ACU Today Winter-Spring 2017

Page 1


Winter-Spring 2017

A bilene Chr isti a n Uni v er sit y

Master Maker Nike innovator Tobie Hatfield helps the athlete in everyone succeed

Vision in Action

Bill Gilbreth

Outlive Your Life Award

Abel Alvarez

ACU Online Students


ACU Today is published twice a year by the Office of University Marketing at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas.


or years, one of the most popular parts of this magazine has been the EXperiences section, and for



good reason. ACU people have always enjoyed keeping up with one another and the news from their busy lives. On those pages from this issue alone we learn about marriages, births and adoptions; job and address changes; books Dr. Phil Schubert greets ACU students at Wildcat authored and awards won; and those Week in August 2016. elected to important roles in public office. Photos of future Wildcats are always a big hit (watch our next issue when we celebrate the arrival of our first freshmen who once appeared in ACU Today nearly 20 years ago in their BabyWear). Other content in EXperiences celebrates some of the newsmakers whose accomplishments help raise the visibility of our alma mater in significant ways. It’s always hard to read, however, about those who have passed on. We have lost some of our most beloved heroes and heroines in recent years, selfless men and women on whose shoulders we stand today at this great university. Their professional and personal accomplishments are remarkable, their legacies a shining example of what it means to outlive one’s life in the service of Christian higher education at ACU. One of the best and most meaningful ways to honor them and others like them is to begin or contribute to an endowed scholarship in their names. With your help, we recently surpassed our $50 million Partnering in the Journey campaign to benefit student scholarships, and the results were amazing: 345 of our endowments benefitted from more than 6,600 gifts to scholarship funds, and 804 people made first-time gifts for this purpose. Named scholarship funds at ACU recognize all kinds of people and meaningful relationships: family members, friends, teachers, coaches, teammates, ministers, churches and employers. Many scholarships recognize emeriti faculty and staff whose mentoring has left an indelible impression, either through memorial gifts or ones made to show honor today while it can be fully expressed and appreciated. The difference such scholarships make is life-changing and if you benefitted from a scholarship at ACU, you know what I mean. Our students have for years participated in writing thank-you notes to donors; this past November some 500 of them took part in Project Gratitude, a concentrated event for many to express individual appreciation together on multiple days. Be sure to read some of the heartfelt words shared with their benefactors on page 63 of this issue. Your generosity is legendary; its impact eternal. Thank you for believing in ACU and our talented students. Your kindness in the form of scholarship gifts empowers them to make a real difference in the world.

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

Editor: Ron Hadfield (’79) Assistant Editor: Robin (Ward ’82) Saylor Associate Editor: Katie (Noah ’06) Gibson Sports Editor: Lance Fleming (’92) Contributing Writers This Issue: Amy (Nichols ’92) Boone, Sarah Carlson (’06), Judy Chambers, Katie (Noah ’06) Gibson, Chris Macaluso Contributing Photographers This Issue: Will Alexander, Jerilee Bennett, Becca Bortnick, Marc Bourget, Steve Butman, Amanda Carpenter, Richard Carson, Oriol Plans-Casal, Lindsey (Hoskins ’03) Cotton, Brandi Jo (Magee ’06) Deloney, Rolando Diaz (’79), Glen E. Ellman, Jeremy Enlow, EV Photography, Morgan Fenoglio, James Fitzgerald III, Josh Fralick, Eric Fridge, David Gordon, Rendi (Young ’83) Hahn, Mary Hendrix, Homer Hillis, Rachael Hubbard, Kim Jew Photography, Dustin Koctar (’09), Lydia Lawson (’17), Kim Leeson, Mike Mulholland, Mitchell Communications Group, Tim Nelson, Nike, Paramount Pictures, Clark Potts (’53), Colton Powell (’19), Mark Rogers (’03), Samaritan’s Purse, Steve Sanders, Schreiner University, Ashlyn Stewart (’17), Master SGT. Jospeh Swafford, Michael Wade, Paul White (’68), Darren Wilson, Sara Yarbrough (’17), Contributing Graphic Designers/Illustrators This Issue: Ron Finger, Greg Golden (’87), Holly Harrell, Mark Houston (’96), Todd Mullins, Amy Willis

ADVISORY COMMITTEE Administration: Suzanne Allmon (’79), Dr. Gary D. McCaleb (’64), Dr. Robert Rhodes Advancement: Jim Orr, J.D. (’86), Billie Currey, J.D. (’70), Sarah Carlson (’06)   Alumni Relations: Craig Fisher (’92), Jama (Fry ’97) Cadle, Samantha (Bickett ’01) Adkins Marketing: Jason Groves (’00)  Student Life: Chris Riley, J.D. (’00), Prentice Ashford (’13) Ex-officio: Dr. Phil Schubert (’91)

CORRESPONDENCE ACU Today: ACU Alumni Association: Record Changes: ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132, 325-674-2620

ON THE WEB Abilene Christian University: ACU Today Blog: Address changes and EXperiences: ACU Advancement Office (Exceptional Fund, Gift Records): ACU Alumni Website: Find Us on Facebook: Follow Us on Twitter: Follow Us on Instagram:

ThisISSUE 2 6 14 20 26 30 34

Its surgically clipped ear reflecting membership in ACU’s Feral Cat Initiative, this young American Shorthair is one of 70 true wild cats who live on campus. See page 47 for more about the program. (Photograph by Kim Leeson)


Former ACU pole vaulter Tobie Hatfield (’87) leads Nike’s Innovation Kitchen (Illustration by Ron Finger, based on a photograph by James Fitzgerald III).

Horizons Tobie Hatfield: Nike’s Master Maker Vision in Action Update Bill Gilbreth: A Tiger in My Hometown Dewby Ray: Outlive Your Life Award Abel Alvarez: Sharing a Kidney and a Faith ACU Online Students 40 ACU 101 42 #ACU 44 The Bookcase 46 Hilltop View 50 Academic News

54 Campus News 58 Wildcat Sports 63 Your Gifts at Work 64 EXperiences 78 Second Glance


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


Winter-Spring 2017



Winter-Spring 2017



HORI Z ONS Always a Tiger: A teammate’s bond endures through the years One of the first Detroit Tiger teammates to congratulate Bill Gilbreth (’69) after he pitched a complete-game victory June 25, 1971, was veteran outfielder Al Kaline. Now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, he and fellow Tiger great Willie Horton greeted Gilbreth warmly last summer when the former ACU standout returned to Detroit for the 45th anniversary of that game. Kaline, age 81, and Horton, 74, are special assistants to the Tigers’ general manager and among the most popular players in history for the club, which is one of eight founding teams of the American League. Read more about Gilbreth’s memorable trip on pages 20-25.

LEFT Al Kaline says goodbye to Bill Gilbreth (’69) following a meeting in the Tigers’ front office June 25, 2016 – the first time the former Detroit teammates had seen each other in more than four decades.


BELOW Hall of Famer Al Kaline (left), who hit a homer in rookie Bill Gilbreth’s first MLB game, offers a handshake to the former ACU baseball star pitcher at the end of their June 25, 1971, game in Tiger Stadium with the Cleveland Indians.


Winter-Spring 2017



Winter-Spring 2017



HORI Z ONS Wildcats, Dyess Air Force Base bring some Abilene hospitality with them to Colorado A Lockheed-Martin C-130J Super Hercules from Abilene’s Dyess Air Force Base made the trip to Colorado on Sept. 3, 2016, when the Wildcats opened their season with a game against the Air Force Academy. The plane performed a ceremonial pregame flyover of Falcon Stadium prior to the contest, which Air Force won, 37-21. The plane and others like it have been part of the Dyess 317th Airlift Group since 1997 and supported U.S. combat operations in the Middle East. The 317th is the largest C-130J unit in the world and has contributed to humanitarian relief efforts following hurricanes, civil wars and, in 2015, the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.



ACU mascot Willie the Wildcat met the live Air Force Academy falcon trained by cadet Ben Daley (right) before the game Sept. 3, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo.



Winter-Spring 2017





Winter-Spring 2017




efore there was a “maker movement,” there was Bill Bowerman. Before there was Tobie Hatfield (’87), innovator, there was Tobie Hatfield, pole vaulter. It was Bowerman who introduced Hatfield to innovation. The son of a former Oregon state senator and governor, Bowerman was head track and field coach of the University of Oregon and the 1972 U.S. Olympic team in Munich before co-founding Nike Inc. Hatfield was 1978 Class 2A state champion in the pole vault as a junior for Central Linn High School in Halsey, Ore., where his father coached nine state championship teams and his brother won three Oregon vault titles. One day the 18-year-old senior received an unexpected call from Bowerman, who asked Hatfield to come to his shoe lab in downtown Eugene. Bowerman gave Hatfield the name of a doctor, and told him to get X-rays of his feet and come back in a week. “I was curious because I was not injured at the time,” Hatfield remembers. “But you never disobeyed Mr. Bowerman.” When Hatfield returned to the lab, Bowerman placed a new pair of spikes on a table in Hatfield’s school colors, purple and white. “Ah, nice,” Hatfield responded. “Turn them over,” Bowerman said. Hatfield turned the shoes over and saw “a crazy mess where it appeared (Bowerman) drilled new holes for spike receptacles.” “That is why I had your feet X-rayed,” Bowerman said, “so I could see where your bones are in your feet

and place the spikes appropriately.” “Wow,” Hatfield thought. “I didn’t know that was even important.” Thirty-eight years later, Hatfield says, “I certainly do now.” He adds, “That’s when I started to learn about innovation. I always wanted to do things differently from others. Innovation best happens when you don’t conform yourself to the same standards as everyone else. … We all can invent and think differently to push the boundaries of problem-solving if we ask ‘what if?’ questions and then simply just go try some things and know there will be more failures than successes and be OK with that.” Surely by now Hatfield has had more successes than failures. A former ACU Wildcat vaulter and assistant coach, Hatfield followed in Bowerman’s footsteps and joined Nike in 1990. There, he works in Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, a think tank producing trendsetting sports products and technologies. His title: senior director of athlete innovations. His business card: Tobie Hatfield, Innovator. “Certainly all of my athletic career and all the coaching I learned from my dad and my other coaches gave me the foundation to ‘listen to the voice of the athlete,’ ” Hatfield explained. The athletes he has listened to and developed shoes for need no introduction. They include Michael Johnson, Marion Jones, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Mary Decker Slaney, Ashton Eaton, Misty May Treanor, Troy Polamalu, Maria Sharapova, Tiger Woods and fellow vaulters Tim Mack, Stacy Dragila, Sandi Morris and Renaud Lavillenie – to name just a few. In recent years, Hatfield has turned his attention to creating and engineering better footwear for paraathletes and others with disabilities. Nike’s mission statement comes from a Bowerman tenet: “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

“That means everybody,” Hatfield says, “and we never forget that.”


obie Dean Hatfield was born Oct. 9, 1960, in Corvallis, Ore. His father, Tinker Hatfield Sr., was a high school track and field coach after his collegiate playing career in football and track and field at Pacific College in Forest Grove, Ore. He was the national high school Coach of the Year in 1976, and he coached Olympic teams for Taiwan in 1980 and the Philippines in 1984. Tobie’s older brother, Tinker Jr., won three state championships in the vault for Central Linn, competed for legendary coaches Bowerman and Bill Dellinger at UO, where he was a teammate of Steve Prefontaine, held the Ducks’ vault record at 17’4” and placed sixth at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1976. Tinker Jr. was eight years older than Tobie. “Because of our age difference, he was both a brother and

Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman

a father to me,” Tobie said. “We were best friends then and still are today. He was a true mentor to me. That’s why I got into pole vaulting because he did it. I thought I was supposed to do it too.” Tobie also observed his older brother begin his creative career. “Watching my brother paint and ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017


sketch during my youth years was fascinating to me,” Tobie said of Tinker Jr., who is Nike’s vice president of special projects. In Tobie’s junior year at Central Linn, he was ranked fourth in the state at 13’2”. The top-ranked vaulter was Tim Bright (’83) of Phoenix, Ore., who later became a Wildcat vaulter and decathlete, NCAA Division II and American champion, and three-time Olympian. At the 1978 state meet, Tobie had what he calls “a breakout meet.” He vaulted a personal record 14’6” to

Unable to compete in 1979, Tobie accompanied his father to Taiwan after graduation for about 15 months to help Tinker Sr. coach that nation’s Olympic team. It was in Taiwan that Tobie first met coach Don W. Hood (’55) from ACU. Hood suggested that Hatfield attend Mt. San Antonio College, a community college in Walnut, Calif., and train with vault coach Dan Ripley, former world indoor record holder and teammate on the Pacific Coast Club with former ACU vaulter Billy Olson (’81).

did not arrive in Los Angeles, ruining his hopes for a top-three finish. He raised his collegiate best to 16’5” the following season, competing unattached while coaching Wildcat vaulters. “I loved being at ACU,” Hatfield said. “It was rough the first couple of weeks because I was so homesick. But a couple of the track guys took me under their wings and said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’ “The scenery wasn’t what I was


U.S. sprint legend Michael Johnson


– DON D. HOOD (’87)

upset Bright and give Central Linn the necessary points for the team championship. “That win put us over the top for the state championship,” Hatfield said. “My dad didn’t tell me we would win the meet if I won the vault.” Hatfield enrolled at South Eugene High School his senior year. But he never got to compete for the Axemen in Bowerman’s custom-made spikes. While lifting weights that winter, Hatfield broke a bone in his spine that eventually took three years to heal. 8

Winter-Spring 2017


Hatfield competed for Mt. SAC in 1982 and 1983 and came to ACU in 1984 with his wife, Pearl, whom he married in 1980 in Taiwan. He competed in purple and white with Wildcat teams that won NCAA Division II championships in 1984, 1985 and 1986, and he also claimed team titles in 1987 and 1988 as an assistant coach. He earned all-America honors in 1986 by placing seventh at the NCAA meet with 15’11” despite using borrowed vaulting poles because his

used to,” he added, “but the people helped me get over it. The people made up for the lack of scenery. I had to reset my mind. ‘There’s a reason I’m in this place.’ I couldn’t have gotten through it on my own. … I learned so much.” Hatfield said ACU felt like a family. “It felt that way with the teachers and students and my teammates. It’s easier to do that at ACU,” he said. “And having daily Chapel was a new experience for me and really awe-inspiring. I really enjoyed that.

