magazine.


Herberto “Berto” Guerra Jr., an ACU trustee who is chairman and CEO of Avanzar Interior Technologies, was named by mayor Julian Castro as the next board chair of the San Antonio Water System. Guerra was profiled in the November 2011 issue of InsideSA magazine. Country singer-songwriter Aaron Watson (’00) performed as a special guest on stage Nov. 13, 2011, wth one of his


e new senior chaplain on board the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan – one of the Navy’s newest aircraft carriers – is Cmdr. Darrell Wesley (’88). He also has a master’s in biblical and related studies from ACU, along with a master’s in philosophy from the University of Tennessee, a master’s in sacred theology from Yale University, a D.Min. from United eological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.

M.Sgt. Erika Stevens (’87), a 1987 Sing Song hostess, sang on a bigger stage Oct. 23, 2011, when she performed “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch of Game Four of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals. Another former ACU student, Grammy Award-winning country star Ronnie Dunn, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Game Three.


musical heroes, Willie Nelson, in a concert in San Angelo. Dr. Todd Stephens (’81) is the new superintendent of Magnolia ISD. He previously served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Austin architect Donavan Davis (’79 A.A.) was chosen by producers of ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to design a new house for a family who lost theirs in the epic wildfires that torched more than 1,300 residences in Bastrop County in September 2011. The show will air in December 2012.

to partner-in-charge of tax and strategic business services. Karen (Sublett ’86) Mitchell, clerk of the court for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, received the 2011 Federal Employee of the Year award from the Dallas-Fort Worth Federal Executive Board. About 40,000 federal branch employees work in the DFWFEB region, which spans 16 counties. e new executive pastor over global ministries at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, is Allen Shoulders (’79). He retired in June 2011 as partner and director of tax internal control services for Ernst & Young LLP.

After 30 years of service, Pepperdine University religion professor Dr. Jerry Rushford (’69) has retired as director of that university’s church relations and annual Bible Lectures. Mike Cope, ACU adjunct instructor of Bible, missions and ministry, has been named his successor. Rushford’s new role will be director of Pepperdine’s Churches of Christ Heritage Center.

Zane Williams (’99) is one of several Lone Star State singer-songwriters featured on “Troubabor, TX,” a 22-episode series that debuted in September 2011 on e CW network.

Lara Seibert (’06) was chosen one of five female co-stars of Hugh Jackman’s “Back on Broadway” show at the Broadhurst eatre in New York City.

Dr. omas L. “Tom” ompson (’85) is the new chair of the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech University.

Jody Allred (’98) was appointed to the Information Technology Executive Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Acountants. Allred is advisory services partner for Weaver, the largest accounting firm in the Southwest. Weaver also promoted James Flatt (’91)

e new executive board secretary for the International Association for Food Protection is Dr. Donald L. Zink (’73). He is senior science advisor for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Abilenian Larry Sanders (’76), who has been a sponsor for 40 years of ACU men’s social club Frater Sodalis, is the new director of development for Herald of Truth ministries.


Winter 2012



Jackson Guy Reedy, son of Jeremy (’04) and Cari “M’chelle” (Leavell ’04) Reedy of Abilene, Texas.

The Alumni Association will send a FREE Wildcat BabyWear T-shirt to the alumni parents of each newborn or adopted infant in your family! Complete the EXperiences news card and mail it to us, or complete the info online at In-focus, high-resolution digital images (minimum file size of 500kb; use your camera’s highest quality setting) of alumni children wearing their Wildcat BabyWear should be emailed to All will appear on the alumni website at and the best will be printed in EXperiences. Call 800-373-4220 for more information.

Willie the Wildcat holds Diana Izumi Garcia, daughter of Jorge Daniel Garcia (’04) and Yukari (Sekine ’07) Garcia of Abilene, Texas.

Daniel Seth Hill, son of Stephen James Hill (’00) and Joscelyn Christina (Prukop ’01) Hill of Tanzania, East Africa.

Julia Grace Larson, daughter of Matt and Melanie (Knox ’04) Larson of Cheyenne, Wyo.

Micah Harrison Cooper, son of Casey (’02) and Kristen (Trout ’03) Cooper of Amarillo, Texas.

Leila Michelle Evans, daughter of Brian and Krista (Wilson ’06) Evans of Arlington, Texas.

Donovan Lazcano, son of Ben (’05) and Gena (Robinson ’04) Lazcano of Maypearl, Texas.

Ava Montinne Staley, daughter of Greg (’92) and Hainey Price-Staley (’92) of Washington, D.C.

Lee David Swiger, son of Brett and Jessica (Free ’02) Swiger of Aviano, Italy.

Asher Garrett, son of Grant (’99) and Kendra Garrett of Roanoke, Texas.

Luke Alan Wallace, son of Joseph (’08) and Kristin (Gillis ’08) Wallace of Orrington, Me.

Chloe Renee Whiteley, daughter of Chris (’07) and Bre Whiteley of Fort Worth, Texas.

Carter Wilson Bell, son of Josh (’05) and Missy (Lusk ’05) Bell of Fort Worth, Texas.

Caroline Emilee Day, daughter of Kenny (’86) and Beth (Snow ’96) Day of Lubbock, Texas.

Rhett David Wilson, son of David (’03) and Ashley (Read ’02) Wilson of Dallas, Texas.

Laurel Fike, daughter of Jeremy (’05) and Adrienne (Forsythe ’05) Fike of Temple, Texas.

Jordan Kaylene Grimsley, daughter of Justin and Julie (Thigpen ’99) Grimsley of Benbrook, Texas.

Mykal Rae Hildmann, daughter of Kyle (’05) and Catherine (Peterson ’05) Hildmann of Buffalo Gap, Texas.

Hailey Nicole Gilly, daughter of Michael David Gilly Jr. (’05) and Autumn Marie (Ware ’06) Gilly of San Antonio, Texas.

Issac Milo Lerzundi, son of Emilio Lerzundi (’01 M.S.) and Rebecca (Davis ’04) Lerzundi of Arlington, Texas.


Winter 2012


1962 Dr. Joe Cash retired July 31, 2010, after teaching for 48 years, 38 of them at McNeese State University. He was named professor emeritus at retirement. 1030 Pujo Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601.


1968 MARRIED Curtis Absher and Kaye Parkhurst Beaver, May 25, 2002. 1001 Overbrook Drive, Nicholasville, KY 40356.

1971 Bruce Kilmer is the regional court administrator for the Michigan Supreme Court and the mayor of Mount Pleasant, Mich. 415 N. University Avenue, Mount Pleasant, MI 48858. Dean Huff is a senior software engineer at Ricoh in Boulder, Colo.

1974 Cindy (Sweeney) Brenner retired in May 2011 from the Amarillo ISD, after teaching for 37 years. 7811 Legend Avenue, Amarillo, TX 79121.

1975 Jim Rutland’s store, Rutland’s Fashion & Western Wear, celebrated its 45th anniversary in April 2011. 1 Chevy Way, Lampasas, TX 76550.



Thank you. Two words, but they speak volumes. In my first few months in this role, I have seen first-hand the passion and commitment of our amazing alumni. You return to campus with your family and friends throughout the year, forming and renewing relationships, interacting with students and blessing us at Homecoming, Sing Song, Parents’ Weekend, Preview days, Board and committee meetings, theatre productions, and sporting events. When you come back, we notice, and it encourages everyone. But your presence is not limited to the Hill; you take ACU with you around the world. You open your homes for Purple and White parties, connecting alumni and showcasing ACU for future students. You volunteer at high school College Night programs, introducing young people to our exceptional university. You attend networking luncheons or Wildcat caravan events to strengthen relationships and learn the latest about our students and programs. In September, when the Wildcats played in the Lone Star Football Festival in Cowboys Stadium, ACU’s crowd was phenomenal – the best of the six universities participating that day. The pre-game party and game showed the incredibly strong support our ACU family provides. To have passionate and committed alumni furthering the mission and Vision of Abilene Christian makes our alma mater stronger, develops leaders to advance the Kingdom and helps change people’s lives. You are generous, giving of your means to stretch our budget and provide scholarships for deserving students, “paying it forward” as others once did for you. And you pray for us. Our students, especially, are wowed by your prayerful interest in their spiritual well-being. Your make a difference each day in the life of our university. Thank you – in advance – for the extraordinarily gracious things you will do this year, as well. We hope to see you at Homecoming to remember, renew and celebrate the special place this is to each of us.䊱

Carla (Park) Docken is the coordinator of counseling, guidance and student services for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD. She was formerly the lead counselor at L.D. Bell High School. 5501 Timber Ridge Court, Fort Worth, TX 76137. Hunter Haltom is the deputy commander at Regional Support Command Capital at Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan. 711 Putter Court, College Station, TX 77845.

1991 Troy Stirman is the senior manager of employee relations at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. 7905 Lonesome Spur Trail, McKinney, TX 75070.

1992 BORN To Don and Tianay (Chambers) Carroll, a girl, Brooklyn Kennedy, Jan. 12, 2011. 924 Hidden Hollow Court, Coppell, TX 75019.

1993 BORN To Jonathan and Shana (Hadley) Walker, a boy, Thomas James Shultz, Jan. 18, 2011. 11037 County Road 1236, Cleburne, TX 76033.




Michelle (Batson) Croner has published her third book, Where Am I Going: Moving from Religious Tourist to Spiritual Explorer. 3015 N. Florence Street, El Paso, TX 79902.

To Rogelio and Melissa (Curry) Ramon, a boy, Mateo, Dec. 17, 2009. 9946 Knoll Trace Way, Frisco, TX 75035.

1984 Brenda (McMahan) Foster received a grant from Texas Woman’s University to train for a first-grade reading recovery program. 404 Old York Road, Irving, TX 75063.

1985 Kim (Bush) Baldwin earned her Psy.D. degree from Wheaton College in August 2011. She is an assistant professor of psychology and counseling at Lincoln Christian University. Elizabeth (Looper) Dalton is an assistant professor of education at the University of North Texas. 4207 Oriole Court, Granbury, TX 76049. Alisha (Goldman) Ilufi earned her M.Ed. from Lamar University in December 2010 and also is certified as a Good Behavior Game Coach. She works with the Harris County Department of Education. 27110 Azalea Court, Magnolia, TX 77354.

1986 Curtis Powell was named Teacher of the Year at L.C. Anderson High School. He also received a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship to study at Clare College, Cambridge. 8205 Easter Cove, Austin, TX 78757.

BORN To Kenny and Beth (Snow ’96) Day, a girl, Caroline Emilee, March 23, 2011. 4713 109th Place, Lubbock, TX 79424.

1987 ADOPTED By Robert and Nancy (Oglin ’88) Swindell, a boy, Travis John (8), in April 2011.

1988 W. David Van Eaton earned his doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in December 2010. 6555 Joyful Drive, Hixson, TN 37343.

1996 BORN To Kenny (’86) and Beth (Snow) Day, a girl, Caroline Emilee, March 23, 2011. 4713 109th Place, Lubbock, TX 79424. To Frank and Lacey (Johnson) Leonardi, a girl, Gabriella Anne, Jan. 13, 2010. 2115 James Street, Syracuse, NY 13206. To Brandon (’97) and Jana (Keyes) Young, a girl, Larkin Keyes, April 26, 2011. 2001 Lincoln Drive, Abilene, TX 79601. To Stacey Chosed and Jeana Fulenwider, a boy, Aaron Hampton, June 21, 2011. Jeana also earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and opened a clinic, Lone Star Physical Therapy, P.C., in Dallas. 6560 Kenwood Avenue, Dallas, TX 75214.

1997 BORN To Daniel and Janet (Sarver) Lim, a boy, Henry Oliver, March 4, 2011. 266 W. 115th Street, Apt. 2B, New York, NY 10026. To Michael and Karon (McMillan) Montgomery, a boy, Grady, Jan. 30, 2011. P.O. Box 84, Platteville, CO 80651.

ADOPTED By Caleb and Rachel (Dawes) Sawyer, a girl, Sarah Jane Riley, Aug. 21, 2011. 1440 Lakewood Court, Bolivar, MO 65613.

1998 BORN To Shane and Abbie Melton, a boy, Porter Louis, May 24, 2011. 7516 Chattington Drive, Dallas, TX 75248. To Josh and Amy Jackson, a girl, Emilie Kathleen, June 20, 2011. 7020 Church Park Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76133. To Cody and Robyn (Scarbrough ’99) Thompson, a girl, Kinsley Danee, Oct. 20, 2010. 1717 Whispering Glen Drive, Allen, TX 75002. To Aaron and Jenna (Crabtree) Smith, a girl,


C.J. Shockley and Mary Jo Bayless, July 10, 2008, in Lake Charles, La. P.O. Box 1603, Florence, AZ 85132.

Steve Stegall is a senior vice president at Gallagher Bassett, where he has worked for 20 years. 2520 Sir Turquin Lane, Lewisville, TX 75056.

– CRAIG FISHER (’92) Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Projects AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012



DALLAS AREA Doug Fair • URM 214-208-9625, Craig Rideout • AC 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Ben Gonzalez • AC – Collin, Denton, Wise and Parker Counties 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Kayla Stringer • AO 325-674-4972, Don Garrett • AO 325-674-2213,

FORT WORTH AREA Brent Barrow • URM 817-946-5917, David Dietrich • AC – Tarrant, Johnson and Hood Counties 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Lance Rieder • AO 325-674-6080,

HOUSTON AREA Carri Hill • URM 713-582-2123 • Lauryn Lewis • AC 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Eric Fridge • AO 713-483-4004,

AUSTIN AREA Tunisia Singleton • URM – Austin / Central Texas 512-450-4329 • Robert McCall • AC – Austin, Central Texas 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228

SAN ANTONIO AREA LaDonna Wilson • URM – San Antonio, South Texas 210-410-9014 • John Mark Moudy • AC – San Antonio, South Texas 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Josh Clem • AO – San Antonio, South Texas 210-573-2475,

WEST TEXAS AREA Kat Burns, Associate Director of Admissions 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228 Mark Rogers • AO 325-674-2669,


Winter 2012


Austin may be 220 miles from Abilene. But for Tunisia (Sekhon ’81) Singleton, university relations manager for ACU in Austin, both places feel like home. “We are an Abilene Christian family,” Singleton says. “My husband Scott (’80) and I met at ACU, and we began taking our children back to campus when they were young.” She speaks highly of “the effect ACU has had in my life and my children’s lives.” Her daughter, Rebekah, is a junior political science major, while her sons, Justin (’07) and Mason (’09) are graduates. During her time as director of admissions at a private Christian school, Singleton talked with families seeking the best college for their students – and helped her own children decide where to spend their college years. In 2007, she began serving on the university’s Alumni Advisory Board, sharing ideas with ACU’s admissions team for promoting the university in Austin. Since 2008, she has spent her days acting on those ideas, and reaching out to area alumni, prospective students, parents and friends. Each fall, when many students are making their college decisions, Singleton and admissions counselor Robert McCall (’08) visit area high schools, meet with guidance counselors and represent ACU at college fairs. roughout the year, Singleton plans and host events from networking lunches to dinners honoring area ministers. “I’m constantly looking for ways to help ACU students and graduates connect with potential employers,” Singleton adds. She maintains several Facebook and LinkedIn pages to keep Wildcat alumni and friends informed about Austin-area activities. Whether she’s greeting prospective students at a college fair, recruiting alumni to host Purple & White parties or bringing together Austin-area physicians and students who are considering a pre-med major, Singleton’s work is all about building relationships. “Being a ‘connector’ is a great way to describe what I do,” she says. “We connect alumni with one another for fellowship and networking at our ACU in Austin On the Move alumni and friends gatherings. We connect outstanding alumni who are successful in building their businesses with LINDSEY COTTON

Do you want to recommend a prospective student, volunteer, host an event or just learn more about how you can be involved with ACU where you live? To help foster relationships with alumni and future students, ACU has assigned personnel from its Advancement and Admissions offices to major markets in Texas. A university relations manager (URM) focuses on establishing relationships with churches and schools, an admissions counselor (AC) reaches out to future students and their parents, and an advancement officer (AO) assists prospective donors who can contribute funds to ACU. Through this territory team approach, these dedicated professionals can provide exceptional service to those who contribute so graciously to ACU’s mission and 21st-Century Vision.

Tunisia Singleton enjoys being Austin’s ‘connector’ for ACU

impressive students and graduates for internships and jobs.” And she is always glad to hear from alumni and other friends of the university who want to volunteer, host events or share their ideas. For up-to-date information on Abilene Christian events in Austin, visit 䊱 – KATIE NOAH GIBSON

DALLAS AREA • Fifty future students and their parents attended a Purple and White Party hosted by Scott (’86) and Chantal (Henry ’88) Johnson in November 2011 at their home in Rowlett. • Basil (’85) and Rachel (84) McClure hosted a Purple and White Party in their Denison home in December 2011, along with co-hosts Don (’62) and trustee Kay (Coleman ’62) Skelton. More than 50 prospective students and parents attended from the DenisonSherman area, and as as a result of this event, many made their first visit to ACU during 2012 Sing Song. • Trustee Jim Orr (’86) hosted a lunch for coaches and athletics directors from McKinney ISD, which was attended by ACU athletics director Jared Mosley (’91) and broadcaster Grant Boone (’91). Several student-athletes from the three high schools in McKinney are committed to attending ACU in Fall 2012. • Greg (’98) and Alison (Whelan ’99) Pirtle, Audrey (Pope ’85) Stevens (president of the Alumni Association), and Cody Thompson (’98) helped host Spirit Night at the Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Allen. More than 100 Collin County students and parents attended, and met with admissions counselor Ben Gonzalez (’09). • Audrey (Pope ’85) and Dave (’80) Stevens, Richard and Cindy Beasley, and Mike (’86) and Kristal (Koehn ’87) Willoughby of McDermott Road Church of Christ in Plano have made multiple trips to campus with prospective students and their parents. Because of their efforts, a large group of high school students from their congregation has enrolled at ACU. Kristal also serves as an effective volunteer recruiter of future students at Legacy Christian Academy, where she works. • The ninth annual Rachel Blasingame Memorial Golf Tournament was scheduled May 14, 2012, at Buffalo Creek Golf Club in Rockwall, benefitting scholarships for ACU students. Guy (’79) and Julie (Grasham ’80) Blasingame’s daughter, Rachel, who died in a car accident in 2003, would have been an ACU student. The entire extended Blasingame family – 19 of the 25 have been students or graduates of Abilene Christian – are generous ambassadors for the university.

FORT WORTH AREA • ACU partnered with Park Row Church of Christ, Lance Parrish of Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ and 12 other congregations in June 2011 for Arlington Work Camp, where admissions counselor David Dietrich spoke to more than 260 local high school students about Abilene Christian.

• ACU director of ministry events Dr. Brady Bryce (’95) promoted 2012 Summit while helping host lunch for seven area ministers, including Rick Atchley (’78) of The Hills Church of Christ and Marcus Brecheen (’84) of Gateway Church. • Admissions counselor David Dietrich hosted a bowling night in July 2011 for 68 high school students from The Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills. • ACU hosted a pre-game party at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington in September 2011 for more than 700 alumni, students and friends prior to the Wildcats’ football game with the University of North Alabama in the Lone Star Football Festival. The next day, the university’s Experience ACU event for future students and their parents – also at Cowboys Stadium – attracted 650 guests. Afterward, students boarded buses to head to Abilene for an ACU Bound campus visit. • In October 2011, Body & Soul director Terri Aldriedge and Leslie Hayes of the Honors College toured several area schools, including Grace Prep and Southwest Christian. They also made presentations at The Birdville Center for Technology and Advanced Learners, which provides instruction for all six high schools in the Birdville and Keller ISDs. • Bob (’75) and trustee Belinda (Halbert ’75) Harmon, and Andrew (’09) and Abigail (Goldsmith ’09) Harmon attended an event in January 2012 at the Fort Worth Stock Show with many other area alumni. Door prizes included ACU T-shirts, one of which Kevin Walters (’86) planned to wear while running in the February 2012 Cowtown Marathon. • Alumni and other local volunteers helped staff 29 College Night programs by the end of February 2012. Jayne (Montgomery ’83) Orr traveled the longest distance – to Vernon, Texas – to help at an event where more than 100 students expressed an interest in ACU.