I was enthralled and was getting to know my own spiritual needs.” One of his Wildcat teammates, Don D. Hood (’87), now track and field coach at Brownwood High School, said Hatfield was “eternally optimistic and always brought his best to whatever he did. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t enjoy being around Tobie. He had a way to make you feel good about yourself. “I thought he would make a tremendous coach,” Hood continued. “He worked very hard at being technically correct at everything he

returning to Oregon to join his brother and Bowerman at Nike and help care for his father, who was ill with cancer. (His father died in 1996, Bowerman in 1999.) Hatfield saw Nike “as a perfect marriage of sport and business that was full of ex-athletes and coaches. And it was a homegrown company that was familiar to me, knowing the main players already. I was home.” He moved in July 1990 to Portland and began working in a new department for Nike managing materials and working with


atfield considers himself an innovator, not a designer. “That encompasses all of it,” he said. “I like that term better. In innovation, we operate in extremes. People get nervous when you do things that have never been done before.” His first individual project was a new sprint spike for Michael Johnson, who was training for a successful attempt to win the 200- and 400-meter dashes in Atlanta in 1996 – a first for a male athlete at the Olympic Games.


did, always learning and thinking about better ways to do things. “Looking back, I can see now how he was the right guy to do what he is doing now – a perfectionist, creative, driven and competitive while still being very much aware of others and wanting to serve and assist those around him,” Hood said. Equipped with a B.S. degree in physical education, anatomy and physiology from ACU, Hatfield served as assistant coach at Wichita State University in 1989 and 1990 before


A wall behind Hatfield at Nike’s corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., is signed by athletes with whom Nike has collaborated. Michael Johnson’s gold spikes, which Hatfield designed, premiered at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

designers, developers and vendors who would show Tobie new materials for the company to consider. Nike sent him to Taiwan from 1993-97 to work in research and development. “That’s where I really learned how to create shoes,” he said. “It was fun. I had my own sample room to work in. It was intimidating and exhilarating.”

“Because of my track and field background, and I knew his coach at Baylor, it was easier for me to talk to Michael and get on his level,” Hatfield said. “He was the perfect athlete for me to have as my first athlete and develop a new sprint spike.” Johnson’s gold shoes, never sold commercially by Nike, were the first with spikes molded into the sole to eliminate weight – not screwed into a spike receptacle. They were the ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017





Amputee marathon runner and triathlete Sarah Reinertsen consults with Hatfield on the Nike Sole.


Winter-Spring 2017


Hatfield presents Matthew Walzer with the first pair of Nike Flyease shoes.


lightest shoes ever made for that level of competition – 3.9 ounces, or 112 grams, each. “I wanted it extremely lightweight,” Johnson told “I wanted it to be extremely stable. I wanted it to work with my foot and specifically with how my foot was interacting with the track around the bend and down the straight. And I wanted it to look very cool.” Hatfield worked more than a year to develop Johnson’s new shoes. But then the Dallas native asked, “Can you make it gold?” “Yeah, absolutely,” Hatfield answered. “I don’t think they really thought I was serious,” Johnson added. “Then it dawned on them. He’s really going to wear gold shoes.” For Sydney in 2000, where Johnson won another 400 title, Hatfield made the shoes even lighter and more aerodynamic – and he added .08 troy ounces of pure 24K gold to each shoe. “Cutting my teeth on innovation with Michael,” Hatfield told, “those were great days for me to feel a little bit like Bowerman and what he was trying to do in the early days of Nike.” Other well-publicized products developed by Hatfield include the Nike Sole and the Flyease. The original Nike Sole was made for amputee athlete Sarah Reinertsen, marathon runner and the first female above-the-knee amputee to complete the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii. Reinertsen had been using a combination of glue, tape and Velcro to affix a sole cut from a running shoe to her carbon fiber prosthetic blade. “That’s just not acceptable,” Hatfield said. “We can do better.” So he led Nike’s development of a lightweight, durable composite sole that can easily and securely be attached to a prosthetic blade. “The Nike Sole is a shining example of our passion and commitment to

serve athletes and provide them the solutions they need to achieve their goals,” Hatfield said. Flyease, heralded as a Time Invention of the Year, was developed after a Florida teenager, Matthew Walzer, wrote Nike for a solution to a problem. He overcame many of the challenges presented by cerebral palsy, but he still couldn’t manage some everyday tasks. “My dream is to go to college without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day,” he wrote. “As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”

Enter Tobie Hatfield, father of three, coach, athlete, listener, innovator. Hatfield developed an entry-and-closure system that opens in the back of the shoe and features a wrap-around zipper. Walzer now wears his Nikes around campus at Florida Gulf Coast University. Flyease was introduced to the public in the Zoom Soldier 8 in Nike’s LeBron James series. “It’s not always about trying to win a gold medal or achieve a world record,” Hatfield said of his innovative work, which benefits the everyday person as much as the world-class athlete. “It’s so important for quality of life.” 


Winter -Spring 2017






place where innovation and creativity converge. That’s how director Dr. Nil Santana (’00 M.S.) describes ACU’s Maker Lab, which for the past three years has provided space and tools that allow students to give form to their ideas. “The Maker Lab gives our students the opportunity to develop valuable skills in tinkering, discovery and ingenuity that allow them to fully participate in shaping the world around them,” said Santana, assistant professor of art and design. “Maker” spaces are becoming more Santana popular at universities because it is a natural way of learning by doing, he said. From prosthetic hands created by students in the Master of Science in occupational therapy program to furniture fabricated by students in the art and design department, the Maker Lab allows users to solve problems and create working prototypes of their solutions. Winter-Spring 2017


Students generate ideas in design spaces equipped with drawing boards and computers, then bring their ideas to life using the latest technology in laser cutters, computer-controlled routers and 3D printers, along with more traditional tools. The Maker Lab reflects a broader concept called “Maker Movement” – a global subculture focused on rapid fabrication of innovative products addressing personal interests and broader societal problems. ACU’s occupational therapy students put this problem-solving approach into action as part of their degree plan. Introduction to Making, a graduate-level course offered to OT students, was developed to provide an immersive understanding of design principles, creative problem-solving and prototyping, said Santana, who co-teaches the class with associate professor and OT program director

Dr. Hope Martin and assistant professor Donna Walls. During the semester, students are challenged to incorporate design methodology into their OT practice by developing products pertaining to assistive technology and rehabilitation, Santana said. Solutions developed by the students have ranged from wheelchair attachments to devices for the visually impaired. Students also are challenged to modify and improve off-the-shelf rehab products. One of their class projects – building prosthetic hands with a 3D printer – was featured in the May 2016 issue of OT Practice, a magazine produced by the American Occupational Therapy Association. Prosthetic limbs that normally cost patients $2,500-$10,000 were created in the Maker Lab for less than $50 each, opening the door to help a larger number of underserved populations. Another prototype, created to treat a painful foot condition called plantar fasciitis, was the subject of a video that won the New Media Consortium and Educause Horizon Report video competition, which

summer Maker Academy. “It’s common for teachers to bring their students on tours of our space,” Santana said. “We engage their students with fun, informative, hands-on activities to spark their imagination and creativity. The students learn a few STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) principles without noticing.” That, said Santana, is learning by doing at its best. 


“They explore an iterative design process, testing ideas without necessarily knowing exactly what the final solution might look like. But through brainstorming, prototyping, testing and failing, they quickly move forward and end up with clever alternatives. The challenge is fast-paced, and also fosters collaboration and teamwork.” In addition, the ACU lab has become an ambassador for K-12 schools by offering tours, short “making” sessions and a

Dr. Nil Santana helps students in summertime Maker Academy sessions learn about robotics (previous page) and printmaking.



highlighted educational technology at universities. Occupational therapy students aren’t the only ones to use the space as a part of their academic learning. Any student – graduate or undergraduate – is invited to use the Maker Lab for class assignments or self-initiated projects. Art and design faculty members regularly take their students to the lab where they make objects such as chairs, coffee tables, birdhouses, lamps and architectural models, Santana said. Engineering students come to the Maker Lab for their class lab assignments. “We have a dedicated room filled with physics lab apparatus, and it is always fun to see them testing their experiments,” he said. Also, for the past two years, the Maker Lab has been leading a design challenge for the Cornerstone freshman class during the Creative Thinking week. “Students are challenged to think creatively as they attempt to solve a specific problem, given time and material restraints,” Santana said.

Graduate occupational therapy students such as Kayce Leech (left) used the Maker Lab to design and produce prosthetic hands during their Introduction to Making course.


Winter-Spring 2017


EXCEPTIONAL | ACU’s Vision to become the premier university for

the education of Christ-centered global leaders means building upon areas of strength and distinctiveness, and delivering a unique, Christ-centered experience that draws students into community.


ACU alum oversees construction of Wildcat Stadium


ean Cagle (’06) is almost at a loss for words when he tries to describe how he thinks fans will feel once Wildcat Stadium opens in Fall 2017. “I don’t think many people have a sense of the magnitude of this project right now,” says Cagle, project manager for the stadium through Hoar Construction. “They have Shotwell Stadium as their benchmark. But the day we open the gates to the new stadium, they’ll be completely … I don’t even know the word.


Winter-Spring 2017


No – flabbergasted! It’s huge. It’s just huge.” Those gates will open for the first home football game Sept. 16, 2017, with a team led by new head coach Adam Dorrel (see page 58). With that, a new era will begin for Abilene Christian. Part of the $95 million Vision in Action initiative that launched in 2014, Wildcat Stadium will bring football back to campus for the first time in more than 50 years and provide a home for

the football team in its first season of full NCAA Division I eligibility. The VIA project list is more than halfway complete; the new Elmer Gray Stadium opened in April 2015, followed by the Engineering and Physics Laboratories at Bennett Gymnasium that August and the first phase of renovations to Onstead in November. Halbert-Walling opened for classes January 2017 for most of the sciences, and phase two of Onstead, formerly the Foster Science Building, is set for completion in January 2018. That phase includes much-needed

Hoar Construction project manager Sean Cagle (’06) surveys work at Wildcat Stadium.


Winter-Spring 2017


renovation for the 70-year-old building, including a new roof; new paint, flooring and ceilings; additional restrooms; updated mechanical systems and a new sprinkler system; and collaborative areas to make better use of the available space while providing a more inviting atmosphere for students, faculty, staff and visitors. “It’s an exciting time to be at ACU as our campus transforms,” says Scot Colley (’04), director of construction and risk management. “It’s rewarding to see students working in and sharing newly created spaces.”

Familiar ground

Cagle practically majored in Wildcat Stadium. The former football player and business major has spent most of his young career at Hoar Construction, working his way up from an intern to project manager for one of his alma mater’s biggest projects to date. (He’s pretty sure he earned an A in a project management class taught by 1993 graduate Dr. Brad Crisp, now dean of the College of Business Administration.) It’s a natural fit, he says, even though his path into the industry wasn’t conventional. Cagle learned the business side of construction thanks to his time at ACU, but not the science of it – how to work with soil, concrete, steel, etc. That’s the reverse of what people with construction science degrees experience. So, after working for Hoar for several years, including involvement with several Abilene and ACU projects such as the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center, he left to work with a commercial real estate developer.


Winter-Spring 2017


Crates of furniture await unpacking in Halbert-Walling’s three-story lobby, where views reveal new vistas of campus. Most of the building consists of much-needed laboratories for ACU’s highly respected science programs.



Winter-Spring 2017


The five-story Chuck Sitton Tower will house club, suite and press levels of Wildcat Stadium.

He had the opportunity to return to Hoar in 2015 with his first assignment being the new Wildcat Stadium. Because of his experiences, he was ready to take the lead on the project. “Earning a business degree from ACU helped me have opportunities that might not have happened otherwise,” he says. “Although my career in this industry is seemingly short by some standards, God has guided me to use the talents He has given me for His good. I get to have a major impact on numerous people’s lives and that’s one of the biggest rewards I could ever ask for.” he says. His ACU background, as a student and football player, is invaluable. Standing at the construction site on the north side of campus, Cagle can easily imagine what student-athletes

Stay up to date on the stadium by following its progress on our construction cams. Visit to find a link and to learn more about Vision in Action initiatives.


Winter-Spring 2017


will likely think and feel in the locker rooms and on the field. They’ll want to see their faces on the Wessel Scoreboard video screen and hear their names announced, and gain a keen sense of the deep history of ACU’s football program, which dates back to 1919. He knows it’s what he would have enjoyed back when it was his turn to don the purple and white. “You can’t have gone down the path I’ve gone down and come back here to work on this project and not have a sense of pride about it,” Cagle says. The countdown continues to the stadium’s first on-campus home game Sept. 16, 2017, against Houston Baptist University, as does final fundraising for the facility. Naming opportunities are available, such as for seats, at The north side of campus already has been dramatically transformed as the five-story tower housing

sense of pride “That is starting to build

in the student body and among alumni. It’s time to take ownership and say, ‘This is our house. That’s our name on the field. This is ours.’ ” – SEAN CAGLE

the club, suite and press levels redefines the horizon in northeast Abilene. In October, it was announced that thanks to an additional $3 million gift from the Halberts, the tower would be named for David D. Halbert’s best friend and former ACU all-America defensive back, the late Chuck Sitton (’78). The gift speaks to not only Halbert’s friendship with Sitton, but

to the nature of ACU’s community and the relationships forged during each student’s time on the Hill. It’s the kind of community its members return to, whether to build a stadium or simply enjoy it come Fall 2017. Cagle says he’s encouraged by what he sees and hears around campus and in the community about Wildcat Stadium. As it rises into the West Texas sky and becomes a landmark along Ambler Avenue, expectations for ACU football’s new home are just as large. “That sense of pride is starting to build in the student body and among alumni,” Cagle says. “It’s time to take ownership and say, ‘This is our house. That’s our name on the field. This is ours.’ ” 

To leave your mark on Wildcat Stadium and help us cross the goal line, visit


Winter-Spring 2017


On the 45th anniversary of his MLB debut as a Tigers’ pitcher, Bill Gilbreth leans on a railing in left-center field at Comerica Park in Detroit.