SAN ANTONIO AREA • More than 60 people attended a Freshman Send-Off Party in August 2011 hosted by trustee Alan Rich ('86) and his wife, Janice (Harris ’88), trustee Steve Mack (’82) and his wife, Sandy (Brown ’82), and Chris (’87) and Mary Beth (deSteiguer ’88) Cuevas. Giveaways included a dorm fridge and microwave as well as the hosts presenting each student with a gas card as a gift. Preston Woolfolk (’10), Sylvia (Tucker ’10) Mack and Ryan Mack (’10) also spoke. • More than 200 people attended the ACU in San Antonio recruiting event in October 2011 at the Oak Hills Church North Central campus. Ross and Valinda (McAlister ’81) Bacon, Herb and Jennifer (England ’85) Allen, Preston Woolfolk (’10), Mark (’83) and Ellen (Gilliam ’83) Abshier and Cecil Eager (’71) provided refreshments. Ministers Rich Ronald and Ben Davis graciously opened their building to ACU for the event. • ACU won the Boerne Elementary School PTO fundraising event, thanks to trustee Alan Rich (’86) and others. They rallied to beat Baylor, Texas A&M and The University of Texas at Austin. ACU will be highlighted at the school all year with fun facts, the Wildcat fight song and an ACU flag.

• Monthly Wildcat Wednesday luncheons have featured alumni speakers such as Leon McNeil (’83), who was spotlighted in the September 2011 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. He shared how he used a football scholarship to ACU to leave inner-city San Antonio and after returning to teach, started City Kids Adventures. His program involves about 150 at-risk children in a year-round mentoring program that includes hunting, fishing, traveling to college campuses, etc. • Alumni luncheons are great for networking: JT Aspra (’11) was hired by DOCUmation a little more than a week after attending an ACU event. DOCUmation hires and provides internship opportunities for ACU students through Louis Scantland, Lee Scantland (’88), Jon Scantland (’09), Scott Woolfolk (’87), Preston Woolfolk (’10), Hunter Woolfolk (’09) and other family members and alumni within the company. • Valinda (McAlister ’81) Bacon, Jim McKissick (’83) and Preston Woolfolk (’10) serve on the ACU Alumni Advisory Board. Together, they have formed an ACU San Antonio Team committed to attending all alumni meetings, helping invite and bring others to luncheons, and attending and volunteering for local ACU functions. Other members: Marie (Milstead ’48) Shipp, Sunny (Courington ’65) Stephens, John Rich (’74), Tom Brite (’80), Mark Abshier (’83), Matt Lair (’83), Darrell Stewart (’83), Jon Anderson (’86), Andy Glenn (’98), Kevin Thompson (’99), Chris Lair (’06), Andrew Voiles (’09), Brian Billingsley (’10), Tyler Truax (’11), Ryan Mack (’08), Sylvia Mack (’10), Mark Tidwell (’85) and Greg Jones (’99). • More than 160 volunteer hours have been logged by alumni such as Voiles, Williams and Shay Aldriedge (’10). Their help in more than 30 college fairs and many recruiting events have resulted in more than 1,000 South Texas students beginning the application process with ACU, triple the number of applications at this time last year. • Sixty people attended a Preparing for College seminar hosted by MacArthur Park Church of Christ. Minister Mark Abshier (’83) helped set up audio/video equipment, greeted parents and shared his personal experiences as an alumnus and as a parent of a current student.



• More than 90 people attended a Student Send-Off Party in July 2011 at Memorial Church of Christ, hosted by Mike Avery (’98), Ron (’80) and Lee (Ligon ’80) Booker, Steve Sandifer (‘70), Dana Wright (‘74), James (’03) and Tiffany Wright. • David Meredith (’95) and Conner Halstead (’10) were just two members of the annual alumni volunteer force who represented ACU at 25 different college fairs across the greater Houston area and College Station last fall. Julie (Glover ’90) Parker, Justin (’06) and Amanda (Pierce ’06) Scott, and James Wright (’03) volunteered at multiple college fairs. • Thirty-eight alumni gathered in September 2011 for food and fellowship, and to hear trustee and keynote speaker Judge Steve Smith (’74). • College of Biblical Studies dean Dr. Jack Reese (’73) was the keynote speaker and host at an October 2011 breakfast for 36 Houston-area ministry staff members, including Eddie Boyer (’99), Kelly (Brophy ’06) Edmiston, Andy

6), Lindsay Johnna Goen (’0 ere among Edwards (’05), w i nl 4) Ke ’(0 , hi 11 bi 20 r Za n In Septembe ar 4) and Marjo n Glasscock (’0 ts at the Lone St Hall (’04), Gare who cheered for the Wildca . on ns gt thousands of fa adium in Arlin l in Cowboys St Football Festiva

Spell (’85) and others. Reese talked with them about the bright future of today’s churches. • Lowell Good (’87) joined 45 fellow school administrators and counselors in October 2011 at a lunch in Houston’s Galleria area where ACU chief information and planning officer Kevin Roberts (’88) spoke about ACU’s mobile-learning initiative. • Dr. Gary (’80) and Awilda (Randolph ’80) Acuff, Terry (’74) and Essie (Charles ’75) Childers, Ray (’53) and Nancy (Waters ’53) Hansen, Monty (’98) and Heather (Teague ’98) McCulley, Dr. Wade (’89) and Suzanne (Koski ’89) Richardson, and trustee Judge Steve Smith (’74) were among some of the ACU alumni who hosted a Purple and White Christmas party in December 2011 at A&M Church of Christ in College Station for 55 prospective students and parents. • In December 2011, Dr. Frank and Sara (Offutt ’65) Eggleston hosted more than 65 potential students and parents in their West University home for a Purple and White Christmas party. Callie Adams (’08) and Austin Cunningham (’03) also attended.

AUSTIN AREA • Paul Carrozza (’85) spoke at the Austin on the Move luncheon in April 2011 for alumni and friends, sharing information about how he started his successful business, RunTex, from the trunk of his car when he was a student at ACU. • Dr. Grady (’89) and Amy (Jackson ’89) Bruce hosted an April 2011 dinner event in their home for high school seniors to learn more about ACU’s Body & Soul program for pre-health students. Body & Soul director Terri Aldriedge attended, as did Demetrius Collins, D.P.T. (’04). • Westover Hills Church of Christ youth minister Christian Pimentel (’01) brought 146 students to ACU Leadership Camps in June 2011. • Kenneth (’85) and Carmen (Andrews ’85) Plunk provided a summer internship for ACU student Ravanne Harris at their company, KPI Consulting. • Albert (’71) and Vicki (Rushing ’74) Dennington provided a summer internship for ACU student Ethan Olsen at their company, Passport Health. • ACU alumna and entrepreneur Darbie Angell (’03) provided an internship for ACU student Kelsey Davis at her company, Cru Dinnerware. • New ACU parents Debbie and Peter Lloyd opened their home in August 2011 for a send-off party in honor of Austin-area freshmen. Jim Gulley (’84) co-hosted. • Belton ISD board president Randy Pittenger (’80), along with Tim Stephens (’82) and Kaci Flores (’09), again made a great team representing ACU at the Mid-Tex College Night in Belton. • Lake Travis ISD board member Lisa (Scott ’86) Johnson joined admissions counselor Robert McCall (’08) to represent ACU at the Lake Travis College Fair. • Brantley (’01) and Jana (Fulenwider ’02) Starr, Ty (’02) and Charis (Dillman ’02) Dishman, John T. Wright (’96) and Samuel Palomares (’11) provide great leadership for the ACU in Austin team. • Gilbert Tuhabonye (’01) spoke to Austin on the Move alumni and friends luncheon in September 2011, sharing his vision to bring clean water to Burundi via the Gazelle Foundation and Run for the Water. • In November 2011, Ryan Crowder (’04) and Nathan Jerkins (’05) shared their vision for bringing live theatre to the northern greater Austin area through their Penfold Theatre Company. Penfold has hosted numerous “ACU nights” at their theatre productions. • Waco alumni Steve and Kay (Coffee ’81) Williams, Steve (’72) and Judy (Jones ’75) and Bill (’70) and Deeanne (Nutt ’72) Litton hosted a December 2011 Purple and White reception at the Crestview Church of Christ. Prospective students were delighted to meet 1941 alumna Vivian Litton, who shared her ACU experiences.

Ready to arrange an internship for ACU students to work in your company? Hire a future graduate? Host a Purple and White Party for future students in your hometown? University relations managers (URMs) can help you make connections back on campus. Contact one today! AC U TO D AY

Winter 2012


Eden Estelle, Sept. 7, 2010. 2812 W. 50th Street, Austin, TX 78731. To Chad and Jennifer (Thigpen) Brackeen, a boy, Brody Jeffrey, Aug. 19, 2011. 1917 Winchester Drive, Frisco, TX 75033. To Johny and Lindsey Garner, a boy, Nathan Thomas, April 2, 2011. 224 Clearwood Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76108.

1999 MARRIED Doug Teague and Carolyn Davis, Jan. 27, 2011. Carolyn earned her M.S.N. in May 2011 and passed her boards in August 2011. She is a family nurse practitioner for Memorial Hermann Neighborhood Health Center. 7218 Quiet Glen Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479. Tony Bedard and Elizabeth Bostwick, Oct. 2, 2010. 3001 Communications Parkway, #2632, Plano, TX 75093.

BORN To Nathan and Lindsey (Graham) Holm, a boy, Cooper Graham, Sept. 19, 2010. 433 Valley Glen Drive, Richardson, TX 75080. To Michael and Emily (Campbell) Robinson, a boy, Campbell Owen, June 14, 2011. 1526 S. Yegua River Circle, Sugar Land, TX 77478. To Clint and Charli (Jones) Stehling, a boy, Cohen Michael, Sept. 3, 2010. 141 Paradise Avenue, Kerrville, TX 78028. To Casey and Marcy (Jackson) Coulson, a girl, Katherine Grace, July 27, 2011. 7808 Raton Ridge Lane, Arlington, TX 76002. To Shane and Kara (Poe ’98) Alexander, a boy, Levi Zachary, Aug. 13, 2011. They have two other children. To Joel and Beth Millwee, a boy, Luke Joel, Oct. 10, 2011. 706 W. Hill Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118.