Winter-Spring 2017






a M



Wildcat star Bill Gilbreth returns to his MLB roots, 45 years later








the son of a former ballplayer who once battled barnstorming stars of MLB and the Negro Leagues, living in a house in which each Tigers ballgame was on the radio, and everyone knew the score.

orty-five years ago, William Freeman Gilbreth arrived in my hometown of Detroit with no discernable fanfare, a rookie call-up from the Mudhens, the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate 60 miles away in Toledo, Ohio. He was about to become the first ACU graduate ever to play Major League Baseball, and he was lost. It was June 24, 1971, and he had driven north on Interstate 75 to the intersection of Michigan and Trumbull avenues – “The Corner,” a landmark in the Corktown neighborhood where Tigers Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser and other baseball heroes like Babe Ruth once played. Bill rolled down his


Turning regret into opportunity

window on a hot summer afternoon to ask directions to Tiger Stadium. “Uh, it’s right there,” the man said, pointing across the intersection to the large white edifice that looked from that angle more like another metal-faced Rust Belt factory than a historic ballpark. I was 14 years old at the time, an avid fan of my hometown team,

We never met, the rookie pitcher and I, although we lived a little more than two miles apart, each a couple of blocks off Telegraph Road in the suburbs west of downtown. We likely shopped in the same stores, probably ate at the same restaurants. We attended congregations with rival teams in the same church softball league. He and his family lived in a rental house belonging to all-star first baseman Stormin’ Norman Cash, a fellow Texan from tiny Justiceburg, south of Lubbock. I listened to Bill’s first game the next night, a sparkling


Winter-Spring 2017


“Standing on that mound again was the most amazing thing.” complete-game June 25 win over the Cleveland Indians. Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell told WJR-AM 760 listeners that Bill was from “little Abilene Christian.” I was awestruck hearing those words for the first time on the air. I knew of other alumni in my hometown who had attended ACU, but there was beloved Ernie, the gravy-smooth Georgia voice from the transistor radio under my pillow, extolling the skills of the fireballing young lefthanded pitcher from West Texas. Forty-five years later, Bill Gilbreth and I are dear friends. He squeezes my shoulder hard and calls me Lefty and signs his email messages, “Ragarm.” We’ve both pitched for the Wildcats, his collegiate career towering over mine. His wife, Phyllis (Collier ’69), was my son’s English teacher and guidance counselor at Abilene Christian Schools, where her “We’re all going to Heaven, and we’re all going to college” mantra has powerfully influenced a couple generations of students. We have for years enjoyed recounting Tiger tales together, and I have listened to Bill describe his MLB experience with wistfulness and self-deprecating humility. “You know, I’ve never been back to Dee-troit,” he would say. “They don’t remember me.” He stayed in touch with teammates by email, but his tax-season responsibilities as an accountant precluded him from joining them in Lakeland, Fla., for their spring training get-togethers. The Tigers invited him back for the opening of Comerica Park in 2000, and a look at a commemorative brick bearing his name on the Walk of Fame outside the stadium. “I was a nobody,” he’d regularly say of his five seasons in the minors and majors, including a season with the California Angels. 22

Winter-Spring 2017


There was always a fleeting hint of regret in his voice. Thirty-five years went by. Forty years. The span grew, and the memories faded. Determined to reverse the trend, I helped arrange for his former catcher-coach at Double-A Montgomery (Ala.) to give him a surprise call a couple years ago. That would be Jim Leyland, one of only seven managers in history to pilot American League (Detroit) and National League (Florida) teams to pennants, winning three straight division crowns with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the World Series in 1997 with the Marlins. “Jimmy” phoned “Billy” and they relived old times, a call that put a bounce back in Bill’s step but did not lead any closer to a reunion. But it planted a seed. I looked at the Tigers’ schedule this spring and noticed a game on June 25, but not just against any team. It was Cleveland, the same Indians franchise against whom Bill debuted 45 years ago to the day. I phoned Dr. Gary McCaleb (’64), ACU’s longtime vice president and also a former Wildcat baseball player. We began to hatch a plan: If Bill wasn’t going to return to Detroit, we would take him. As executive director of ACU’s Center for Building Community and former mayor of Abilene, McCaleb had an interest in the remarkable economic and urban renewal ongoing in Motown. I offered to give him a guided tour. The Tigers were gracious in their interest in hosting Bill’s


return, and the wheels began to move forward on a trip we hoped would bring our friend’s MLB career full circle. We broke the news to him one night in May at a Texas Rangers game, withholding key details but asking him to trust us to make it worth his time. McCaleb has known Gilbreth 50 years or more, and the two of them filled key roles in bringing baseball back to campus in 1991 and in raising funds to build Crutcher Scott Field, where the Wildcats now play. And he’s a fellow baseball aficionado. “You know, I’m a nobody up there,” Gilbreth reminded. “We’ll see about that,” I replied.

A fast-rising star

Seldom does a modern-era MLB player skip the minor leagues and jump from high school to the majors. Tigers’ icon Al Kaline, a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, did it at age 18. It’s even more rare for one to never have played for a high school team at all, yet Tigers’ history includes two such standouts. One was Ron LeFlore, whom manager Billy Martin scouted while the speedy outfielder played for Jackson (Mich.) State Penitentiary while serving a sentence for armed robbery. He signed with Detroit, his hometown, after a one-day parole and tryout. He later led the American League in stolen bases and played in the 1976 All-Star Game. Bill Gilbreth is the other.

INSET When it closed in 1999, Detroit’s Tiger Stadium was tied with Boston’s Fenway Park as the oldest in MLB. Both opened the same day in 1912. Forty-five years later, Gilbreth stands on the pitcher’s mound at old Tiger Stadium, two days before it was demolished by construction crews building the Willie Horton Field of Dreams, a youth sports complex named after Bill’s former teammate.

The son of ACU’s 1953 Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Gilbreth didn’t play high school ball because Abilene Christian Schools didn’t field a team. He played sandlot ball instead, traveling summers with an amateur team coached by Toby Christian, who owned a popular local barbeque restaurant and whose son, Harold, would one day do the same. He signed with ACU because his mother, Orbie, received a faculty tuition discount for her and Penn’s only son. He starred for the Wildcats, throwing four no-hitters, leading the NCAA in strikeouts and intimidating batters far and wide. One was McCaleb, who recalled head coach Guy Scruggs (’27) asking teenager Gilbreth to throw batting practice to

his team, and everyone dreading it. “He struck everyone out,” McCaleb said. “We told him it was batting practice, not pitching practice.” The Tigers signed Gilbreth, 21, in the third round of the 1969 MLB draft and assigned him to the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Leafs of the Class A Carolina League, where he fashioned a record of 8-4 with a 3.06 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 94 innings. In 1970 he was the workhorse of the Class AA Montgomery Barons of the Southern League: 13-11 record, 2.48 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 221 innings. He was voted to each league’s all-star team. In spring training in 1970, he caught the eye of Tigers skipper Mayo Smith. “The kid’s delivery

reminds me of Whitey Ford,” Smith said in reference to the Yankees’ star southpaw. Gilbreth was Detroit’s seventh-ranked lefthander in Lakeland, behind Mickey Lolich, the 1968 World Series MVP. “That doesn’t mean a thing if he can pitch like they say he can,” said Smith, who managed the Tigers to their world title that year with a pitching staff led by Lolich and 31-game winner Denny McLain. Gilbreth was promoted to Class AAA Toledo to start the 1971 season, and was 7-9 with a 4.22 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 128 innings before the call-up to Detroit in June. There he joined a veteran club with its world champion core still intact: Lolich (who finished second in Cy Young voting at season’s end); hitting stars Kaline, Horton and Cash; catcher Bill Freehan; infielders Dick McAuliffe and Eddie Brinkman; and outfielders Mickey Stanley, Jim Northrup and Gates Brown. The 1971 Tigers finished second in the AL East with a 91-71 record, good enough to be a wild card in today’s expanded playoff system, but 12 games behind Baltimore and out of postseason luck back then. Gilbreth pitched in nine games, with a 2-1 record and a 4.80 ERA for manager ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017


The Comerica Park scoreboard welcomed Gilbreth as he met with current Detroit bench coach Gene Lamont, the starting catcher in Bill’s MLB debut June 25, 1971.

Billy Martin, whose name was often preceded by adjectives like fiery, embattled, mercurial. Or worse. Martin made a living of pulling talented teams out of the doldrums and to postseason success. He led four teams to divisional titles and the Yankees to consecutive AL pennants. He also usually alienated his employers and players along the way; he was hired and fired five times as skipper of the tumultuous Yankees, and was preparing for his sixth term as their manager when he died in 1989. “There I was, 23 years old, from what many considered a podunk town, with a team that had won the ’68 World Series,” Gilbreth said. “I mostly kept my ears and eyes open and my mouth shut.” Martin didn’t share Mayo Smith’s appraisal of Gilbreth as a starting pitcher, and had a lot to do with Bill’s undoing in Detroit. Gilbreth refused to throw at batters’ heads – “I hit enough of them accidently as it was,” he said – and to start the team fights Martin relished as a hard-drinking, hot-tempered brawler who was not above getting into fisticuffs with his own players. 24

Winter-Spring 2017


Former Detroit teammates Gilbreth, Al Kaline (center) and Willie Horton (right) renew their friendship in a conference room in the team’s front office.

But Gilbreth’s June 25 debut was magical: a complete-game 5-1 win and five strikeouts of Indian batters. Using a bat borrowed from Cash, he singled twice in four plate appearances in the days before the AL adopted the designated hitter role in its batting lineups. Horton and Kaline homered in the win. “Enjoy it, kid,” Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse said to Gilbreth during one of his plate appearances. “These things don’t happen often.” Gilbreth’s second game as starter was a six-inning no-decision in Boston against the Red Sox. He won his third start, a 3-1 three-hitter against New York in Tiger Stadium, the only Bronx run courtesy of a homer by captain Thurman Munson. Bill began the 1972 season in Toledo, where he was 5-3 with a

1.92 ERA, averaging 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings. Another call-up to Detroit didn’t fare as well, and he was sent back to Toledo to begin development as a closer while the Tigers won the AL East and lost in the ALCS to eventual World Series champ Oakland. The demotion and prospects of being a reliever in the bullpen didn’t sit well with him, and he returned to Abilene to help care for his ailing mother and to take a job in ACU’s alumni office. The California Angels signed him in 1974 to Class AAA Salt Lake City, where he was 1-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 71 innings. He moved up to the big-league club, appearing in three games. He made a lifelong friend of ace pitcher and fellow Texan Nolan Ryan, retired and came home for good.

“He struck everyone out. We told him it was batting practice, not pitching practice.” Welcome back to Motown

The Tigers could not have been better hosts for Gilbreth’s 2016 comeback, thanks to Elaine Lewis, the club’s vice president for community and public affairs. Our two-day stay in Detroit began with lunch at the Dearborn Country Club, where my boyhood pals Cory Rodriguez (’79) and Eric Vaughn (’92) – also former Wildcat baseball players from my congregation – made Gilbreth feel at home with stories and game programs and team yearbooks from Bill’s era. That evening we met Cory’s brother, Randy (’80), my roommate who was a freshman standout on the 1977 ACU team before moving on to a fine career at TCU, and whose son, Brady (’14), was a three-year letterman for the Wildcats. We received tickets from the Tigers behind the home dugout for Friday and Saturday night games. Gilbreth met Friday in a front-office conference room with Kaline and Horton, former teammates he admired and two of Motown’s living baseball legends. Only six players have bronze statues in centerfield at Comerica Park, Al and Willie among them. Kaline is “Mr. Tiger” to the organization and its legion of fans, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the face of the 115-year-old franchise. Horton grew up on the sandlots of Detroit, and when the city was torn apart by race riots in 1967, it was Willie who donned his uniform and walked the streets, making peace amid the gunfire and burning buildings. Next was a meeting on the field during batting practice with Tigers’ bench coach Gene Lamont, 1993 AL Manager of the Year and starting catcher of Gilbreth’s debut game in 1971. Behind them, Bill’s photo on the 6,000-square-foot video board accompanied a message:

“The Detroit Tigers welcome Bill Gilbreth to Comerica Park on the 45th anniversary of his major league debut.” Gilbreth grinned and shook his head in wonder after finding his commemorative brick on the Walk of Fame, near Comerica’s main gate. The second day started with Gilbreth signing memorabilia for an hour at our hotel: photos of his Topps 1971 baseball card, team photos, Tiger Stadium photos, bats – a trip down memory lane that had fellow breakfast diners looking on in wonder at who the former Detroit ballplayer at the corner table might be. He paused during signing for a phone call with an old friend, retired Tigers trainer Pio DiSalvo. At lunch, Gilbreth was a guest of honor at the annual meeting of the Mayo Smith Society at Hockeytown Cafe, across the street from Comerica. The speaker? Former teammate Lolich, who now walks with the aid of a cane but delivered a lively lecture and Q&A with some 200 fans from around the world. At our table during the luncheon, a middle-age fan recognized Gilbreth’s name. “You were that lefty pitcher from Texas, right?” he asked. I shot a quick glance at McCaleb, who joined me in smiling. “Yessir, that was me,” Bill replied. Before Saturday night’s game, we drove to the corner of Michigan and Trumbull for a look at what’s left of Tiger Stadium: basically an overgrown infield, lovingly cared for over six seasons by the all-volunteer Navin Field Grounds Crew after the stadium’s walls and grandstands were removed by a demolition team. From 2010-16, Motown’s most distinguished old ballyard was reduced to a site for informal pickup games, open to anyone who wanted to run the bases or play catch with a sibling or son. The site was locked

– DR. GARY McCALEB (’64)

up tight, though, behind a construction zone fence where the Willie Horton Field of Dreams will soon rise as a much-needed youth sports complex. A security guard was kind to let the former Tiger player and visitors from Texas in for a look. “Make it quick,” he said. Wearing a Tigers’ cap, Gilbreth smiled broadly, posing for photos on the mound, not looking like a nobody at all. Instead, he unwittingly became the last Tiger to toe the rubber at The Corner. Two days later, work crews tore up the field for good. “I can’t believe y’all would do this for me,” Gilbreth said more than once that weekend, and many times since. “Standing on that mound again was the most amazing thing.” Baseball dreams can be fleeting. Just ask Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, a family physician in Shoeless Joe, the 1982 book – made into the 1989 movie Field of Dreams – in which his true story came to life as the man whose MLB career consisted of a single game in 1905 for the New York Giants. For every longstanding star and Hall of Famer, there are tens of thousands of others whose professional baseball dreams are short-lived at best. “We are all failed baseball players,” George Will has written, and it’s true. William Freeman Gilbreth was one of the lucky ones, the good ones. His career didn’t end up like he wanted, but he was a Wildcat from little Abilene Christian and for a couple of seasons and a few shining moments in this failed ballplayer’s young life, he was a Tiger in my hometown. The MLB record book and a brick outside the park say it’s so. 

See Bonus Coverage at


Winter-Spring 2017




ne of the highlights of Bill Gilbreth’s return trip to Detroit last June was his discovery of a commemorative brick paver recognizing him on the club’s Walk of Fame around Comerica Park. The Tigers have placed a paver inscribed with their Old English D logo and the

name, position and years of service for each of the more than 1,600 men to play or coach for the franchise at the MLB level since it helped found the American League in 1901. Gilbreth’s brick is just inside Gate A, the main entry to Comerica. As a former player, Gilbreth was invited to Comerica’s opening in 2000 but the date interfered with tax season for the busy Abilene accountant. His smile upon discovering the paver last summer was a mile wide. Among the player pavers are names of All-Stars and Hall of Famers like Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Hal BC 1

Winter-Spring 2017


Newhouser and Al Kaline, whose long careers are legendary in the Motor City. But far more of the bricks recognize former players who, like Gilbreth, had much shorter tenures in MLB. For example, near Gilbreth’s paver on the Walk of Fame are the names of pitchers Floyd Giebell (played in 28 games from 1939-41), Bob Gillespie (58 games in 1944, 1947-48 and 1950), George Gill (85 games from 1937-39), Izzy Goldstein (16 games, 1932), and outfielder Purnal Goldy (29 games from 1962-63). According to, only one in every 200 high school players today (.05 percent) will be drafted by a MLB team and only one of 10 minor leaguers ever play a single game in the majors. Players who make it through college have higher odds of being drafted: 10.5 percent. But overall, playing MLB is a rare experience and for Gilbreth, whose small high school did not field a team, the odds are microscopic at best. The MLB first-year player draft, held each year in June, features 40 rounds in which the 30 clubs make selections of more than 1,200 athletes, largely from the



Bill Gilbreth stands in a photographer’s well near the top of Comerica Park, just a few blocks north of where he first pitched for Detroit at old Tiger Stadium in 1971.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2

BC 3

Winter-Spring 2017





Bill Gilbreth locates the commemorative brick bearing his name on the Walk of Fame just inside Comerica Park’s Gate A on Witherell Street. The display honors the club’s players and coaches from the 1800s to current day, alongside bricks bearing the names of dedicated fans.

high school and college ranks. While Detroit selected Gilbreth in the third round of the 1969 draft and promoted him to the majors just two years later, most clubs rarely hit the bullseye when judging prospective talent. Sometimes they miss the target completely. Some 18,593 players have appeared in MLB games since the late 1870s. For every potential All-Star player chosen by the Tigers – like first-round pitchers Justin Verlander (2004), Andrew Miller (2006) and Rick Porcello (2007) – the careers of many others never pan out because of injury, misfortune or underperformance. Among Detroit’s firstround selections from 1967-70 – Jim Foor (pitcher, 1967), Murray Robinson (outfielder, 1968), Lenny Baxley (first baseman, 1969), Terry Mappin (catcher, 1970) and John Young (first baseman, 1970 supplemental draft) – are just three partial seasons of MLB service. Robinson, Baxley and Mappin never played one game in the majors, and Foor appeared in just 13. Gene Lamont (see page 24 in the printed edition) was the starting catcher in Gilbreth’s 1971 debut game, eventually losing his job to future All-Star Bill Freehan. Lamont was Detroit’s 1965 first-round pick as a

catcher from Western Illinois University who homered in his first MLB at-bat but played just five years before seeing his career bloom instead as a coach. The upcoming 2017 season will be Lamont’s 53rd in professional baseball. He managed the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates in 1,115 games over four seasons and was voted American League Manager of the Year in 1993. The balance of his long tenure has been spent managing minor league teams and coaching at the MLB level. Young, a dear friend of Gilbreth, played in eight professional seasons but batted just four times over two games in his short MLB career in Detroit. Afterward, he served as a minor league instructor and scout for five teams but made his mark on baseball as the founder in 1989 of Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), now a landmark program run by MLB since 1991 to encourage African-American youth in places like Young’s hometown of Los Angeles to play the sport. Young died at age 67 in early May 2016 but his RBI program – which has produced numerous MLB stars who grew up in major U.S. cities – will hopefully long outlive him. “While he didn’t have the professional career many envisioned for him, Bill Gilbreth excelled in college, and in the minor and major leagues, then came back to serve as head coach in a key era of ACU baseball,” said current head coach Britt Bonneau, who played in the Chicago Cubs minor league system. “Bill set the standard for what it means to be a Wildcat and we could not be more proud of him and what he’s accomplished. His photo and biography are on the wall of the Gilbreth-Scott Teamroom where our players can be inspired by it every day.” 


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4

BC 5

Winter-Spring 2017





Detroit hometown hero Willie Horton reminisces with former teammate Bill Gilbreth. One of six bronze statues at Comerica Park honors the power-hitting outfielder who played 15 years of his 18-year MLB career for the Tigers. He has served as a special assistant to the general manager since 2003.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 6


BC 7

Winter-Spring 2017




Bill Gilbreth joyfully tries on an official cap provided by the Tigers before the June 24 game in Comerica Park.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 8 photographer Mike Mulholland presents Gilbreth with an official game ball from the June 26, 2016, contest between Detroit and Cleveland on the 45th anniversary of his MLB debut.


Bill Gilbreth is interviewed by Stan Fracker, director of broadcasting and in-game entertainment for the Detroit Tigers.

BC 9

Winter-Spring 2017



Bill Gilbreth’s travel companions for his trip to Detroit were ACU Dr. Gary McCaleb (’ (’64), vice president of the university, and Ron Hadfield (’79), assistant vice president of university communication and editor of ACU Today magazine.


Bill Gilbreth adds his autograph to those of other former Detroit players and coaches on a photograph of historic Tiger Stadium.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 1 0


BC 1 1

Winter-Spring 2017




Bill Gilbreth (left) stands with his players for the national anthem during ACU’s first game at Crutcher Scott Field on Feb. 23, 1991. Gilbreth was head coach for the Wildcats from 1991-95, leading them to the Lone Star Conference championship in 1993 and earning LSC Coach of the Year honors.

Bill Gilbreth and Nolan Ryan (right) developed a close friendship when the two Texas-born pitchers played for the California Angels in the early 1970s. Ryan was the face of the Texas Rangers franchise when he pitched for the club from 1989-93. Gilbreth and Ryan posed for this image in old Arlington Stadium. ACU TODAY


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 1 2





ewby. Just one person with that name can be found in ACU’s database of alumni, donors and other friends. These days, Louise (Adams ’50) Ray is on loan to the city of Lubbock, where she resides in retirement some 160 or so miles from where her heart truly lies. That, of course, would be somewhere on the 262 acres bounded in general by East North 10th Street, Campus Court, Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard. And that, of course, is where her beloved alma mater – “the college” as


Winter-Spring 2017


she dutifully refers to it – was shaped by her and her family in ways not everyone realizes nor can she always articulate. She did her best to do that on May 7, when the 87-year-old diminutive firecracker of a woman was honored at Commencement as ACU’s 2016 recipient of the Dale and Rita Brown Outlive Your Life Award. “When we gather for Commencement,” said president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) as he opened a luncheon in her honor between the day’s two graduation ceremonies, “we like to show students a picture of what it looks like to be a successful graduate of ACU.”

Success can be measured many ways, of course. If it’s counted in the number of friends you have, or in those who know of you, then Dewby is far down the road from most of us. Today’s ACU students may not recognize her, but a good half-century of others before them know the gregarious lady who seems to know just about everyone whose path she crossed on the hilltop she calls home. “A few of us went from first grade through college on this campus,” she says, reminding the listener of the days when an academy, now known as Abilene Christian Schools, shared space with the college where she


earned a bachelor’s degree in music education. Dewby’s father was the late Dr. Walter H. Adams Sr. (’25), the longtime ACU dean who put his alma mater’s academic program on the map with its first full accreditation in 1951. He was Abilene Christian’s first faculty member and executive officer to earn a doctorate, receiving a master’s from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, the latter during the early days of the Great Depression. He was married to music teacher Louise (Harsh ’26) and the couple had another daughter, Nancy (Adams ’53) Boone, and a son, Wally (’60). Dewby and her late husband, Amos, were experts at befriending students. Twenty-two of them lived with the Rays through the years in their house on Washington Boulevard. Their home was a beehive of activity, with students buzzing in and out for food, advice, admonishment, laughter and enough stories to pass the hours most days and nights. She met Amos at a church picnic in Boulder while the two of them studied at the University of Colorado in the summer of 1948, and they married in Abilene’s College (now University) Church of Christ chapel in 1952.

Ten days after their wedding, Amos left for military service in Europe during the Korean War. Dewby soon joined him, and the Rays lived in Landsberg am Lech and Landstuhl while he was stationed in Germany for the next three years. They helped start a congregation in Kaiserslautern, and Dewby – who was assistant professor of music and cheerleader sponsor at Lipscomb University before marrying – taught in the American School in Landsberg. After the Rays’ military life, she used her bachelor’s degree in music education to teach elementary and middle school music in the Lamesa (Texas) Independent School District; Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tenn.; Abilene Christian Schools; and College Heights Elementary in Abilene. “My first job [at ACU] was with Ken Rasco (’48) in the Registrar’s Office, where he told us we should learn how to treat people as friends,” Dewby says of her role as transcript clerk in 1968. She became assistant to the alumni director in 1972, campus hostess in 1983 – a new role focusing on student retention and directing the work of emeriti ambassadors – and coordinator of alumni and parent programs in 1986. At various times

through the years, Dewby directed Freshman Follies and Summer Showcase; was sponsor of the International Club, summer singing groups, the Inter-Social Club Council, the Student Advisory Council and the Student Foundation; and coordinated class reunions, Homecoming and the inaugural Alumni Choral Reunion in 1989. Few people could have filled all those shoes, of course. But Dewby did, and walked the proverbial extra mile in many of them. Those varied roles put her in touch with tens of thousands of students who either knew her or knew when she was in the room, thanks to a cackling laugh as distinctive as her nickname. Dewby’s iconic outbursts of joy are sometimes loud and always self-perpetuating, and before long, she has everyone in the room cracking up as well. She retired from full-time employment in 1990 but continued to work part time and volunteer in many ways on campus and in the community while seldom missing an opportunity to attend games to cheer for her beloved Wildcats. When ACU teams played Texas Tech

Dale and Rita Brown Outlive Your Life Award First given in May 2011, the Dale and Rita Brown Outlive Your Life Award recognizes individuals who have created a lasting effect on the lives of others. The award takes its name from Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference, the 2011 book by minister Max Lucado, a 1977 ACU graduate and best-selling Christian author. In its pages, Lucado challenges readers from all walks of life to take what God has given them and help others. This award is designed to recognize all types of servant leadership, including civic and community contributions, meeting spiritual or physical needs, producing changes with generational impact, helping redirect the course of people’s lives, and inspiring others to make an eternal difference. Recipients may be alumni or friends of the university. ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017




(LEFT) Dewby received her award at May Commencement from Craig Fisher (’92), director of alumni relations and annual projects. (RIGHT) Patsy (Thompson ’84) Boone, Dewby, Dr. Bob Hunter (’52) and nephew Phil Boone (’83) stand in front of the Historical Timeline in the Hunter Welcome Center. Pictured above Dewby in the timeline is her late father, Dr. Walter H. Adams (’25), in his Wildcat baseball uniform.

University in Lubbock the past three years, not far from their bench was their shortest, oldest and likely most engaged fan. During a campus visit in August 2013, she spoke of the difficult adjustment of leaving Abilene so she and Amos could live near their daughter, Nan Ray (’79). Dewby went through some medical challenges in the months before and after the move. Amos died in September 2013, leaving a void in her life that has been filled, in part, by family members and the new friends she’s made in Lubbock, and others from around the world who stay in touch with and encourage her each day. “There are a bunch of GATAs at Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock who encourage me, hug me, write notes to me,” she says of the ACU women’s social club for which she served as a sponsor for years, and of her new home congregation. “But I’m already tired of hearing about Texas Tech all the time,” she retorts in a frank tone, proving you can take a girl off the Hill but not the Hill out of the girl. “They’re afraid to

let me drive because they think I’ll head to Abilene and not come back.” Oh, Dewby. She’s always spoken her mind, told it like it is, reminded others how it used to be, and exhorted friends and foes alike to greater effort. She admits she gets that from her late “Daddy,” as she calls Dean Adams, a similarly larger-than-life icon who took no shortcuts to growing the institution to which he committed his hardworking life. “It has been a long struggle to get ACU to where it is today,” Dewby explains, even though she’s several years removed from a leadership role in Women for Abilene Christian University, which began in 1969 with her as founding president. Its purpose is to rally support for “the college,” including scholarships and campus improvement projects. Few experiences fill her with more pride than those she shared on behalf of WACU. Today, she’s proudly old-school and pens handwritten thank-you notes for everything. They’re meticulous, well written, heart-felt,

brutally honest and highly prized. “I can’t think of anyone who loves ACU more than Dewby,” says Betsey (Bolin ’85) Craig, former assistant director of alumni relations and a GATA sponsor since 1985. “Second to ACU, she loves GATA. She hasn’t been its sponsor for probably 40 years, but she’s still talked about like she is. We’re proud to follow in her footsteps and perpetuate the traditions and history of our 96-year-old club and our alma mater.” At the luncheon between Commencement services this past May, Dewby clutched a microphone and held court from a chair at the front of the room. She alternately told stories, thanked people, cackled spontaneously and caused others to laugh even louder, expressing appreciation for “all of you who are my grandkids, or think you are.” “I do love this school,” she says, turning serious. “I do.” Speaking for the school she and her family helped build, and all the friends she’s made along the way, well, we love the one and only Dewby Ray right back. 



Winter-Spring 2017




Y ” at T OD A i n g U C A d e “ e e s h ip p o co m e f r e r. o r rp c e iv E nt e u t t o r e ne x t o r d ko ou r c he c on y



Student’s father among seven inspired to offer a kidney to trustee Abel Alvarez BY RON HADFIELD


Winter-Spring 2017



reg Hendrix has a son in Abilene and a kidney in McAllen, and couldn’t be happier about both. Already feeling like a man living on borrowed time, Abel Alvarez (’82) knows

all too well the urgency life can have when you own a rare blood type and are depending on your second previously owned major organ. How the lives of these two Texans – total strangers before March 2016 – merged in a transplant hospital in San Antonio is a narrative only God could write and Alvarez’s alma mater could help facilitate. It’s a story of two men who have developed an unlikely bond while living some 550 miles apart, yet traveling a similar faith journey.


need your help,” Alvarez said in a March 1 phone call. We talk fairly often, the editor of the alumni magazine and the university trustee who serves as minister of Harvey Drive Church of Christ in McAllen. Alvarez is a man on a mission to enroll as many best-fit students as he can at his alma mater. He’s a dot-connector and relationship-builder who takes his trusteeship to new levels as a recruiter of students and ambassador of goodwill in the Rio Grande Valley. His hard work has positioned Abilene Christian favorably in the minds of business, education and community leaders who have come to trust a man of the cloth who wears purple polo shirts and changes lives with his influence. He is not shy about asking for favors, typically for others’ benefit. This day, it was more personal, and he apologized for the perceived intrusion. I had written “Willing and Abel” in the Fall 2012 issue of this magazine, a profile chronicling the journey of Abelarado “Abel” Alvarez, who immigrated with his mother and siblings to the U.S. in 1968. They joined scores of other migrant workers picking vegetables and fruit for a small day wage. Alvarez did not begin school until age 10, moving through three grades in one year with the help of a teacher who recognized his potential. He graduated a year early from Pharr (Texas) High School and hitchhiked to Abilene, carrying his meager belongings in a trash bag. He earned a Bible scholarship, volunteered in the bus ministry of the 16th and Vine Church of Christ, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biblical text and years later, a Master of Divinity


degree. He married Diane Palmer (’82) and has been a minister of the same congregation in McAllen for 26 years. Alvarez had been chronically ill since late 2015, when he learned he would need to begin dialysis in another 12-18 months. But by January 2016, a blood creatinine test showed his kidney situation to be dire. Surgery to prepare for dialysis took place in February but “March and April were a nightmare,” Alvarez said about several weeks when everything that could go wrong went wrong. “It looks like I need another kidney or I may not make it,” Alvarez explained over the phone. The prospects were thin, and the after-insurance pricetag for a transplant – close to $150,000 – was daunting. “Can you help me spread the word among people on the Hill?” he asked. “I know this is a really awkward thing to ask you to do, but if you can’t call on your ACU friends in a time like this, who can you ask?” A post on the ACU Today blog was published the next day and shared on the university’s Facebook page.