2000 MARRIED Kris Allen and Hilary Evitt, July 23, 2011, in Midland. 2315 N.W. 3rd Avenue, Mineral Wells, TX 76067.



To Joseph and Dr. Beth (Lavender ’01) Conway, a girl, Caroline Nita, Sept. 22, 2011. To Matthew (’02) and Cayce (Muzechenko) Thornton, a boy, Otto Brooks, Oct. 27, 2010. The family has a new address. 20849 Halworth Road, Shaker Heights, OH 44122. To Brandon and Jaime (Hallmark) McNab, a boy, Myles Lawson, June 8, 2011. 1352 Vanderbilt Drive, Benton, AR 72019. To Hank and Amy (Almand) Vandeventer, a girl, Whitney, Oct. 26, 2010. 2034 Christie Lane, Carrollton, TX 75007. To Joe Don and Jamie (Bankes) Ridgell, a boy, Austin James, Aug. 9, 2010. 803 Kodiak Circle, Euless, TX 76039. To Scott and Nicole (Knight) Fahnestock, a girl, Brielle Mykah, Aug. 10, 2011. 2803 Millington Drive, Highland Village, TX 75077. To Ryan and Jennifer (Hale) Green, a boy, Trent, Oct. 19, 2010. 509 Oakland Hills Lane, Kerrville, TX 78028. To Mark and Amy (Rasco) Porter, a boy, Luke Edwin, Aug. 19, 2010. 2357 Galilee Road, Hallsville, TX 75650.

To Caleb (’02) and Brooke (Stine) Hood, a girl, Georgia Lee, Nov. 22, 2010. 20923 Liatris Lane, San Antonio, TX 78259. To Ryan and Rebecca (Belcher) Hunter, a girl, Lillian Cate, April 7, 2011. 2833 Stonecrest Drive, Abilene, TX 79606. To Shawn (’02) and Stacey (Croft) Brooks, a girl, Braelyn Faith, June 21, 2011. 5507 Teakwood Lane, Magnolia, TX 77354. To Dan and Katie (Schmidt) Kuyper, a boy, Brooks Andrew, July 3, 2011. Dan is a neurologist at Park Nicollet Clinic. 16500 Eagle Ridge Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55345.

ADOPTED By Matthew and Shelby (Beakley) Burden, a boy, Jaden Lee, Oct. 20, 2010. Matthew is the Army chaplain at Fort Hood. 4207 Capri Drive, Killeen, TX 76549.

2001 Greg and Charla (Dover) Mathes have moved to Utah after spending six years overseas. Charla teaches fourth and fifth grade at Wasatch Christian School in South Ogden, Utah. Greg is a master sergeant in the Air Force. 743 West 4400 South, Riverdale, UT 84405. Angie Winkler teaches special education at Randolph Elementary in Chicago, Ill., with Teach for America. She previously worked for eight years in the mental health field.

2002 BORN To John and Lindsey (Cawthon) Klein, a boy, John J. Klein V, May 22, 2011. The couple married May 1, 2010. 7484 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas, TX 75231. To Brad and Shannon (Enright) Bankhead, a boy, Max Edward, April 19, 2011. 7317 Bluegrass Court, Temple, TX 76502. To Gabriel Moore and Sarah McMahan, a girl, Caroline Katherine, Sept. 29, 2010. P.O. Box 2842, Frisco, TX 75034. To Chris and Mauri (Marzolino) Westbook, a girl, Sloan Emerson, March 31, 2011. 734 Lone Star Drive, Abilene, TX 79602. To Russell and Ashley Beth (Abbott) Mezger, a girl, Olivia, May 23, 2011. 9015 Eldora Drive, Houston, TX 77080. To Matt and Emily (Shoemaker) Goff, twin girls, Adalyn Ann and Brooklyn Grace, Sept. 2, 2011. 12421 Alexandria Drive, Frisco, TX 75035. To Daniel (’02) and Toyna (Barnwell) Purvine, a girl, Carissa Diana, July 8, 2011. 875 N. San Jose Drive, Abilene, TX 79603. To David and Bonnie (McFee) Immel, a girl, Mia Ruth, Feb. 10, 2011. P.O. Box 63623, Pipe Creek, TX 78063.

Joplin tornado left scars for Josh and Anna Edwards, but also created a fresh start It’s springtime again in Joplin, Mo., and the severe storm season people in the nation’s “Tornado Alley” have come to associate with twisters of sometimes epic proportions. Josh (’06 M.A.C.M.) and Anna (Radomsky ’07) Edwards know that all too well, but this year they’re watching from afar – Pennsylvania – after a tumultous experience last year with the effects of one of the most destructive storms on record. e couple was actually in Miami, Fla., on May 22, 2011, having just arrived for a much-awaited vacation following the conclusion of Anna’s graduate studies. A text from a friend alerted them to a rough storm back home, followed by another text from a co-worker: “I really hate to text you this, especially when you should be having fun … but your house is mostly gone and your van is severely totalled.” Josh admits to having doubts because he worked with some legendary practical jokesters. But TV news reports began to confirm the grim news that would develop over the coming days: as much as 30 percent of Joplin was destroyed, 160 people 74

Winter 2012


were dead, more than 1,000 injured, and 8,500 houses and businesses leveled, according to mayor Mike Woolston. e EF5 tornado cut a swath a mile wide and six miles long through densely populated parts of a city 50,000 people called home. Josh and Anna caught a flight back the next day to Tulsa, Okla., to meet with his parents, then made the 100-mile drive to Joplin the next day. Josh’s co-workers beat him to what was left of the house at 2410 Pennsylvania, and in 90 minutes, were able to clear the basement and upstairs of their soggy belongings. Much was lost, but some valuables – a photo of them while they were dating, Anna’s favorite photo of her mother and a family photo from when she was a baby, some of Josh’s prized baseball memorabilia, and their Christmas ornaments – were preserved, as well as an envelope with petty cash he had stashed in the house for a rainy day. e realities soon crashed in: tetanus shots, final demolition of the house and clearing the lot of debris (and filling the basement with dirt), tree removal, FEMA

registration, insurance claims, where to store what was left of their belongings, clothes shopping, and finding a place to live when much of Joplin was a wreck and 7,000 families were newly homeless. “But we’re so blessed,” says Anna, who wrote of their experiences and faith at Friends from their ACU days arrived to assist. eir congregation, College Heights Christian Church, was extraordinarily helpful. Josh’s board-game-community friends donated money via PayPal on his website. Other friends provided an apartment. ey had an undamaged second car. Josh’s employer, Accenture, granted him time off to deal with myriad details. Insurance claims were filled in a timely manner, although, sadly, an estimated half of Joplin’s homeowners and renters were uninsured. Accenture allowed Josh to be transferred to their offices in Philadelphia, where they now live in an apartment in a high-rise building, far from Tornado Alley and, hopefully, the most persistent of their worst memories. e December 2011 night of the

Houston for 21615 Maggie Mist Drive, Richmond, TX 77406.

To Kyle (’01) and Tiffany (Wiginton) Lake, a girl, Elle Fay, July 19, 2011. 301 Preston Club Drive, Sherman, TX 75092. To Knox (’03) and Jamie (Feerer) Rye, a girl, Mamie Jane, June 28, 2011. 926 Santos, Abilene, TX 79605.

Scott Harbin and Megan Karcher, April 2, 2011, in Abilene. Megan is the treatment director for New Horizons Care Center.



MARRIED Kyle Peveto and Lluvia Luz Rueda, June 18, 2011, in Beaumont. 2379 Ashley Street, Beaumont, TX 77702.

BORN To Paul and Melinda (Latham) McGuire, a girl, Emily Kate, March 28, 2011. 1113 Devin Drive, Clyde, TX 79510. To Andy and Lisa (Clark) Adkins, a boy, Corder Wade, April 20, 2011. 731 Lytle Shores, Abilene, TX 79602. To Chad (’04) and Laura (Zengerle) Huddleston, a boy, Eli Timothy, June 23, 2011. 7308 Summit View Lane, Sachse, TX 75048. To Tyler and Marjorie (Davis) Barnes, a girl, Olivia Ann, Jan. 31, 2010. 14340 Tanglewood Drive, Farmers Branch, TX 75234. To Lauren Mathews, a boy, Connor James Payton, Nov. 22, 2010. 2262 Garlic Creek Road, Buda, TX 78610. To Eric and Laura (Rich) Daulton, a boy, Garrett Lincoln, Sept. 7, 2011. Eric works in IT support at Raytheon and Laura is now a stay-at-home mom after teaching language arts for six years. 2821 Holy Cross Lane, Garland, TX 75044.

2004 Josh and Courtney (McInnis) Parrott moved from Louisiana to Texas and were expecting their first child in February 2012. Josh is a freelance writer who won three awards in 2011 from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. Courtney is regional sales manager in


To Alan (’05) and Kara (Turskey) Vaught, a boy, Dean Joe, Nov. 17, 2010. 411 Silver Stone Drive, Temple, TX 76502. To Loren and Erin (Mathews) Crowe, a girl, Olivia Nicole, May 11, 2011. 9903 Heron Meadows Drive, Houston, TX 77095. To Joel and Deborah (Koctar ’05) Weckerly, a girl, Gwyneth Reese, Sept. 1, 2011. 22030 Field Green Drive, Cypress, TX 77433. To Lucas and Jennifer (Walker) Takala, a girl, Emily Elizabeth, Aug. 19, 2011. Jennifer earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of North Texas in August 2011. 509 Evergreen Drive, Euless, TX 76040. To Dave and Janet (Singleton) Caporetti, a boy, Michael David, May 4, 2011. 901 Bowie Drive, Lavon, TX 75166. To Mike and Amy (Bedichek) Cabrero, a girl, Eva Janell, May 5, 2011. 1019 Madison, Temple, TX 76504. To Zac and Haley (Wagner) Sackrison, a boy, Finley Noah, Aug. 13, 2011. 3469 Larkspur Drive, Longmont, CO 80503. To Cody and Chez (Parker) Dishman, a girl, Eliza Marie, Jan. 8, 2011. 1314 Brighton Bend Lane, Cedar Park, TX 78613.

2005 MARRIED Phil Higginbotham and Jennifer Walsh, Sept. 3, 2011, in Colleyville. 1330 N. Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60610. Johnny Park and Emily Vaughn, July 9, 2011. They


live in Murphy, Texas, and Emily teaches third grade in the Wylie ISD. Jeffrey Kennedy and Laura (Russell) Edds, July 9, 2011, in Atlanta. 100 Summer Hill Way, Richmond, GA 31324.