y day, Greg Hendrix is a network engineer for Verizon who has devoted his spare time for 15 years as a volunteer youth ministry leader for St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Frisco. His wife, Mary, is missions and outreach director for their congregation, and their son, Grant, is a junior financial management major at ACU, a university the Hendrix family is still getting to know. Greg takes his faith seriously but felt it had been on what he termed “cruise control” for several years. He had agreed to some “admittedly uncomfortable opportunities” to renew his spiritual focus, including developing closer and less superficial relationships with guys his age, joining a prayer team, and leading a discipling group on a nine-month study of the Sermon on the Mount. He was practicing the discipline of journaling when his daily devotion the morning of March 2 included reading Acts 20:35. The apostle Paul’s reminder to help others as Jesus once described – “It is more blessed to give than to receive” – was a lesson that stuck with Hendrix all day. That afternoon, he serendipitously watched a YouTube video of Dr. John Siburt’s Feb. 29 presentation in ACU’s Chapel in Moody Coliseum. Siburt (’96), president and chief operating officer of CitySquare in Dallas, spoke on Jesus’ parable about the rich man and Lazarus, and how the sin of self-absorption leads to a failure of compassion for others. “We are called to empty ourselves,” Siburt had said. “Wow,” Greg thought. “Am I the rich man passing by people in need? Or worse yet, am I the rich man who is not noticing people in need?” He was listening with his heart,


Winter-Spring 2017


Hendrix’s WC and cap reflect his ACU spirit from a hospital bed following the transplant.

and the questions haunted him. Before logging off his computer, he read a post on the ACU Today magazine blog. The headline read: ACU trustee Alvarez in search of kidney. The text explained the dilemma of a South Texas minister whose situation was complicated by his rare O negative blood type. His lone kidney, donated nearly three decades ago by a sibling, was failing. Other health issues could delay his dialysis treatments a month or more, and he would not likely survive the wait. The post concluded: Read ‘Willing and Abel,’ an ACU Today magazine profile of Alvarez and his life’s work. Hendrix, a man with two healthy kidneys, O negative blood and a longing to recognize God’s voice in his life, began to hear a calling he never expected.


reg’s journaling requires writing each day in a spiral-bound notebook what he called “a big idea of the day” to guide his thoughts and planning. The busyness of a work day could easily create distractions, but he said he didn’t miss the big idea for March 2. He wrote in his notebook: Help those who are weak. “I heard God’s voice, and it seemed like it happened two, three, four times that day,” he recalled. Then Alvarez’s story hit him between the eyes. “I can give financially to this. I can pray about this; I’m a prayerful man,” said Greg. But give a kidney? “I wasn’t cruising around living-donor websites, figuring out how I could give an organ away,” he admitted. He began to wrestle with what-ifs and fears. If he was chosen as Alvarez’s kidney donor, what if a member of his own family needed one? What if he needed one down the road? What are the medical risks? What if he died? So he made a deal: a kidney for God’s leading. “I know God makes the decisions, but I think I learned a little about His grace in that, because it gave me comfort in thinking it was a deal. If I held up my end of it, He was going to hold up his,” Greg said. “I remember saying something like, ‘God, I’ll continue taking these uncomfortable steps of faith until someone tells me ‘No.’ You’re going to have to prove yourself as the God I’ve read about in the Bible all these years. You’re going to have to prove yourself that you can give me, a normal person, strength and faith and courage to do what He was clearly giving me an opportunity to do.’ ” Hendrix was not alone. By nightfall March 2, he was joined by another of our blog readers who volunteered to be an organ donor. Within four weeks, five persons with O negative blood and a kidney to spare had stepped forward. By June, there were seven, several alumni among them. Statistics from the National Kidney Foundation are sobering: Of the more than 121,000 people in the U.S.


Winter-Spring 2017


waiting for transplants in early November 2016, some 100,000 needed a kidney. A person is added to the kidney transplant list every 14 minutes, and 13 Americans die each day while waiting for one. The median wait-time for an individual’s first transplant is 3.5 years. For Alvarez to discover seven willing donors with the same rare blood type in less than four months was simply astounding.



lvarez was accepted as a patient at Texas Transplant Institute in San Antonio’s Methodist Hospital. Several of his prospects underwent testing to determine their likelihood for a best match. Three were approved, and it was up to Alvarez to decide on the donor. He chose Hendrix, the only one of the three he had never met. “I thought God was leading me and bringing the two of us together,” Alvarez said. “I trusted the providential way he came to be aware of my need and how this seemed to be working out.” Now 56 years old and seemingly living his life in overdrive, Alvarez also had made a deal with God half his life ago. “I almost died at age 28 with a wife and two small kids,” he told me for the 2012 feature story. “I had a kidney transplant and my body rejected it, which caused all kinds of other problems. I begged God, ‘Let me live long enough to get these kids to a point where they are not starting out in life like I did.’ He kept his end of the bargain, so I need to keep mine. I feel like I’m living on borrowed time, and at times, like I am running on fumes. I don’t know if I have five or 10 years left. So it’s a part of the drive I feel.” Abel and Greg met for the first time April 24 while the two were at the transplant hospital for tests. Alvarez learned they had a shared interest in pro football and in ministry, although perhaps not in that exact order. They set some post-transplant goals, including drafting their next NFL fantasy football teams together. Hendrix, who became familiar with ACU only after his son enrolled, was invited to attend the university’s 110th annual Summit in September 2016 with Alvarez as his guide. The surgery July 1 went smoothly, and a few days later Hendrix went home, pausing for photos with Alvarez, whose recovery soon took a rocky road. Alvarez’s release from the transplant unit was slowed by development of a fever, but by July 14 he arrived home. Two days later he was admitted to nearby Rio Grande Regional Hospital with severe nausea and vomiting.

Hendrix visits Alvarez in his room at the Texas Transplant Institute in San Antonio.

By July 18 his creatinine level was soaring and he was transferred by ambulance to Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. “My body has rejected MA RY HENDRIX the kidney,” he posted on Facebook. Hendrix, who was feeling well enough to accompany his youth group on its annual missions trip to Eureka Springs, Ark., received the news and was devastated. “I could feel myself losing hope as things were suddenly taking a different turn,” Hendrix recalled. “I asked myself, ‘What if this looks a whole lot different than you thought? What if the best doesn’t happen? What are we going to do? How are Abel and his family going to continue to fight?’ ” Hendrix phoned Alvarez, not really knowing what to say but hoping to be an encouragement. He ended the call after praying for his new friend, but the words felt hollow and vague, and he was disappointed in himself. That evening, a ministry partner at the retreat joined the St. Philip’s youth group in praying boldly for Alvarez. Hendrix’ friend put his hand on Greg’s side, where Abel’s kidney once sat, and prayed for the miracle of “a resurrected kidney,” words that recaptured Hendrix’ focus and hope. Alvarez’s small army of Facebook friends rallied around him with their own prayers. By July 20, tests revealed progress was being made. His team of specialists concluded an antibiotic he was taking had caused the drama. He was released July 23 to return home. Several other episodes since have created setbacks, including one in which Alvarez’s white blood cell count fell dangerously low, requiring another hospitalization. Each time he has rallied.


n Sunday, Aug.21, Alvarez preached his first sermon since the transplant. A week later, Abel’s son, Jon (’08), drove Hendrix to McAllen for the family’s fantasy football draft. The next day, the Harvey Drive congregation changed its morning worship service format so Alvarez and Hendrix could share their story in dialogue they titled “Listening to God’s Call.” Sitting in chairs at the front of the auditorium, they talked about each other and their remarkable journey. “I’ve learned a lot about you, Abel,” Hendrix said of their experience and his new friend. “What an overcomer you are, your steadfast faithfulness, your generosity. But one of the simplest, most profound things I’ve learned from you is to ask for help, because if you don’t humble yourself and ask, this looks a whole lot different

for you, for me, our families, for this church, for the church I belong to.” Alvarez encouraged his congregation to think bigger and expect more from the God they read about in the Bible, who has done remarkable, even miraculous things in the lives of his followers. “We just don’t think God does anything today,” he said. “The Bible tells us God is always ready and willing. He loves us and he’s always willing to intercede on our behalf.” Conversely, he said, Christians need to be willing to answer God’s call for their own lives. “The calling of God is for you and me to say ‘Yes’ to the task He’s given us to do. We’re created for good works so He may be glorified,” Alvarez said. “Greg, you started out saying ‘Yes’ to things that made you uncomfortable but helped you grow. … The same God that says ‘Yes’ [to us] is the same God that will equip us. He will call you, but He will equip you.” Today, half a year since surgery armed Alvarez with a life-saving, 5-ounce healthy kidney and Hendrix with a new lease on his faith, the two have a powerful witness to share and much for which to be thankful. “I’ve seen what pure gratitude looks like for a gift,” Hendrix tearfully told his church in a testimonial last fall, describing hugs from family members and a “Now you’re one of us” proclamation from Abel’s brother. “God is good. He is a promise-keeper,” Hendrix said. We have various ways of measuring the reach and effect of our news channels at the university. While we don’t always expect ACU Today blog posts to save lives or knock National Kidney Foundation donor statistics on their ear, the power of social media and of story-telling are undeniable. So, too, is ACU’s worldwide network of alumni, students and other friends who rally around people and causes in amazing ways. Alvarez is convinced the family of God and ACU’s reputation are a lot bigger than we think. “The university’s influence is spreading,” he said, noting the example of the Hendrixes, who have entrusted their son’s higher education with ACU and are genuinely excited to learn more about Abilene Christian. “New students and families are coming to ACU who love it just as passionately as those of us who have loved it nearly all our lives,” said the South Texas trustee who demonstrates daily what it means to be his alma mater’s biggest fan. Alvarez wore an ACU polo the day he was admitted to the transplant unit and a Superman T-shirt the day he was released. Thanks to a former stranger down the hospital hallway with an extra kidney and a willing heart, the friendly minister’s wardrobe choice looks to be a perfect fit. 


Winter-Spring 2017


Balancing Act ACU Online graduate students juggle life and job responsibilities while pursuing a difference-making advanced degree


Winter-Spring 2017




ust a few miles from ACU Dallas’ new campus in Addison, Texas, Kelli Duhaney teaches computer skills to pre-K through

fourth-grade students at Trinity Christian Academy. Married for 10 years to a Dallas internal medicine physician, she also is the mother of three children under age 9. She balances a full-time job and online doctoral studies with the help of family and friends who allow her to stay organized and proactive. “It’s not uncommon to find me on the sidelines of a gymnastics or karate practice with a leadership textbook in my lap, but other than that, I work on my studies after the kids are in bed,” Duhaney said. “I try to work ahead when possible, to avoid cramming at the last minute.” Duhaney, who grew up in Southern California as the daughter of a teacher, said a career in a classroom did not appeal to her at first. “I saw behind the scenes how my mother was not always supported by administrators, lacked respect from students and parents, and faced seemingly impossible demands on her teaching with student test scores tied to her review and compensation,” Duhaney said.

But time spent working as a student ambassador at Pepperdine University, and in its Advancment Office as a major gifts officer following graduation, gave her new insights into the education profession. When her oldest son entered kindergarten, she began teaching fourth graders. Today, her doctoral studies are the result of a newfound longing to help shape the process of teacher education in the U.S. “So many issues teachers experience in their first years of BRANDI JO DELONY service lead to burnout and to leaving the profession. I don’t know if this means I’ll be teaching young, aspiring teachers at the collegiate level or helping to write and implement policies to help support beginning teachers,” she said. “I hope my Ed.D. degree continues to provide a deep level of scholarship and understanding about education, and how to positively bring about change. This would be a useful skill wherever I end up after completing the degree. The field of education provides so many ways to impact others. I’m thankful for the strong foundation I am receiving in this program. I want to be open to any opportunities I have to be a blessing to others.” The Duhaneys brought their children to Abilene last February to attend Sing Song and cheer for their favorite babysitter, an ACU undergraduate student. Their daughter is still talking about ice cream in the World Famous Bean


“It’s not uncommon to find me on the sidelines of a gymnastics or karate practice with a leadership textbook …”



and Chick-Fil-A in the Hilton Food Court, and following in the footsteps of her Wildcat mom. Aaron Clendenen (’99) grew up on a ranch in Central Texas, earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from ACU and is a vocational missionary in the Philippines. In his spare time, the father of six children is pursuing an online MBA from his alma mater. His career path does not have many straight lines. But in today’s international marketplace and on our increasingly small-feeling planet – especially for someone listening to God’s call for his life – it makes complete sense for one of ACU’s current online graduate students to log in to his classes from an island



Winter-Spring 2017



in Southeast Asia. Between typhoons this past year, Clendenen did just that from a tiny coffee shop in Lipa City in the Batangas province, about 50 miles south of Manila. “I managed agricultural companies in Texas for several years before God laid it on my heart to become a full-time missionary. It took several more years of equipping and training on His part before I was ready,” Clendenen said. “My wife, Jena (Gray ’01), also caught the vision the Lord had for our family. We pressed in hard with prayer and attended every training conference we could before He released us into the mission field in July 2015.” The couple and their children are supported by friends, family and their home church in Lubbock. Aaron manages the building of a Christian retreat center in Lipa City. The way he sees it, his agribusiness degree and an MBA from ACU will be tools necessary to carry out God’s will for his career and life. “After searching several opportunities including the Czech Republic, Honduras, Canada and Nicaragua, we knew God wanted us to be here. It is very difficult to be a missionary but so rewarding,” Clendenen said. “He has been gracious with us and has blessed us more than we ever would have thought.” He and Duhaney are two of the record 650 ACU Online students enrolled this school year. Learn more about them and a few others as well:

Elizabeth Adamik Age: 49 Occupation: Life science/health teacher

at Faith West Academy

Where I live: Katy, Texas Previous degree: B.S. in psychology,

University of Houston-Victoria

Online degree program: Master of

Marriage and Family Therapy


• How an M.M.F.T. will shape my career: Gaining my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy is helping me fulfill my passion for wanting to help people. I believe this is the path God has laid out for me. I also believe that as we go through life and experience trials and tribulations, God is preparing us for what He has planned for our lives. So following God’s plan, I will be taking all of my life experiences along with my degree to continue on my journey of becoming a therapist.


Winter-Spring 2017


“My professors nurture within me the tools to not only become a successful scholar, but a worker for Christ.”


• Why I chose ACU: It is the first university I have ever dealt with

where everyone I have met has been more than friendly and extremely helpful. From student services, to professors, my program director, I have had the best experience talking with each and every person. These people have made time for me, have patiently answered all of my questions and helped me move forward in the program.

• The best part of my ACU experience: The program itself and the

people. The program is set up to help you gain the knowledge needed, but also keep you in touch with your professor and students in the class. The interaction with my classmates is nice because you have peers to discuss class topics with and to work with on projects, while getting to know each other. I’ve never had this online experience before and it makes taking the classes so much better.

Monique Adkins Age: 23 Occupation: Student and live-in nanny Where I live: Dallas, Texas Previous degrees: B.A. in psychology, California State University, Dominguez Hills Online degree program: Master of Marriage and Family Therapy


• How an M.M.F.T. will shape my career: A degree in MFT will prepare me for my career to work with couples and families. I want to work with couples who are engaged or seriously dating, and families who may need help communicating or guiding through difficult times. The world is changing so much every day and children are being exposed to different things than their parents. I want to be that middle person for families who are having trouble communicating or are feeling misunderstood. • Why I chose ACU: I wanted an MFT program from a Christian university. I want to work with a church in its counseling ministry when I’m done with school. I didn’t think I wanted an online program for grad school but I’m glad I chose one. I moved from California to Texas to get a change of pace and to help me concentrate in school. But since all my classes are online, I have the freedom to go back home (to California) whenever and for however long I want. • The best part of my ACU experience: The professors and advisors. Since day one I have felt that everyone with whom I have come in contact has taken a very personal approach to my success in the program. If I couldn’t get in contact with my advisor (which was really rare), someone else was always able to help. The ACU staff makes sure they know their students, unlike what I experienced at a state university. I loved talking to my advisor weekly. She was there to help me with everything and it was easy!

will bring me one step closer to earning a doctorate in theology. I will synthesize the tools acquired from my various disciplines to research and publish scholarly works. I also will become a voice for veterans and those who are disabled.

Aaron Clendenen Age: 41

• Why I chose ACU: While searching for the seminary best suited to

Occupation: Missionary Where I live: Lipa City, Philippines Previous degree: B.S. in agribusiness,

ACU (’99)

Online degree program: Master in

Business Administration


• How an MBA will shape my career: The courses in the MBA

program have already shaped my current assignment here in the Philippines. I am directly applying the business skills and models into our construction projects and Christian retreat center. Once I have graduated, I will be better positioned as a leader in the field and with a credible education. Earning an MBA will give me a competitive edge in today’s demanding market.

• Why I chose ACU: It was an easy choice for me to pick ACU for an

advanced degree in business. ACU has a highly accredited business department and has worldwide recognition. It challenges each student by maintaining high expectations and by teaching material that is relevant and timely. These factors – combined with Christian values – hold me accountable and empower me to maintain an ethical lifestyle.

• The best part of my ACU experience: The class scheduling and

flexibility. The MBA program is designed so the student takes one course at a time. Each course is seven weeks in length and has a one-week break before starting the next course. This type of structure allows me to focus my efforts and perform better overall. Additionally, ACU allows me to postpone a course if I foresee conflicting events. This flexibility has allowed me to host short-term missionaries and other major events that might otherwise conflict with my educational success.

• The best part of my ACU experience: I love the daily scholastic

challenges my professors present. I now read the Bible in a totally different light and my Christian faith has grown exponentially. I also love the sense of family enriched by the students, faculty, administration and staff. My professors nurture within me the tools to not only become a successful scholar, but a worker for Christ. Being a member of the Wildcat family is a blessing; I have developed friendships and experiences I will cherish for life.

Kelli Duhaney Age: 36 Occupation: Teacher, Trinity Christian

Academy (Addison, Texas)

Where I live: Lewisville, Texas Previous degrees: B.A. in psychology and

M.Ed., Pepperdine University

Online degree program: Ed.D. in


organizational leadership

• How an Ed.D. will shape my career: The personal development

Juan Dawson

that takes place during this doctoral program has strengthened my leadership skills. I have also gained more knowledge about how to collaborate and work within organizations. Additionally, critical thinking skills learned in the program have transferred to my workplace as I strive to achieve the best learning outcomes for my students. I anticipate the growth I have experienced in each of these areas will help me as I continue to work to shape the field of education as a Christian leader.

Age: 65 Occupation: Disabled veteran (Persian

Gulf War) and retired attorney Where I live: Maui, Hawaii

Previous degrees: B.S. in electrical

engineering, Spring Garden College and Temple University; J.D., Texas Tech University School of Law

accommodate my goals, aspirations and medical challenges, I was attracted to ACU’s accreditation, curriculum and faculty. Its distance-learning program is on the cutting edge, and its student-friendly scholastic resources foster a community of global learners. But it was the dedication of my admissions advisor, who patiently endeavored to match my goals with the best possible program for me, even if it was not ACU. This cultivated my trust in him, knowing he was interested in me as a person, not just as a prospect.

• Why I chose ACU: It was important for me to pursue my degree at Dawson

Online degree program: Master of Divinity

• How an M.Div. will shape my career: Although I have

combat-related disabilities and am confined to a wheelchair, I count it a blessing because God used the consequences of my decisions to slow me down so I could hear His voice. The M.Div.

a school that reinforced my Christ-centered values. I also wanted to be in a program where the course material was immediately applicable to my day-to-day work. The classes I have taken thus far have positively impacted the way I teach, serve and lead at my school. ACU offers a strong doctoral program that is a good fit for my stage of life and career. As a mom of three young children, I am thankful to have flexibility to complete my classes online without sacrificing academic quality and excellence.


Winter-Spring 2017


• The best part of my ACU experience: The growing sense of

community I have with colleagues in my cohort. With each class we take, our bond has become stronger and we feel a sense of accomplishment as we work toward our goal of graduating. I have received encouragement from classmates whom I have yet to meet in person, an outcome I did not expect from an online program. It has been special to have this unique experience with my cohort as we support one another on our doctoral journey.

Jerica C. Nickerson Age: 29 Occupation: Associate professor,

Lone Star College

Where I live: Houston, Texas Previous degree: B.S. in psychology,

University of Houston

Jason Drysdale

Online degree program:

Ed.D. in organizational leadership in higher education

Age: 31 Occupation: Manager of instructional

• How an Ed.D. will shape my career: Although I truly enjoy the

design and eLearning technology, University of Colorado College of Nursing Where I live: Denver, Colo. Previous degree: B.A. in Christian

Ministry, ACU (’08)



Online degree program: Doctor of Education in

organizational leadership

• How an Ed.D. will shape my career: This program is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream: to challenge myself at the highest level of academic achievement. The coursework will empower me to take on more complex leadership roles while making original contributions to my field through research. I have already started to use the knowledge and skills I have gained in my current work; this experience is transforming me as a professional, equipping me to be an innovative leader for this exciting and ever-changing professional landscape in higher education.

• Why I chose ACU: I had been searching for the right doctoral

program for two years without success. Most of the programs I wanted to pursue had residency requirements – an untenable expectation for my growing family. On a whim, I checked out the ACU website and came across the accreditation announcement. After perusing the plan of study, I felt a sense of purpose and confidence: it was time to go back home to ACU and pursue my doctorate in the place where I first discovered my love of learning.

• The best part of my ACU experience: All universities with online

programs aim to build authentic community; few achieve it. As an online student living in a different state, I still feel like I’m part of the ACU community. I have great relationships with my faculty and classmates. My advisors and program director call to check in regularly, just to see how I’m doing, and I am told frequently that I am being covered in prayer. That kind of personal, caring connection doesn’t happen most places. ACU, however, isn’t most places: face-to-face or online, ACU is a uniquely connected and compassionate place.

perks of teaching, I do not want to retire as a faculty member. I want someday to serve as dean of instruction, vice president of instruction and eventually, president of a community college. I want to learn more about student services, legal and ethical issues, college students and student development, and others. My ACU degree will give me the opportunity and credentials to better serve my community, local businesses and the four-year institutions with which we are partners.

• Why I chose ACU: My degree program’s flexibility, affordability,

accessibility and quality. Because it’s online, I can learn at my own pace. ACU is enhancing my leadership skills through spiritual practice, transforming me into a better servant-leader.

• The best part of my ACU experience: The constructive and timely

feedback my professors have provided lets me know they care. I couldn’t have chosen a better institution to continue my lifelong learning journey. ACU has given me the confidence, skills and drive to be a better leader and to practice my faith. I know I am being developed as a more competent contender for administrative positions at Lone Star College. Earning my doctoral degree will not be the end of my leadership development, but merely the beginning.

Tess Starman Age: 22 Occupation: Data and match

support specialist, TeamMates Mentoring Program Where I live: Omaha, Nebraska Previous degrees: B.S. in sociology

and B.A. in cultural anthropology, Creighton University


Online degree program:

M.A. in Christian Ministry

• How an M.A.C.M. will shape my career: I have felt a magnetic

draw to ministry since a young age. God’s leading landed me in


Winter-Spring 2017


“ACU has given me the confidence, skills and drive to be a better leader and to practice my faith.”



the M.A.C.M. at ACU. I know it will equip me with the resources, knowledge and experience to be a minister to others, regardless of where He leads me. It will shape how I relate, guide, shepherd and serve all people I encounter as they grow in their relationship with the Lord.

an immediate sense, adding daily disciplines, deepening dependence on God and bringing me new precious friends. ACU’s program is a place to which I am clearly called right now, and it will continue to be totally relevant for me in my professional opportunities. 

approach. As soon as I expressed interest, it felt like the entire staff wanted to get to know me as a person, not just a potential student. I received phone calls, check-ins and prayer from staff as I pursued all my paths for seminary. Long before I committed, I felt a sense of belonging and community.

ACU online graduate programs

• Why I chose ACU: I chose ACU because of its personalized

• The best part of my ACU experience: The best part is the sense of

community I feel despite being more than 650 miles away from campus. I have felt so intentionally connected to my advisors, professors and other students despite being a distance learner. Never having taken online classes before, this was both surprising and comforting. The deliberate community atmosphere has been the greatest blessing of my education at ACU thus far.

CURRENT PROGRAMS • Certificate in Conflict Resolution for Educators – Online • Certificate in Enrollment Management – Online • Certificate in Medical Family Therapy – Online • Certificate in Superintendency – Online • Dietetic Internship Program/Certificate – Dallas • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Online • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership – Online • Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution – Online with residency • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry – Online with residencies • Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation – Online with residency • Master of Arts in Global Service – Online with residencies • Master of Business Administration – Online • Master of Divinity – Online with residencies • Master of Education in Higher Education – Online with residency • Master of Education in Instructional Leadership – Online • Master of Healthcare Administration – Online (Spring 2017) • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy – Online • Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders – Online hybrid • Master of Science in Information Technology Leadership – Online (start date pending) • Master of Science in Organizational Development – Online

Jonathan Tack Age: 33 Occupation: Chief pilot, Denarius

Ventures Aviation

Where I live: Midland, Texas Previous degree: B.S. in aeronautical

science, LeTourneau University (Longview, Texas)


Online degree program: MBA, Analytics


• How an MBA will shape my career: This degree program is already shaping my career. Starting with the first class, this experience has been all about articulating vision for my life and acting on it. I recently left a privileged job to lead in a startup aviation company with a vision for world missions. The intangible tools I collect during every class go directly toward my entrepreneurial pursuits now and will add to my professional portfolio over the years. My goal is to be an influencer in tomorrow’s aviation business.

• Why I chose ACU: In short, God led me to ACU. Early in 2016, I

knew I wanted to commit to an MBA program. From where, I was not certain. One thing I did know is that an AACSB-accredited program was a must-have. I was discouraged at the options, but one morning during a prayer time I felt a nudging peace to look up a Christian school with AACSB accreditation. ACU was at the top of the list. I had no idea ACU even offered online programs. That afternoon, I talked with Kendyl Antwine, who told me about the specialization in analytics, the in-house prerequisite boot camp and the affordability, and I have not looked back.

• The best part of my ACU experience: How much I feel a sense


• Master of Science in Management – Online (Spring 2017) awaiting final approval

Learn more about ACU’s graduate programs at

of belonging. I know this program is enriching my career in


Winter-Spring 2017





inging has long been part of ACU’s collective DNA, thanks in large part to the a cappella worship tradition of its heritage in Churches of Christ. A cappella music is without instrumental accompaniment, the words borrowing from an 18th-century Italian phrase meaning “in chapel or choir style.” Wildcats have a deep appreciation for the cohesive sound of four-part harmony, particularly when used in hymns and spiritual songs, and other music of deep importance. ACU became known as “The Singing College” in the 1950s, thanks to its football team (see bel0w) and A Cappella Chorus. We may take that name for granted in the 21st century, but it’s still true: No university sings like ACU, something visitors learn when they attend any number of public events, or alumni experience when they return home to harmonize together once more.

competition, its popularity is stronger than ever and a Saturday night finale ticket still a hot commodity. Freshman Follies in Cullen Auditorium is still a first-year student’s introduction to competitive singing and creative staging. The annual Ethnos Culture Show, also in Cullen, allows international students to display their unique talents.

We sing pretty much everywhere, if you look closely enough. Some of the bigger stages: Chapel, whether in Moody Coliseum or in any number of small-group gatherings, is a prime venue for singing, often led by praise teams of students, faculty or staff.

Voices shine at devotionals, especially the candlelight versions during Wildcat Week for freshmen, in May for graduating seniors and at Homecoming for alumni, family and friends.

The coliseum during annual Sing Song performances each February features the a cappella singing of social clubs and classes. Established 60 years ago as a giant singing

Opening Assembly, the first all-school gathering of each academic year in Moody, has a tradition-heavy singing component. PAUL WHITE

Sing Song

Homecoming Musicals in the Abilene Civic Center each October allow the theatre and music departments a stage to demonstrate their world-class skills in a Broadway-quality production in which dynamic singing takes centerstage.

The Singing Christians Members of the undefeated 1950 ACU football team earned this nickname because of their propensity to belt out heavenly tunes between the Xs and Os. Their favorite was the rousing hymn, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, which the Wildcats performed live on a radio show in Evansville, Ind., before defeating Gustavus Adolphus College in the annual Refrigerator Bowl, capping a perfect 10-0 season. 40

Winter-Spring 2017


Garvin Beauchamp was the head football coach of the 1950 undefeated team.

Football games and the ACU Fight Song


Homecoming musicals

Our music knows few bounds. Some of our favs: Oh, Dear Christian College The words to ACU’s school song were penned by educator/innovator Dr. G.C. Morlan and music department chair Dr. Leonard Burford (’25) arranged the music in 1934:

Highways and Byways Dr. Steven Moore, associate professor of language and literature, regularly leads one of our students’ favorite energetic gospel songs on special Praise Day Chapel programs in Moody.

Oh, dear Christian College, we love you, Our dear Alma Mater, today; Like the stars shining brightly above you, Your fame shall shine brightly for aye. To you we’ll prove faithful and loyal While ever upholding the right, And gladly we’ll give forth the royal Three cheers for the purple and white.

ACU Fight Song Most think the only lyrics for the ACU Fight Song arrive midway through this toe-tapper introduced sometime in the 1940s: “W-i-l-d-ca-t-s, purple, white, purple, white, fight, fight, fight!” But not so. Here’s the full version, which freshmen are taught during Wildcat Week:




The Big Purple then immediately launches into a rendition of Let’s Win This Game. All in all, the ACU Fight Song musical suite sounds great after a touchdown, and that’s about all that really matters, isn’t it?


Wildcats! Hold that line! Hold that line! Wildcats! Now’s the time! Now’s the time! Strive on! Drive on! We must make a score For ACU, as we have before.


Shape and Round Notes

Dr. Steven Moore

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name The well-known hymn, All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, has been sung at every Opening Assembly since ACU began in 1906 as Childers Classical Institute.

Chorus Then we’ll pledge our love to Christian, To her is honor due; While we gaily sing let praises ring For our Alma Mater true.

The singing of Oh, Dear Christian College is a tradition at graduation.