BORN To David and Kristin (Newbill) Sessions, a boy, Cale Thomas, Nov. 9, 2011. 3229 Dark Woods Drive, Franklin, TN 37064. To Bryan and Jamie (Stoniecki) Brokaw, a girl, Brylee Olivia, Nov. 23, 2010. 3020 Lena Drive, Wylie, TX 75098. To Cade (’01) and Jamie (Mauldin) Thompson, a boy, Finnegan Grey, Aug. 10, 2010. 6505 Sapphire Drive, McKinney, TX 75070. To Chris and Jenny (Fullerton) Thompson, a girl, Madelynn Elizabeth, April 19, 2011. 6639 Country Field Drive, San Antonio, TX 78240. To Zach and April (Sutton) Murphy, a girl, Emma Kaye, Sept. 8, 2011. 5640 Westwood Lane, The Colony, TX 75056. To Ray and Jennifer (Reiff) Donnelly, a boy, Ephraim Seamus, June 11, 2011. 4102 Brookmoor Drive, Arlington, TX 76016. To Shawn (’04) and Jena (Grimsley) Massie, a girl, Gracelyn Kate, April 25, 2010. 5501 101st Street, Lubbock, TX 79424. To Cliff (’03) and Allison (Sevier) Blessing, a boy, Samuel “Connor,” Nov. 22, 2010. The couple married Oct. 8, 2005. 10119 Lanshire Drive, Dallas, TX 75238.

2006 Cole French is a cyber technologies consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. 2104 Whitehall Road, Unit BB, Frederick, MD 21702. Josh and Anna (Radomsky ’07) Edwards have moved from Joplin, Mo. (See story on pages 74-75.) Josh is a software analyst for Accenture. 604 S. Washington Square, Apt. 3105, Philadelphia PA 19106.


Josh and Anna Edwards sit on the porch of what remains of a neighbor’s house. Their house was demolished while they vacationed elsewhere. When they returned, Joplin looked nothing like they remembered.

Edwards’ going-away party, Anna received a surprise visit from Jama (Fry ’97) Cadle of ACU’s alumni relations office, and her sister, Chalon (Fry ’99) Hopper. Cadle presented Anna with a framed copy of a casualty she had no idea we knew about: a diploma to replace the one that didn’t survive the twister.

“I was overwhelmed. It is such a small thing, but it means so much to me,” Anna says. “I enjoyed my time at ACU so much and I was so disappointed when I saw my diploma after the storm.” We were happy to help the Edwards’ healing begin. 䊱 – RON HADFIELD

Trent Morton and Robyn King, Sept. 4, 2011. 2132 Cannes Drive, Carrollton, TX 75006. Sean Cagle (’11) and Lindsay Walter, May 29, 2011. 8600 West Highway 71 #433, Austin, TX 78735. BORN To Chad (’07) and Megan (McGowen) Snow, a boy, Adler Michael, April 28, 2011. 8505 Ravenswood Road, Granbury, TX 76049. To Blake and Kelly (Townsend) Moore, triplet girls, Brennyn Avry, Brooklyn Ava and Brylee Adyn, Aug. 30, 2010. 5320 Randolph, Amarillo, TX 79106. To Ben and Rosana (Lazaga) Adams, a boy, Ethan Julian, March 10, 2011. 302 Hickory Court, Bishop, TX 78343. To Collin and Lyndi (Stegall) Jones, a girl, Lorelai, March 29, 2010. 2505 Great Bear Lance, Denton, TX 76210. To David and Stephanie (York) Prysock, a boy, Jonah Matthew, July 3, 2011. 8313 Elm Court, North Richland Hills, TX 76182. To Michael (’05) and Autumn (Ware) Gilly, a girl, Hailey Nicole, Sept. 18, 2010. 9507 Vallecito Pass, San Antonio, TX 78250. To Ryan and Amie (Witt) Turnage, a boy, Gavin Reid, July 12, 2011. 248 Carrington Lane, Lewisville, TX 75067. To Jeff and Amy (Hall) Shelburne, a boy, Mickade Hall, May 16, 2011. 5707 Emil, Amarillo, TX 79106. To Andrew (’05) and Rachel (Willis) Stokes, a girl, Avery Kate, April 21, 2011. 10533 Evangeline Way, Dallas, TX 75218. To Kyle (’07) and Elizabeth (Carlile) Campbell, a boy, Dawson Luke, Sept. 3, 2010. 1013 Vintage Avenue, Gainesville, TX 76240. ADOPTED By John (’07) and Brenna (Pittman) Windham, a girl, Grace Marie, May 9, 2011. She was born Nov. 22,


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2008. 2335 South 10th Street, Abilene, TX 79605.

2007 Carissa Martus earned her master’s degree in music from Portland State University in Summer 2011. 819 N.W. Wheelock Place, Hillsboro, OR 97006.

BORN To Jason and Amy (Martin ’11) McCarty, a girl, Caoimhe Joy, June 11, 2011. 2349 Bridge Avenue, Abilene, TX 79603. To Maher and Maria (del Pinal) Saab, a boy, Ezra, Aug. 6, 2011. To Cody and Bethany (Freede) Girod, a boy, Maxwell Stone, April 26, 2011. 11821 Bittern Hollow Road, #10, Austin, TX 78758.


To Koby (’10) and Christie (Thomas) Andrews, a boy, Knox Thomas, July 20, 2011. 825 Hickory Street, Colorado City, TX 79512. To John and Lisa (Etchison) Culkin, a girl, Brooklyn Adelle, June 12, 2011. 4630 Magnolia Cove Drive, #1326, Kingwood, TX 77345. To Jacob and Jamie (Hall) Banks, a girl, Jordan Nicole, June 3, 2011. 6032 Judy Drive, Watauga, TX 76148. To Michael Walker (’04) and Kristen Ruhl-Walker, a girl, Michaela, Jan. 15, 2011. 3341 Winding River Trail, Round Rock, TX 78681.

2009 BORN To Andrew and Abigail (Goldsmith) Harmon, a boy, Luke Walling, Oct. 29, 2010. 1407 Oak Knoll Drive, Colleyville, TX 76034. To Taylor (’08) and Sarah (Sparks) Brooks, a boy, Wilson “Beckett,” Aug. 22, 2011. 221 Rodeo Drive, Keller, TX 76248. To Coy and Karitsa (Meinke) Greathouse, a boy, Owen Adam, Oct. 26, 2011. 1116 Bracy Street, Odessa, TX 79761.

Matt Worthington and Jessica Lynn Reyna, July 16, 2011, in San Antonio. The couple moved to Washington, D.C., where Matt is a middle school reading teacher and technology coordinator in the D.C. public schools. He recently completed a two-year commitment to Teach for America and received a M.Ed. from George Mason University. 610 Irving Street NW, Apt. T-02, Washington, DC 20010.

Sam Hurley and Ashley Ohlhausen, June 4, 2011, in Abilene.



To Peter and Kristen Nicole (Cothran) Ellwood, a girl, Brynlee Paige, Nov. 17, 2011. 5069 Bartlett Drive, The Colony, TX 75056. To Nathaniel and Amanda (Burke) Hamilton, a boy, Logan, Dec. 15, 2005; a girl, Brooke, March 26, 2008; and a boy, Noah, June 25, 2009. 834 S. Bowie Drive, Abilene, TX 79605.


BORN To Bryce and Paige (Bates) Williams, a boy, Major Dean, Aug. 18, 2011. 10702 E.C.R. 105, Midland, TX 79706.

IN MEMORIAM 1944 Henry O’Neal Forgy Jr., 87, died Jan. 12, 2012, in Jackson, Tenn. He was born Nov. 27, 1924, in Dierks, Ark. He attended Freed-Hardeman University before ACU, and did two years of graduate work at Harvard Divinity School. He worked 35 years with the family-owned H.O. Forgy and Son scrap metal business, then retired after working for the Tennenbaum Company in Little Rock, Ark. He was appointed chair of the Tennessee State Advisory Commission to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and also served as president of the Institute of Scrap Iron and Steel. Among survivors are his wife, Linnie Roberta Pruett; four children; a sister; and six grandchildren.

1945 Dr. Billy Joe (B.J.) Maynard, 88, died May 25, 2011, in Crane. He was born May 10, 1923, in Ranger and lived most of his life in Crane. He married Frankie Tidwell (’45) June 27, 1946. He served in the Naval Reserves and later the Army, and earned his M.D. from the University of Arkansas. B.J. practiced medicine in Crane for more than 40 years. He is survived by his wife; two sons, Stephen Maynard (’69) and Dr. Tim Maynard; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

1949 Ouita Marie Roberts Shelton, 82, died July 5, 2011, in Dallas. She was born Dec. 7, 1928, in Taft and grew up in South Texas. She married Louis Shelton in 1948 and worked for Dow Chemical as a secretary. She and Louis later lived in Colorado, Texas and Hong Kong. He preceded her in death in 2007. Ouita is survived by two daughters; Lisa (Shelton ’76) Barnes and Barb (Shelton ’81) Mayben; a sister, Dorothy Bradley; and two grandsons, David and Jacob Barnes. Robert Alton Lowry, 82, died July 13, 2011, of complications from polio. He was born Aug. 22, 1928, in Oklahoma City and served in the Army after graduating high school. He met his wife, Mary Virginia “Ginny” Bell (’52) at ACU. Bob worked at IBM for 28 years and also earned his master’s degree in education. He preached for Churches of Christ in Oklahoma and Kentucky and also served as an elder. He is survived by his wife, three sons, a daughter, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


1948 Dr. Robert Rex Meyers, 88, died Jan. 8, 2012, in Bellingham, Wash. He was born Aug. 7, 1923, and grew up on a farm near Henrietta, Okla. During World War II, he served as an Army correspondent in England, writing for Stars and Stripes. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from ACU, a master’s from the University of Okahoma and a doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis. He served as minister of Riverside Church of Christ, Plymouth Congregational Church and University Congregational Church (UCC), all of Wichita, Kan. Meyers was professor of English for more than 30 years at Wichita State University, where he authored two books and more than 100 journal articles. In 2008, UCC began the Robert


Meyers Lectures Series in his honor. He is survived by his wife, Billie Louise (Bearden ’51) Meyers; three daughters, Karen Wakefield, Robin Meyers and Devon Meyers; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Winter 2012


Melba Jean Cranfill Hearn, 84, died Oct. 13, 2011. She was born June 1, 1927, in Plainview and met her first husband, Cullen Cranfill (’48), at ACU. He preceded her in death in 2009. Melba married Jim Hearn in 2010. He survives her, as do two daughters, Christy (Cranfill ’73) Nelson and “Connie” (Cranfill ’77) Hackney; two stepdaughters; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

1952 Ralph Parker Williams, 79, died June 30, 2011, in Bartlesville, Okla. He was born Aug. 14, 1931, in San Angelo and grew up in Brownwood.