The Lord Bless You and Keep You If TLBYAKY was to arm-wrestle Oh, Dear Christian College for the most-sung piece of a cappella music on campus, most of us know which would win. TLBYAKY leads all comers in emotional impact. If you don’t mist up by the fifth “Amen” at the end, you might not have a heart. It’s powerful stuff. And no one sings it better.

For more than 100 years, people in singing schools and Churches of Christ – congregations in which ACU has deep roots – used “shape notes” to learn how to vocalize in harmony. The “Aiken system” of music notation was based on each of seven shapes. Today, all instrumental and most vocal music appears in round notes, but many churches have older members who prefer the shape-note system they learned early in life. Regardless of their faith heritage, many ACU students arrive with an amazing ability to sing, fostered by growing up in churches where four-part harmony is highly valued.






Winter-Spring 2017



We love our followers on social media. Here are just a few of the posts by and about Wildcats.

Kayla Lane

September 1 at 7:54 p.m. College has been a confusing mixture of awesome people, 0 sleep, nonstop schoolwork, and the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. #ACU20

Justin Jarrett


October 17

8 weeks ago

When you get a text from one of your dad’s co-workers showing where they signed his name on a part of ACU that he worked on but never got to see get started. Thank you Lance Fleming for your thoughtfulness and adding my dad to the final stadium beam. I cannot even express in words what that meant to me.

Taking in family weekend at #abilenechristianuniversity. Angela was a flower in her Freshman Follies show. Now off to tailgate party and football game. #thecollegelife


Ryan Cobb

September 28 at 10:09 a.m. You know you have adjusted to college when the lady at the ice cream station knows your name and the flavor you want! #freshman15comingquick

32 weeks ago

In Texas we don’t ride horses to class we ride them for class #acudifference


August 21 at 3:01 p.m. So am I like Quest Bat now or what?

Anthony Wagner

September 22 at 9:26 a.m.

Jacob Corona September 27

“Best spots on campus at ACU to break up” 6. The hallways in the SRWC – “much like this hallway, I don’t know where this relationship is going …” 5. Over the phone, from your dorm. 4. During Chapel – easily slip into the crowd at the card-swipers. 3. On the Lunsford Trail – literally go your separate ways. 2. GATA Fountain – “… it’s just not working …” 1. Jacob’s dream – best for “I really want to pursue God for now …” type situations. #RingBySpring #Hypotheticals #SoTheresThat

Lunch workers in “The Bean” singing George Strait has been the highlight of my day #ACUdifference

madison crites August 16

Blessed to be a part of something so much bigger than myself #ACU20 @acuwildcatweek

Alaina †

August 25 at 12:56 p.m. I go to a college where my professors pray over their students before every quiz/test/ class. I’m so in love with my school. #acu20


Winter-Spring 2017



5 weeks ago siked to be in sikes (with these sweet friends) Proverbs 27:4 #fbf #acu

We asked Wildcat parents to share their thoughts about dropping off a college freshman. Read the entire series at

Amy Stornello

August 16 at 9:33 p.m. Life update: snapchats of candlelight devo had me crying more than the day I found out Rory drinks Coke on Gilmore girls, not coffee. #acu20


12 weeks ago And just like that, she grew right up! #abilenechristianuniversity #sidewalkblessings @alexxxxx_97 … Good luck my girl.

acustudents 6 weeks ago

PSA: there is a chinchilla in Bennett currently #EngineeringChapel

Kaitlyn G

September 30 at 8:11 p.m. Everyone’s all excited for fall, but I’m excited for pledging season. It’s finally here. Let the games begin. #ACUdifference

Scott Warner I was doing “pretty good” until last Sunday when my daughter mentioned that she has one more Sunday at church with the family. Gulp!

Leslie Del Hierro Gardner August 17

to Abilene Christian University. I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the incredible students that helped move our daughter into her new home yesterday. She brought the whole house it seemed but everyone was right on top of all her stuff. Your servant hearts made, what was kinda hard for us, that much easier. In the midst of it all, tired and sweaty, everyone had smiles on their faces and love to pour out onto these new students. Seeing all the love and prayers that we experienced yesterday helps confirm that ACU is the exact right place for her and we have no worries!!! Thank you again for all you did for us and her.

M.C. Hayes Jennings July 31

The difference in having a boy moving into the dorm vs. a girl moving into the dorm? We bought everything he needs in less than 2 hours. P.S. Since the countdown to moving in is on, proceed with caution when you approach me if you can’t handle a woman who might cry at the drop of a hat. I am on the verge of tears at the weirdest things. Heaven help me … #mybabyisgoingtocollege #mamaissad

Kendra Durrington Kendall Hess May 2

Playing with puppies instead of studying for finals? Yes please. #ACUdifference

Philip Ellis May 10

This is the best way I have found to describe my feelings. I’ve reached the end of my very favorite book, and while I know there’s a new wonderful book waiting to be opened, it’s OK for me to be sad about this one ending.

Go Wildcats! Abilene Christian University


Winter-Spring 2017


TheBOOKCASE Reconciliation Reconsidered

Worth the Wait



Edited by Tanya Smith Brice ISBN 978-0891123880 • 220 pages

By Karen (Gaskin ’93) Witemeyer AISN B01LONI62K • 113 pages

Essays by Dr. Douglas Foster, Dr. Richard Hughes (’67) and Dr. Jerry Taylor are among those addressing stereotypes, navigating race relations and revisiting Christ’s teachings about loving one’s neighbor.

The newest book by the award-winning author tells the story of a Texas shopkeeper-entrepreneur who partners with a freighter in a venture bringing economic opportunity – and perhaps the love she thinks may never come her way again.


By Randy Harris and Greg Taylor ISBN 978-0891123460 • 192 pages The Gospel of John was written so people would believe the unbelievable story of how God became man and lived among us. Believing that Jesus is truly God requires a daring faith that will cost you your life.


By Elise (Smith ’83) Mitchell ISBN 978-1259860997 • 288 pages Mitchell’s roadmap to modern leadership includes her own lessons and reflections as an innovative CEO, entrepeneur, wife and mother. ACU’s 2015 Outstanding Alumna of the Year writes about finding success as well as significance in one’s work and life.


By Dr. Philip Lewis (’64) and John P. Harrison ISBN 978-0891126652 • 208 pages Leading in business and churches requires showing people and organizations new places where they can and should venture.


By Cindy (Davy ’82) Feasel ISBN 978-0718088309 • 272 pages The poignant story of the late Grant Feasel (’83), a former college and NFL star whose battle with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) destroyed his marriage and fractured his family. The author, his former wife, chronicles the faith that gave her strength to endure extraordinarily difficult challenges caused by the effects of CTE on her spouse.


Winter-Spring 2017


Because of Bethlehem LOVE IS BORN, HOPE IS HERE

By Max Lucado (’77) ISBN 978-0849947599 • 224 pages Best-selling Christian author Lucado retells the odd, wonderful story of Bethlehem, and how the God who understands us also follows through on all His promises.


By Julie (Glover ’90) Parker ISBN 978-1424552405 • 192 pages The author, a blogger and professional counselor, writes about making the most of God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage.

West Texas Stories Edited by Glenn Dromgoole ISBN 978-0891124900 • 208 pages This collection includes more than three dozen pieces – historical, nostalgic, dramatic, amusing, personal – by some of the state’s best writers, including A.C. Greene (’48), Joe Holley (’68), Carlton Stowers, Leon Hale, T. Lindsay Baker, Sallie Reynolds Matthews, Elroy Bode, John Erickson, Red Steagall, Elmer Kelton and others.

Rightside-Up Living in an Upside-Down World By David Gibson (’80 M.Div.) ISBN 978-0890989135 • 216 pages Christians are faced with teachings, policies and behaviors contradicting God’s Word, even from within the church. Solid ground is needed for building a right-side-up life in Christ.

Selections of books about Abilene Christian University or those written, edited, compiled or contributed to by ACU alumni, faculty, staff and students


By Julie Lyles-Carr (’88) ISBN 978-0310345893 • 256 pages The author, a popular blogger and speaker, provides parents with tools for better communication, helping them better understand themselves, their parenting style and their child.


Edited by Dr. Ron Bruner (’10 D.Min.) and Dudley Chancey ISBN 978-0891124764 • 304 pages This guide into the adventure-filled spiritual journey of adolescents shows older disciples how to be wise and compassionate companions who can make an eternal difference in the lives of youth.

Throughout the World By Dr. Gary D. McCaleb (’64) with Lea (Thompson ’79) Watkins ISBN 978-0692767276 • 163 pages This book, another in a series by the Center for Building Community, connects the threads in fascinating stories of students who come from around the world to find common purpose at ACU.


Center for Building Community Abilene Christian University

Author Spotlight


Books by two ACU alumnae were among 11 winners recognized in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2016 Carol Award competition. A Worthy Pursuit, a novel by Karen (Gaskin ’93) Witemeyer (pictured at left), won in the historical romance category and The Calling of Ella McFarland, a book by Linda Brooks (’68) Davis, was judged best debut novel.

Christmas at Designers’ Homes Across America By Patricia (Hard ’56) McMillan and Katharine McMillan (’82) ISBN 978-0764351631 • 256 pages Explore the decorating strategies and ingenuity of designers whose stunning homes celebrate Christmas across the nation. Nearly 400 color photographs are shared by the authors, who are partners at a San Antonio architecture and interior design firm.


By Randy Harris and Dr. Carson Reed (’95 D.Min.) ISBN 978-0891126195 • 6 segments This DVD includes insightful conversations among practitioners who offer meaningful resources for church leaders as they endeavor to grow: Ben Siburt (’00), Dr. James Thompson (’64), Dr. Lynn Anderson (’90 D.Min.), Lance Bolay (’09), Dr. Barry Packer (’78), John Harp (’80), and Dr. David Wray (’67).


By Dr. C. Leonard Allen ISBN 978-0891125105 • 256 pages This revised edition – 25 years after the original – includes new essays from Randy Harris, Dr. Richard Beck (’89), Sara Barton, Raymond Carr, Lee Camp (’93 M.A.), John Mark Hicks, Jonathan Storment (’12 M.A.), and Scot McKnight.

Home Organization Tear Outs for the Whole Family By Kristi (Pawlik ’00) Dominguez ISBN 978-1624142857 • 192 pages Access helpful materials to simplify the lives of busy adults and the households they direct. Dominguez, who blogs at, provides cheerful and fun designs to get the whole family involved in taming organizational challenges.


Winter-Spring 2017



For the latest visit



Tabletop-size bronze replicas of Jacob’s Dream now available The Campus Store is now selling tabletop-size replicas of Jacob’s Dream, the nearly 40-foot-tall sculpture that has become an iconic symbol of ACU. Since its unveiling in 2006, the original sculpture has become one of the most popular backdrops in Abilene for baptisms, weddings, picnics, devotionals and other special events. The 28-inch-tall bronze replicas are individually cast by a foundry using traditional lost-wax processes. It takes several craftsmen and artisans, each contributing their trained skills and expertise, to create these works of art, said art and design professor Jack Maxwell (’78), the sculpture’s creator. The flame-applied verdigris patina simulates the coloring of the full-scale monument, yet each piece

To purchase a Jacob’s Dream replica visit

has subtle differences in character that make it a one-of-a kind original. “Our hope is that now alumni and other members of the university community will be able to take home with them something that keeps them connected to ACU and to the memories they’ve created here,” Maxwell said.

Spiritual formation program features Quest Chapel credits at ACU are now called Quest credits, a change led by the Spiritual Formation/Chapel Office that partners with faculty and staff to b​ roaden the menu of available opportunities for students. In Fall 2016, ACU’s spiritual formation program was renamed Quest, and a new website and ​mobile app are being phased in to allow students to track the credits they need to graduate. While Chapel in Moody Coliseum is still an important part of the student experience, students may earn additional credits at small-group chapels, forums and in certain service-based activities. The number of events from which students can choose has more than doubled in the past year. For example, students gain credits for attending such events as Broom Colloquium for Missions lectures, Cultural Awareness Week forums, and small-group chapels led by faculty and staff. “The goal of this effort was to recognize that spiritual formation of students is happening all the time and in all kinds of settings – ­ not just in Moody Coliseum at 11 a.m.,” said Dr. Jan Meyer (’87), director of spiritual formation. The mobile app lists all Quest events, including Moody Chapels and small-group events. Students can add events to their own personalized schedule on the app. F​ ull-time undergraduate students are required to earn 55 credits per semester. 





Round-trip miles flown from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene to Colorado Springs, Colo., by a C-130J for a pregame flyover Sept. 3 when ACU played the Air Force Academy to open the 2016 football season.

Number of endowments benefitted by more than 6,000 gifts to the Partnering in the Journey campaign to grow student scholarships. Gifts ranged from a $10 check to a $20 million estate gift; 804 individuals made a first-ever gift to endowed scholarships through the campaign.

Number of students enrolled in Fall 2016, an ACU record. Of them, 3,878 are from Texas; other states represented include California (112), Oklahoma (62), Colorado (55), Tennessee (42), Georgia (39), North Carolina (29), Missouri (27), Illinois (26) and Kansas (25). Overall, the university enrolled students from 51 states and territories, and 40 nations.

Winter-Spring 2017




1,310 M A S TER






The surgically clipped ear of this tabby cat indicates its inclusion in the TNR program at ACU.

Theatre alumna returns for ‘Lights Up!’ fundraiser

Feral Cat Initative controls campus feline population and become familiar with surgical instruments and how to monitor anesthesia, he said. More than 100 cats have been spayed and neutered since the program began. The cats are fed at four feeding stations around campus, which allows staff to monitor their health. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs have become popular nationally because of studies that show discontinuing the breeding cycle is an effective and humane approach to stabilizing feral cat populations. Other university campuses in the state with successful TNR programs include SMU, Texas A&M and North Texas. Hembree noted a marked decrease in number of litters at ACU since the program began. “In years past, they would see more than 12 litters born each summer,” he said. In 2015, eight litters were reported, and this summer only four were found.  KIM LEESON



CU is home to nearly 5,000 Wildcats – and 70 “wild” cats. Four years ago, the university began a Feral Cat Initiative in response to the burgeoning number of undomesticated cats making their home on campus. The program, overseen by grounds and landscape manager Gayenell Rainwater, involves humanely capturing the cats, neutering and vaccinating them, then returning them to campus. Each cat also is ear-tipped for identification. Dale Hembree, D.V.M., adjunct professor in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, provides veterinary services for the program. Though Hembree performs the surgical procedures, pre-vet students get hands-on experience by assisting him. Under his guidance, they prep the cats for surgery, perform blood draws, learn to identify internal parasites

Jasmin Richardson (’09) performed a one-woman show, “Just Jazz,” for the Department of Theatre’s “Lights Up!” fundraiser on Sept. 17, 2016, at Abilene’s Center for Contemporary Arts. Earlier in the day, she shared her story at a special chapel in Fulks Theatre for local school children, emphasizing the importance of education. “I learned so much about myself [at ACU],” she said. “I am here as your future self to tell you that your life is greater and bigger than you could ever imagine it.” Richardson, who lives in New York City, played the title Richardson role in Aida, ACU’s 2007 Homecoming musical. Since graduating, she has traveled the world as the lead in national and international tours of Memphis and Dreamgirls. Her latest role is Nicki Marron in a U.S. tour of The Bodyguard. She also recently became the face of Clinique cosmetics for an online advertising campaign. 