Brandon Bolden (’13) and friends from Shades step their way through the parade.

The Wildcats drew a crowd of 10,246 to Shotwell Stadium. Saturday ended with fireworks over Faubus Fountain Lake.

Arielle Collier (’12), escorted by her uncle, Nicky Collier, was named Homecoming Queen.

Animals from May Farm made fast friends with children who attended the Homecoming Carnival.

HOMECOMING Photography by Steve Butman, Jessalyn Massingill, Gary Rhodes and Aaron Winters

RIGHT: Inductees to the ACU Sports Hall of Fame were Reid Huffman (’78), Les Vanover (’64), Corey Stone (’96), Julie (Mavity ’99) Maddalena, Dub Stocker (’75) and Anita Vigil (’92). BELOW: Shayla Herndon (’13), Bailey McMath (’13) and Alexa Jarpe (’13), aka principal characters from “The Wizard of Oz,” marched in the Homecoming Parade.

ABOVE: Ella Thomas receives a Wildcat paw. BELOW: Lana (Litton ’00) Page, Sarah (Leesman ’01) Campbell, Kevin Campbell (’00), Chris Clark (’01) and Doug Page (’01) attended their Reunion Dinner.

LEFT: Charles Anglin (’81), Randy Owen (’81) and Lee (Knight ’81) North at their reunion dinner.

ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) accepted a check for $509,451 from Ed Allred (’78) on behalf of the Reunion Class Campaign. AC U TO D AY

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After graduating from ACU, he worked for Phillips Petroleum Company for 40 years. He married Gloria (Grindstaff ’53) in August 1952; she preceded him in death in 1981. Ralph married Karen Davis Oct. 17, 1986. She survives him, as do three sons, Chris, Mark and Dr. Curtis Williams (’07); three stepsons, Mark Davis (’88), Brooks Davis and Clint Davis; a sister, Marilyn (Williams ’59) Nickerson; 15 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Jerry Wood Hill, 82, died Sept. 12, 2011. He was born Oct. 2, 1928, in Sabinal and grew up in Pleasanton. He served in the Air Force from 1946-49. After graduating from ACU, he served as a missionary and evangelist in Latin America for 43 years, much of it in Guatemala. He is survived by his wife, Ann (Roberts ’53) Hill; two daughters, Barbara (Hill ’97) Kirk and Linda (Hill ’77) Barriger; a son, David Hill (’89); six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Mary Emmeline Desper Sutton, 82, died May 8, 2011.

1953 Wesley Charles Reagan, 79, died Feb. 22, 2011. He was born March 27, 1931, and grew up in West Texas and New Mexico. After graduating from ACU, he began his long career as a minister. He served churches throughout the U.S. and in Winnipeg, Canada. Wes is survived by his wife, Linda Harrist Reagan; a brother; a sister; four sons; two daughters; 15 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

1955 James Albert “Jim” Moss, 76, died May 20, 2010. He was born Oct. 5, 1933, in Roswell, N.M., and grew up in Carlsbad. After graduating from ACU, he served in the Army for several years and then worked for the Duval Company in various capacities, and later for Pennzoil. He retired in 1992 after 35 years with the company. Jim is survived by his wife, Lucy (Hawkins ’58) Moss; two sons, Randy (’80) and David Moss (’82); a daughter, Diane (Moss ’88) Johnson; and 12 grandchildren.

and six great-grandchildren. His daughter, Carolyn (McCurdy ’66) Close, preceded him in death.

1962 Fred Willard Patty, 75, died Dec. 21, 2011, in Odessa. He was born Oct. 8, 1936, in George West. He enrolled at ACU in 1958 after serving four years in the Army, and devoted his working life to the oil industry in West Texas and New Mexico. He married Karon Lasater on Feb. 23, 1973. She survives him, as do a son, Sean Patty (’89); a brother, Max Patty; and two grandchildren.

1963 Stanley Reed Baker, 70, died July 26, 2011. He was born July 22, 1941, in Abilene. After earning his J.D. from St. Mary’s University, he practiced law in Dumas for 42 years. He married Charlyn Baer (’68) on April 23, 1966. She survives him, as do a son, Brent Baker (’90); a daughter, Sundaye (Baker ’93) Speed; five grandchildren; and a sister, Donna (Baker ’67) Hooker.

1964 Thomas B. Murray died Oct. 16, 2011, after a brief illness. He played football for four years while attending ACU and was a member of Sub T-16. He is survived by his wife; his mother; a brother, Jack Murray (’68); four children; and other relatives.

1969 Vicki Sharon Maden, 64, died Aug. 4, 2011. She was born Sept. 24, 1946, in Dallas. She worked at the Mexia State School and the Mexia Daily News, and also in her family’s jewelry business, Vic Maden Jewelry. Among survivors are a daughter, Merrianne Maden Hughes; and three grandchildren.


Charles W. “Chuck” Smith, 78, died Dec. 26, 2011. He was born April 6, 1933, in Sweetwater. While attending ACU on a football and track and field scholarship, he met Anne Smith (’57), and the couple married Sept. 30, 1956, when he was a rookie NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers. He went on to serve a 36-year career as a coach, athletics director, teacher and administrator in the San Angelo ISD. Among survivors are his wife, Anne; sons Carl Smith (’80) and Vin Smith (’83); a daughter, Deanne (Smith ’83) Goen; a sister, Carla Sue Phillips (’62); and two grandchildren.

Lisa Ann Ward Cross, 51, died Feb. 16, 2011. She was born Dec. 29, 1959, in Searcy, Ark., and grew up in San Marcos. She earned all-America honors in doubles tennis at ACU, and married Ty Cross (’81) May 23, 1981. She is survived by her husband, Ty; a son; a daughter; and a brother. Sandra “Sandy” Lynn Brown Mack, 51, died Sept. 25, 2011, after a battle with breast cancer. She was born Dec. 31, 1959, in Oklahoma City and grew up working at her family’s bakery. She is survived by her husband, trustee Steve Mack (’82); two sons, Ryan (’05) and Will (’14) Mack; two daughters, Katie (Mack ’09) Browder and Julieanne Mack (’13); a sister, Brenda (Brown ’84) Bailey; two brothers, Michael (’81) and Billy Brown (’84); and other relatives.



Jones Lewis Daugherty, 74, died April 13, 2011, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was born Feb. 5, 1937, in Amarillo. Jones worked in the aircraft industry for many years and served as a deacon at the Midlothian Church of Christ. He is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn (Bonner ’62) Daugherty; two sons, Scott (’86) and Michael (’86) Daugherty; a daughter, Lezlee (Daugherty ’90) Tadlock; a sister, Nell (Daugherty ’54) Lucas; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. Thomas Chaney Anderson, 73; died Sept. 30, 2011, in Pasadena. He was born Dec. 25, 1937, in Dallas. He married Jo Jean McGraw (’61) on Aug. 19, 1961. Chaney worked at the University of Houston-Downtown from its inception in 1974 until his retirement in 2005, serving as vice president for adminstation and finance, and CFO. He also was an elder in his church for 25 years. Anderson was preceded in death by a son, Jay Anderson (’82). He is survived by his wife and a son, Jeff Anderson.

Susan Annette Lovell, 48, died June 25, 2011, in Overland Park, Kan. She was born Dec. 29, 1964, in Greenville. She taught reading and drama in Shepherd and Bridgeport and was a school librarian in Missouri. For the past 18 years, she served in the drama ministry and as a minister’s assistant at the Overland Park Church of Christ. She is survived by her parents, Sam and Kay (’55) Lovell; a sister, Mindy (Lovell ’82) Lisa; and other relatives.


1961 J.C. McCurdy, 94, died Oct. 21, 2011. He was born July 15, 1917, in Greer County, Okla. He attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State University before earning his master’s degree at ACU. He taught at public schools and at ACU, served as a volunteer fireman, and ran a CPA practice in Abilene for more than 40 years. He married Arlyene Stout Dec. 27, 1939. She survives him, as do a daughter, Janey (McCurdy ’64) Mims; a sister; three grandchildren;


Winter 2012


1986 Dale Leighroy “Scooter” Phillips Jr., 48, died in a plane crash Feb. 20, 2012, near Albany. He was born March 3, 1963, in Midwest City, Okla. He completed post-graduate studies in physical therapy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Phillips owned and operated Rebound Sports and Physical Therapy for more than 17 years in Abilene, and also opened Steps 2 Strides, a provider of rehabilitation services for special-needs children. He served on the board of Enterprise Investments, Inc., and Old Surety Life Insurance Company. During his senior season of 1985, Phillips set the ACU single-game record for touchdown receptions with four against the University of Northern Colorado. Among survivors are a son, Brendan; a daughter, Grace Ann; and their mother, Linda Phillips (’86); his father, Dale Phillips Sr.; his mother, Karen Phillips; two sisters, Mary Kay Hixson and Darsi (Phillips ’86) Graham; and a grandmother, Mahala Brown.

2006 Sunday Ibok, 32, died Sept. 29, 2011, after suffering

a brain aneurysm four days earlier. He was a graduate of ACU’s theatre program, taking part in “Seussical,” “Jekyll and Hyde” and the Centennial Pops Concert. Ibok worked in New York City as an actor and a fashion consultant and was an integral part of Trinity Grace Church.

2014 Samantha Machel Bahl, 21, died Nov. 23, 2011, in Grandville, Mich., after a two-year battle with cancer. She was born April 13, 1990, in Big Rapids, Mich. Among survivors are her parents, Franklin (’11) and Jacklyn (Johnson ’07) Hughes, and Jchon Sr. and Wendy Bahl; and five brothers, Jchon II (’10), Isaac, Langston, Dalton and Noah; and a boyfriend, Joshua Ruiz (’12).

OTHER FRIENDS Dale Blackburn Higginbotham, 58, died Sept. 24, 2011, in Abilene. He was born Feb. 24, 1953, in Dallas and married Doreta Sooter May 15, 1982, in Abilene. A former co-owner of Arrow Ford, Higginbotham owned and operated Lueders Limestone Quarry, which provided the stone for the Jacob’s Dream sculpture site at ACU. The quarry also provided stone for the trailheads, benches and markers along the Lunsford Foundation Trail, and the rock around Faubus Fountain Lake. Higginbotham was a former trustee of Abilene Christian Schools and a member of the Taekwondo Olympic Committee who served two years as a referee at the Taekwondo World Games in Seoul, Korea. He was a deacon at First Presbyterian Church. He is survived by his wife, Doreta; two daughters, Brittany (’08) and Tiffany (’11) Higginbotham; and two brothers, Seaton and Vincent Higginbotham. Willie “Ruth” Blasingame, 81, died Feb. 3, 2012, in Abilene. Born Jan. 18, 1931, in Lubbock County, she married Ross D. Blasingame (’58). Ross and Ruth helped begin the deaf ministry at South 11th and Willis Church of Christ in 1971. Among survivors are her husband of 64 years, Ross, a former longtime maintenance supervisor at ACU; three sons, Raymond Blasingame (’71), Thomas Blasingame (’77) and Guy Blasingame (’79); two daughters, Belinda (Blasingame ’77) Clare and Marilyn (Blasingame ’84) Lewis; a brother, Cecil Armstrong; 11 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren. James B. Rives Jr., 77, died Dec. 13, 2011, in Abilene. Born April 19, 1934, in San Antonio, he graduated in 1956 from The University of Texas in Austin with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering. Rives married Barbara Anna Sunderland on Dec. 17, 1966. He had a 38-year career with DuPont, and was a longtime church elder and civic leader. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Sunderland Rives; two daughters, Elizabeth (Rives ’92) Colwell and Marcia (Rives ’93) Straughn, ACU adjunct flute instructor; and five grandchildren. An endowed scholarship in his name has been established in the new Department of Engineering and Physics at ACU. Dr. Thomas K. Kim, 83, died March 12, 2012, in Abilene. The longest-tenured president of McMurry University (1970-93), he later served ACU as economist-in-residence and adjunct visiting professor of economics in the College of Business Administration. He was a frequent featured speaker at the Economic Outlook Conferences sponsored in part by COBA. Kim was born to Korean parents in 1929 in Shanghai, China, who spent much of his early life fleeing the colonial Japanese army. After World War II, he worked as a translator for the U.S. military in South Korea. Kim earned a B.A. degree and an honorary doctorate from Berea (Ky.) College, an M.B.A. from Indiana University and a doctorate from Tulane University. He was named 1986 Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, and helped found the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas. Kim taught economics at Berea, Tulane, the University of Akron, and Texas Tech University. He is survived by his wife, Martha; a son, Larry; a daughter, Cathy Fowlkes; brothers Lawrence Kim and Kenneth Kim; a sister, Pearl Wittig; and six grandchildren.

ACU Remembers: Rama, Ellison, Hall, Gomez, Justice, Sparks, Fry, Gibson, Durrington Beverly Guyer Rama, 52, died Sept. 18, 2011. She was born June 17, 1959, in Neward, N.Y., and grew up in the Northeast. She joined the Adventures in Missions Program in Lubbock, where she was a certified travel agent and met Ronnie Rama (’96 M.S.). The couple married Aug. 20, 1982. They began their family in Lubbock, and moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, where they served on a missionary team. They moved back to Lubbock in 2001 and to Abilene in 2002, when Bev began work as administrative coordinator in the Department of Art and Design. In 2008, she was diagnosed with cancer, and began a taxing treatment regimen. She is survived by her husband, who is an ACU associate professor of art and design; two daughters, Anna “Meg” (’08) and Mandy; and a son, Eric (’11). Helen Ellison, 78, died Oct. 9, 2011, in Abilene. She was born May 15, 1933, to Oscar and Emma Lee Ellison of San Antonio. Helen moved to Abilene in 1968 from the Austin State School, then lived at the Marbridge House for Women, where she developed skills for independent living. When she was no longer able to live independently, she moved to the Chisholm House, then to a group home for women at the Abilene Center for Supported Living. She lived the past few years in its Alzheimer’s Care Unit. Helen worked 33 years for ACU in dormitory maintenance and groundskeeping. The university honored her with a Serving Award in 1988, the Unsung Servant Award in 1997, and with a retirement event in 2001. She was voted one of the grand marshals of the 1999 Homecoming Parade. The women of Ko Jo Kai considered her an honorary Kojie, making her a regular special guest at club events and sponsoring Helen’s birthday parties. Robert J. Hall, 82, died Nov. 27, 2011, in Abilene. A native of Big Spring, Texas, he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from ACU in 1951. The former president and CEO of Visador Company was deeply involved in public service for 43 years in Jasper, where he was president of his local Kiwanis club, the Chamber of Commerce, the local hospital and the community foundation. Hall was named ACU’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in 1993, and served as Alumni Association president in 1972-73. He was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees from 1972-2000 and ACU’s Senior Board from 2000-07. In 1995, Abilene Christian established the Robert and Mary Ann Hall Endowed Chair for Psychology and Intercultural Studies to help enhance understanding of the special psychological dimensions of foreign service, especially mission work. He is survived by four children, including Kitty (Hall ’77) Wasemiller, professor of art and design. Jimmie Carole (Pitman ’90) Gomez, 71, died Dec. 6, 2011, in Amarillo. She was born May 17, 1940, in Childress, but grew up in Dallas. She began attending the University of North Texas and, years later, finished her degree at ACU. She married Bob V. Gomez Jan. 29, 1962. From 1983-94 she worked at ACU in Student Services, as Chapel secretary and in the Health Clinic. She sponsored women’s social club Tri Kappa, and was active in the American Business Women’s Association. She is survived by her husband, Bob; daughters Gina (Gomez ’85) Harrison, Joanna (Gomez ’87) Anderson and Lisa (Gomez ’89) Powell; a sister, June Pitman Hardin; a brother, Joe Scott Pitman; and eight grandchildren. Dr. John Keith Justice, 91, died Dec. 25, 2011, in Abilene. He was born Aug. 26, 1920, in Martinsville, and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1942, two degrees from Texas

A&M University (bachelor’s in agricultural education in 1948 and master’s in agronomy in 1949), and a Ph.D. in soil science from Utah State University in 1961. Justice was principal of Black Jack School in Attoyac, Texas, from 1942-43 and married Vera Brough in 1943, before serving three years (1943-46) in the Navy during World War II. He joined the ACU faculty in 1950. Justice was renowned for his academic expertise in agronomy, having served as president, vice president and director of the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, which presented him with a Distinguished Educators Award. In 1961, he became ACU’s first recipient of a Piper Professor award from the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, the same year he received the Trustees Award as Abilene Christian’s top professor. He served as chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 1961-80. Justice also served as a part-time preacher for various rural congregations. He and Vera lived in Guatemala from 1987-92, where he preached in Spanish and assisted local farmers. Among survivors are Vera (M.S. ’80), his wife of 68 years; four sons, John (’67), Jimmy (’69), David (’72) and Dale (’73); and numerous grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. Samuel Robert Sparks, 83, died Dec. 28, 2011, in Harlingen, Texas. Born Christmas Eve in 1928, the Haleyville, Ala., native was a successful businessman and community leader in South Texas who was known for his generosity and leadership. He was chairman of the B&P Bridge Company which was given a permit in 1928 to operate a bridge in Progreso, Texas, spanning the Rio Grande River and the border between the United States and Mexico. Sparks was president and CEO of the Progreso International Bridge, one of the busiest border crossings in Texas. He was president of the Santa Rosa Kiwanis Club and Rio Farms Inc. agricultural research facility; chairman of the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce; former chair of the Advisory Committee to the Texas A&M University System’s “Target 2002” project and Rio Farms of Monte Alto; and director of the San Antonio branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, First National Bank of Harlingen, and the Valley Farm Bureau. Sparks was a member of ACU’s Board of Trustees from 1970-99 and its Senior Board from 1999-2006. He also served on boards of the Salvation Army, Valley Baptist Medical Center, Golden Palms Retirement and Health Center, Sunny Glen Children’s Home, Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Inc., Texas Vegetable Seed Improvement Association, Valley Acres Irrigation District, South Texas ISD, and Santa Rosa ISD. In 1965, he was runner-up for the Outstanding Young Farmer of Texas award. Survivors include a sister, Ella Katherine May; Seanne, his wife of 63 years; two daughters, Elizabeth (Sparks ’72) Johnson and Karen (Sparks ’74) Guenther; two sons, Bobby Sparks (’76) and John Sparks; nine grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Dr. Douglas “Fessor” Fry Sr., 95, died March 16, 2012, in Abilene. Born July 15, 1916, in Spicewood, Fry (’40) played trombone in the ACU collegiate band directed by D.W. Crain. He earned a M.M.E. degree and, later, an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Southern College of Fine Arts. He was ACU associate professor emeritus of music and director emeritus of bands, and was inducted into the Phi Beta Mu Texas Bandmaster’s Hall of Fame in 1992. Fry directed award-winning high school bands in Conroe, Brady and Robert Lee, and the Wrangler Band at Cisco College. During World War II, he was a band officer in the South Pacific for Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. and directed war-time USO shows in the Pacific by entertainers such as Bob Hope and Jack Benny. Fry retired from the Navy and Naval Reserve following 22 years of service. During his 16-year career as ACU’s director of bands (1953-69),