55,230 335 Followers of the university’s home page.

Number of students enrolled in ACU’s new online educational doctorate (Ed.D.) program. Learn more about ACU’s online programs at


Winter-Spring 2017


“Abilene Christian is a great school. … I think it was the best decision I ever made in my life.”


– Kansas City Chiefs third-year running back Charcandrick West (’14), in “The Man Behind the Smile,” a profile of the former ACU star on the team’s website, West led Kansas City in rushing in 2015 and has been an integral part of the Chiefs’ success in 2016.


Silence is the most terrifying thing in the world. If you get silent long enough, all of the stuff you keep trying to push away with noise and activity will creep back in.”

Don’t take my art lightly, just because it’s for children. … Abilene is in all my books. People will always find a reason in my fiction to stop here.”

– Bestselling, Emmy and Oscar award-winning children’s author, illustrator and filmmaker William Joyce, who spoke on campus Sept. 27, 2016, at a luncheon sponsored by ACU’s Center for Building Community. One of his characters, Art Atchison Aimesworth, lived in Abilene in 1908, as part of the story of Santa Calls, Joyce’s celebrated book that explains to the world that the Jolly Old Elf’s first stop each year is ACU’s hometown.

– ACU Bible, ministry and missions faculty member Randy Harris in an Aug. 30, 2016, Chapel presentation viewed more than 100,000 times on Facebook.

Watch the video at under the videos tab

I am like you in many ways. In fact, you and I are more alike than different.”


– Hope Martin (right), daughter of Angie (Griggs ’92) and Tim (’92) Martin, M.D., speaking in Chapel on Oct. 26, 2016, during Down Syndrome Awareness Week. She presented with her friend, Ethan Etter (left), son of Cheryl (Perkins ’83) and Eric Etter (’87).


Winter-Spring 2017


Watch the video at under the videos tab

CAMPUS VOICES Dr. John Azumah was the featured speaker Nov. 9-10, 2016, at the 10th annual Broom Colloquium, sponsored by ACU’s Halbert Institute for Missions. Azumah is professor of world Christianity and Islam at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga.

David M. Vanderpool Jr., M.D., (’82) was the featured speaker at 2016 Opening Assembly on Aug. 22, 2016. Vanderpool is co-founder of LiveBeyond, a humanitarian relief organization he and his wife, Laurie (Stallings ’81), founded in Haiti in 2010.

Chapel presenters in Fall 2016 included Luke Norsworthy (’02), preaching minister for Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin, Texas; Steve Cooner (’80), development director of Hope for Haiti’s Children; Toby Slough (’96), lead pastor at Cross Timbers Community Church in Argyle, Texas; and Hope Martin and Ethan Etter, Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month.


Featured speakers Sept. 18-21, 2016, during the 110th annual Summit were Dr. Jerry Taylor, ACU associate professor of Bible, ministry and missions; Sara Barton, Pepperdine University chaplain; Josh Graves, preaching minister for Otter Creek Church in Brentwood, Tenn.; Ali (Goncalves ’04) Kaiser, minister/ missionary from Itu, Brazil; Derran Reese (’00), director of global ministries for Abilene’s Highland Church of Christ; Dr. Monte Cox, dean of the College of Bible and Ministry at Harding University; Jonathan Storment (’12 M.A.), preaching minister of Highland Church of Christ; and David McQueen (’88), senior pastor of Abilene’s Beltway Park Church. Other speakers popular with audiences included Landon Saunders, president of Heartbeat Inc.; Dr. Billy Curl (’64), minister of Crenshaw Church of Christ in Los Angeles; Lawrence Rodgers, minister of West Side Church of Christ in Baltimore; and Dr. Royce Money (’64), ACU chancellor.

Earl Young (’62), 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medal winner, was the featured speaker Sept. 7, 2016, at a luncheon sponsored by ACU’s Center for Building Community. Family First hosted “Lifelong Love,” a Sept. 16, 2016, marriage seminar in Hart Auditorium with author/speaker Gary Thomas.






Guest speakers during Startup Week, Nov. 14-18, 2016, sponsored by the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and ACU CEO, included: Randy Brewer (’93), Revolution Pictures; Jerry Browder (’76),

Luis Clemens, senior diversity editor for NPR, was the featured lecturer Nov. 4-6 during JMC 303, a weekend Colloquy in Race and Media course for students in ACU’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.



Randy J. Hunt, Etsy’s vice president of design, led a workshop for Department of Art and Design students Oct. 25, 2016, in the Shore Art Gallery. During the workshop, students created posters with the theme “Make Beautiful Work.”


Michael Edmonds, head of education for Amazon Game Services, spoke Nov. 1, 2016, at a Tech Talk for students from ACU’s School of Information Technology. Edmonds has more than 25 years of experience in entertainment arts and video game development, and is the recipient of two congressional awards for technical innovation and public service.

Signet Health Corporation; Jarrod Brown (’00), Mission Lazarus; Blake Buchanan, Bahama Bucks; Chris Coggin (’07), Acton School of Business; Wade Floyd (’98), CoachTube; Kelly Foster (’95), EST Group; Sean Grose, Waverly’s Coffee Shop; Luke Hejl (’01), Social Factor; Larry James, CitySquare; Blake Leggett, White Wing Label; Cayce Powell (’95), Thompson & Associates, LLC; Matthew Sullivan (’09), Sylvan Learning Centers; Toby Thomas (’03), EnSite Solutions; Leslie Thompson (’05), Dusty Rocker Boots; Shannon (McKnight ’92) Wilburn, Just Between Friends Franchise System; and Mike Willoughby (’86), PFSweb.




Brett Biggs, executive vice president and CFO for Wal-mart Stores Inc., was featured Oct. 25, 2016, in the College of Business Administration’s Distinguished Speaker Series.


Winter-Spring 2017



For the latest visit


New academic center builds on expertise of ancient text scholars Childers, Niccum


Winter-Spring 2017


Learn more about ACU’s Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts at


Guests at the Carmichael-Walling Lectures examine ancient text artifacts on display.

Greek manuscripts of 1 Timothy into the Virtual Manuscript Room, which makes it possible for these manuscripts to be compared to all other Greek manuscripts and their testimony included in the critical apparatus of the Greek New Testament. Another project involves publishing the “Codex Climaci Rescriptus,” a manuscript that includes a number of texts in Greek, Christian Palestinian Aramaic and Syriac. CSART’s role focuses on the Syriac version of Climacus’ Ladder. Four graduate students, Ryne Parrish, Dominique Rideout, Daniel Marolf and Ethan Laster, are working on various versions of Climacus’ text. Soon students will be transcribing manuscripts of Revelation for the Novum Testamentum Graecum Editio Critica Maior Apocalypse Project, headed by the Institute for Septuagint and Biblical Textual Research in Wuppertal, Germany.

“There are enough projects in the works to keep us busy the next two decades,” said Dr. Curt Niccum (M.Div. ’92), the center’s assistant director. Niccum is a professor of Bible with a unique background in ancient manuscripts. He has worked on several international collaborations including the Dead Sea Scrolls Project, the International Greek New Testament Project and the International Project of the Text of Acts. Childers is ACU’s Carmichael-Walling Chair for New Testament and Early Christianity. He is a recognized Syriac scholar, publishing English translations of the four gospels as preserved in the ancient Middle Eastern language. “People are fascinated by what Christians were doing in the first few centuries,” Childers said. “We are able to shine a light on some of the most fascinating episodes in Christian tradition.” 


Students studying Bible at ACU will experience a new world of research opportunities with the launch of the Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts (CSART). The center opened Nov. 3, 2016, in conjunction with the university’s 30th annual Carmichael-Walling Lectures. Guest lecturer Archimandrite Justin Sinaites spoke about the treasures at the Monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt, where he serves as librarian. The monastery is one of the oldest Christian institutions in the world and has given ACU access to the oldest known Greek manuscript of John Climacus’ spiritual classic, Ladder of Divine Ascent, said CSART director Dr. Jeff Childers (’89). Through the center, students and faculty will be able to connect with research around the globe, Childers said. They will continue to contribute to a definitive critical edition of the Greek New Testament and to conduct research with the Monastery of St. Catherine. They also will contribute to projects sponsored by the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative. The Museum of the Bible, funded by the Green Foundation, is set to open November 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Green Foundation loaned several of the museum’s ancient manuscripts to CSART for display at the center’s opening. Already four undergraduate students, Zach Casey, Nicole Reed, Brianna Rideout and Samone Smith, are working on the Museum of the Bible’s Greek Paul Project. They are transcribing the texts of ancient


Study Abroad venue in Germany has a new home



ACU’s purchase of a historic villa in Leipzig will place Study Abroad students in the center of rich cultural and educational opportunities in the heart of Germany. The 15,000-square-foot villa will become the hub for a year-round program beginning in Spring 2018. Built in 1872, the property is in the Music District of the 1,000-year-old city. The villa will provide housing for about 35 students, as well as kitchens, classrooms and living spaces. It features 10-foot ceilings, original crown moldings and decorative woodwork, and has been renovated and modernized in recent years. It is a short walk from the historic city center and well connected to Leipzig’s excellent public transportation system. As the fastest-growing city in Germany, Leipzig is a great place for students to live and learn, said Stephen Shewmaker (’91), executive director of ACU’s Center for International Education.

Hannah Hamilton and (inset) Laura Hill Ortensie

Hamilton, Ortensie named top undergrad researchers



Learn more about Study Abroad at

wo of the hallmark characteristics of promising young scholars are independence and initiative. Recipients of ACU’s Undergraduate Researcher of the Year award in Fall 2016 demonstrated plenty of each in impressing their faculty colleagues. Laura Hill Ortensie, senior psychology major, was honored in the category of the arts, humanities and social science. Hannah Hamilton, senior physics major, was recognized in the category of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Ortensie partnered with Dr. Cherisse (Yungblut ’96 M.S.) Flanagan, assistant professor and associate director of the ACU Psychology Clinic, while co-authoring research published in the Modern Psychological Studies journal. A member of the McNair Scholars Program, Ortensie impressed Flanagan with her maturity and eagerness to innovate. She conceptualized an Experience of Love Questionnaire (ELQ) with subscales measuring a person’s experience of love in family, friends and romantic relationships, and their effect on depression. “My research taught me that I can do whatever I set my mind to, even in the face of adversity, as long as I work hard,” Ortensie said. “I combed through that

paper over and over again until it was perfect so that I could do the best work possible.” Hamilton, the daughter of theology faculty members Dr. Mark Hamilton (’90 M.Div.) and Dr. Samjung Kang Hamilton (’88 M.R.E.), had a front-row seat to science history when her faculty mentor, Dr. Josh Willis (’97), had a role in the 2015 discovery of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Hamilton assisted Willis in more groundbreaking follow-up research on the phenomenon first predicted by Albert Einstein’s 1915 theory of relativity. A veteran undergraduate research participant at national physics labs at Brookhaven and Los Alamos since her freshman year, Hamilton’s passport also now reflects working alongside Willis last summer at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hanover, Germany. Planck won the 1918 Nobel Prize for originating the quantum theory. “What struck me the most was the diversity,” Hamilton said of her experience at the institute in Germany. “Nations throughout Europe and Asia were represented in the group. This really made me realize how physics research is a human effort, not just the effort of one nationality or type of person.”  ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017


KACU-FM 89.5 is celebrating its 30th year. The NPR affiliate has offices and studios in the Don H. Morris Center, where students from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication serve as on-air announcers and produce local newscasts during syndicated NPR programming. Nathan Gibbs (’00) is the station’s general manager and an assistant professor in JMC. “A Prairie Home Companion” and classical music favorite “From the Top” have been broadcast from Abilene during the station’s tenure. Teams of students from the McNair Scholars Program presented undergraduate research during the fall semester at conferences in Albuquerque, N.M., and Lake Delavan, Wisc. They were among more than 75 students from across the university who presented at events in Fall 2016 such as the Quadrennial Physics Conference (San Francisco, Calif.), North American Christians in Social Work Annual Convention (Cincinnati, Ohio), Fall Meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), Accord Summit on Excellence in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (Ridgecrest, N.C.), Literacy Research Association (Nashville, Tenn.), Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (San Marcos, Texas), Optical Society of America (Providence, R.I.), Frontiers in Optics: The 100th OSA Annual Meeting and Exhibit/Laser Science XXXII (Rochester, N.Y.), National Association of Teachers of Singing Conference (Commerce, Texas), and the Association for the Sociology of Religion (Seattle, Wash.). Senior theatre major Alisha Taylor conducted an African dance workshop with local school children in conjunction with theatre alumna Jasmin Richardson’s (’09) visit to campus for the department’s “Lights Up!” fundraiser. See related story on page 47.


who presented “In the Lion’s Den: On Being a Faithful Christian Social Worker in a Secularized World.” Rainford is dean of the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. The lecture series honors Culp, an ACU associate professor emeritus of social work. Dr. Dana (Kennamer ’81) Pemberton, professor and chair of teacher education, has been named a board member of The Society for Children’s Spirituality. SCS is an ecumenical organization of academicians and practitioners dedicated to promoting informed practice regarding children’s spirituality. It sponsors a bi-annual Children’s Spirituality Conference at Lipscomb University. Jenn (Barker ’03) Rogers, instructor of teacher education, also runs World’s Okayest

• Dr. Tonya Sawyer McGee, program director, Doctor of Nursing Practice (ACU Dallas)

ACU has 253 full-time faculty members, 93 percent of whom are tenured or on tenure track holding terminal degrees. The following were added to the faculty for the current school year:

• Dr. James Morris, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (ACU Dallas)

• Dr. John Boyles, assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry

• Leslie Reed, instructor of language and literature

• Dr. Robert L. Brown, assistant professor of engineering • Dylan Brugman (’14), instructor of communication and sociology • Dr. James Carpenter (’97 M.S.), associate professor of agricultural and environmental sciences • Lory Chrane (’90), instructor of communication sciences and disorders • Dr. Brian Cole, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (ACU Dallas) • Dr. Sarah Easter (’06), assistant professor of management sciences • Dr. Wade Fish, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (ACU Dallas)

The ACU School of Social Work’s third annual William “Bill” Culp Endowed Lecture on Nov. 14, 2016, featured Dr. William C. Rainford,

• Dr. Libby McCurley, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition


Mom (WOM), a nonprofit with more than 17,000 Facebook group members who help with donations to provide care packages to mothers in need who have medical issues or are homeless. Her husband, Mark (’03), Rogers is president of Abilene’s Big Brothers Big Sisters. Learn more at

New faculty added for 2016-17 school year

OT Practice published a story in its May 9, 2016, issue about ACU occupational Taylor therapy students using 3-D printing technology to explore development of prosthetic hand devices. The magazine is published by the American Occupational Therapy Association. See related story on page 12.

Winter-Spring 2017



• Dr