Fry traveled with the Big Purple and Concert Bands on cross-country tours, and recorded several albums. He also conducted Abilene Christian’s symphony orchestra. Among survivors are his wife, Mary Frances; a son, Doug Fry Jr.; a daughter, Nancy (Fry ’68) Hammes; a sister, Jence Morgan; and one granddaughter. Sue Ann (Chance) Gibson, 49, former longtime administrative coordinator in ACU’s Center for International Education (CIE), died March 30, 2012, in Abilene. Born May 25, 1962, in Tulia, Texas, she attended school in Brownfield and graduated from Shamrock High School and attended West Texas A&M University before marrying Russell Gibson in 1981. She served in Abilene Christian’s CIE from 2001-11, where she helped international students enroll at ACU. Among survivors are her parents, Bill and Pat Chance; four brothers, Mike Chance, John Chance, Jim Chance and Bob Chance; a sister, Pam Morgan; her husband, Russell; two daughters, Brittany (Gibson) Thompson and Chelsea (Gibson) Hall; and four grandchildren. Dr. Rose Colleen (Stockburger ’77 M.Ed.) Durrington, 75, died April 9, 2012, in Abilene. She was born March 23, 1937, in West Fork, Ark., near Fayetteville, She married Eugene Henderson (’62) in 1955. They were married 31 years and had two children, Eugene Jr. and Teresa. She married Victor Durrington Nov. 26, 1986, adding his children and grandchildren to her family. They were married 22 years until his death in March 2009. She earned a B.S.Ed. degree from McMurry University in 1972, and M.Ed. degrees from ACU in 1977 and 1981. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 1984 with an Ed.D. degree. Although her career as an educator began in Hawley where she taught fourth grade from 1972-74, she had long been a Bible class teacher, Girl Scout leader, Cub Scout den mother and PTA president in Texas and Oklahoma schools. From 1974-85 she served in the Abilene Independent School District, teaching at Dyess and Reagan Elementary Schools, then was principal of Valley View and Bonham Elementary Schools in Abilene before joining the ACU faculty in Fall 1985 as an assistant professor of education and director of reading programs. In 22 years at ACU, she served as coordinator of elementary and secondary certification programs, dean of the College of Professional Studies, director of University Seminar, chair of the Department of Education and the Division of Education, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She retired in 2007 as professor emerita of education. She was elected to ACU’s Board of Trustees in 2009 and served on the Presidential Search Committee and Academic Affairs Committee. She served as a trustee of the Abilene Independent School District from 1990-96, and as a trustee of the Texas Association of School Boards from 1991-96. She served on the Texas Commission on Standards for the Teaching Profession, the Advisory Commitee for Long Range Planning for Technology in Schools and the Texas Board of Educators. She served on a state panel to select full-time Texas teachers to receive Christa McAuliffe Fellowship Awards, in honor of the New Hampshire schoolteacher who died in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. She authored a book, Perceptions of the Effectiveness of Women in Public School Administration. At the time of her death, she was serving on the boards of the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum, the Central Appraisal District of Taylor County, Christian Service Center, and African Christian College in Swaziland. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mildred Stockburger, and by her husband, Victor, and his daughter, Vicki Dell. She is survived by her father, Loy Stockburger; two sisters, Pat Simpson and Debby Lynn; a son, Eugene B. Henderson Jr., M.D. (’79); a daughter, Teresa Brittain (’79); by her Durrington sons, Vearl Durrington, Vance Durrington (’90) and Val Durrington (’92); and 15 grandchildren.


Winter 2012


Second GLANCE By Ron Hadfield

The Signs of His Times In 1879, ACU’s founder was born in Tipton County, Tenn., not far from where violent earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 caused the mighty Mississippi River to flow backward for a time. Allen Booker Barret was just 16 years old when he enrolled in West Tennessee Christian College in Henderson, later known as Freed-Hardeman University. He married Exie Carroll in 1901, moving with her a year later to Texas, where he preached and taught on the faculty of Southwestern Christian College, founded in Denton in 1904 by another Tennessee educator, Jesse P. Sewell. You have heard Barret’s story. He befriended college classmate Charles H. Roberson and in 1903, the pair decided to start a Christian school in West Texas. After deciding on Abilene as the site, 26-year-old Barret began to raise money among the people he met, collecting $3,347.30 from benefactors during lean economic times. Col. John W. Childers, an elder in the first Church of Christ in Abilene, sold a house and plot of land on North First Street on which Barret could build a school. He exchanged a discount on the price in return for adding his name to the school’s. Twenty-five students were enrolled on the first day of classes in 1906. Barret served two years as Childers Classical Institute president before returning to Denton to be president of SWCC. He and Roberson later founded another college in Cleburne, where Barret served five years as president. He went on to teach Bible at The University of Texas in Austin, then relocated to be a minister in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He and Exie returned to Henderson, her hometown, in 1941, and he died in 1951. She remarried in 1956 and died in 1970. * * * You have to look hard to find evidence of ACU’s original campus inside a six-acre Abilene block bounded by North First, Graham, North Second and Victoria streets, still in earshot of the Union Pacific Railroad that bisects the city. Remnants of only three of the 14 buildings of Childers Classical Institute remain. McDonald Hall – one of only two structures to bear the same name on the old and new campus – is a three-story red brick building now called the Rosemont Apartments. Renovated just before ACU’s Centennial in 2006, it appears to have fallen again onto hard times, with bushes shrouding the front entry. Wildcat Gym, built only five years before the move to the new campus in 1929, is now part of a warehouse for Global Samaritan Resources Inc., a nonprofit humanitarian aid ministry. Another structure, built in 1919 as a residence for men but converted to a dining hall in 1924, has been annexed by a local business. The relative anonymity of his alma mater’s beginnings bothered Bruce Campbell (’68) enough that the KRBC-TV marketing specialist sought the help of the Taylor County Historical Commission to do something about it. Their answer was to apply for a Texas Historical Commission marker, featuring a permanent plaque to signify that something remarkable happened more than a century ago on North First Street. One such marker already designates ACU’s current campus, while others around Taylor County signify churches and schools, sites of battles with settlers and Native Americans, oil wells, military camps, a speech by aviator Charles Lindbergh, and places tied to local civil rights history. Campbell has deep roots at his alma mater. Every class of his K-12 and undergraduate education was conducted on Abilene 80

Winter 2012


Christian’s current campus bounded by East North 16th Street, Campus Court, Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard. His career as a telecommunications executive included a time during the 1990s when he worked for ACU. His late parents, Dr. Norris (’53) and Mary (Bradley ’83) Campbell, were fixtures on the Hill. All five of his siblings have Abilene Christian degrees: Don (’72), James (’70), Paul (’80) and Robert (’84) Campbell; and Liz (Campbell ’75) Rotenberry. The leaves on their family tree are more purple than green. Thanks to the initiative of Campbell, who said he “grew up on the Hill,” a state historical marker identifying ACU’s first campus now faces North First Street, next to a flagpole on the front lawn of Global Samaritan, also a fitting name for a visionary Tennessean and the university he started in Texas. A September 2011 ceremony unveiled the marker and celebrated its placement. * * * Until returning from a 2008 tour of historic Restoration (Stone-Campbell) Movement sites, Al Price (’63) had lived in Henderson for 34 years before discovering the founder of his beloved ACU was buried just across town. The nearby Henderson City Cemetery on North Church Street serves as the resting place for the remains of hundreds of Tennesseans, some born as early as 1824, a generation or two before the start of the Civil War. It also contains the graves of several people with notable roles in the Restoration Movement, including four Christian college presidents and many professors, preachers and church leaders. The headstone for the Barrets, who once sold a family farm to keep Childers Classical Institute solvent, was understated. The relative anonymity of Barret’s contributions to ACU bothered Price enough that he and his family and friends decided to do something about it. He enlisted the help of his son, Don Allen (’88); Mark Anthony (’86); Kris Oliver (’87); and Dr. Richard Salter (’83). With their funding and the permission of the Barret family and the city of Henderson, a large new headstone is now visible to anyone visiting the cemetery. As of July 2011, the granite marker stands near the peak of a hilltop in the cemetery. It includes an ACU logo and these words about A.B. the innovator: Evangelist and Educator Founder and President Abilene Christian University Abilene, Texas 1906

“No one can measure the great good that can come from a single person who dares to dream and enters the arena to bring it about,” Price wrote to ACU in a 2008 letter in which he proposed his plan to build a bigger memorial to honor Barret. “Such brave souls deserve to be remembered long after the sun has gone down in their life.” The railway that once brought students to Barret’s new school in Abilene now mostly carries coal and oil and grain. But his college, now an award-winning university of 4,600 students, thrives a few miles northeast of its first campus. Barret’s sun has set, but thanks to several observant alumni, words etched near two hilltops in Texas and Tennessee now mark his lifelong interest in higher education and a university that has far exceeded the most optimistic of his dreams. 䊱 See for more about both markers.

Legacy E M E R I T I C R E AT E A

Educating students for Christian service and leadership around the world. Far more than a slogan, ACU’s mission is a description of the lives of its people. Emeriti C.G. and Barbara (Morlan ’45) Gray are the second of four generations whose lives are intertwined with ACU. Barbara’s parents, Dr. G.C. and Alma (Adams ’47) Morlan, were academic leaders and innovators at Abilene Christian for more than 40 years. Their sons John (’78), David (’79) and Cary (’82) earned ACU degrees, and today, the Grays are joined by four grandchildren who are Wildcats. C.G. and Barbara continue their service to ACU as emeriti, creating a legacy in service to the community of Abilene and children who need help learning to read. And as members of the Heritage Society, the Grays join other colleagues in assuring the transition of values and valuables to support the students of ACU. Contact The ACU Foundation for assistance in planning your legacy. Ask for a copy of our new Wills Planning Guide and its companion volume, Provide and Protect.

Barbara (Morlan ’45) and C.G. Gray Barbara’s father, Dr. G.C. Morlan, had a hand in creating many ACU traditions, and wrote the words to “O Dear Christian College,” the school song. C.G. holds a photo of two of their grandsons who are current Wildcats: sophomore Matthew Gray (left) and senior Michael Gray.

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Abilene Christian University ACU Box 29132 Abilene, Texas 79699-9132 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

C O M I N G U P National SAT Test Date ...................................................................... June 2 National ACT Test Date, Wildcat Preview Day .................................... June 9 Alumni Event at Texas Rangers Baseball Game ................................ June 12 August Passport ...................................................................... August 19-21 Welcome Week ....................................................................... August 21-25

Opening Assembly ....................................................................... August 27 Lone Star Football Festival at Cowboys Stadium ACU vs. Tarleton State University (4 p.m.) .......................... September 15 106th Annual Summit ....................................................... September 16-19 Homecoming ......................................................................... October 18-21 JEREMY ENLOW

A Slam Dunk with Students The new Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center was an instant hit when it opened in September. From the Bullock and Anthony Lobby (at right) to intramural games at night, the Money Center has been visited more than 160,000 times in eight months. A staff of 58 students provide much of the day-to-day facility management and customer service. See pages 10-31 and

ACU Today Winter 2012  

Alumni magazine for Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas

ACU Today Winter 2012  

Alumni magazine for Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas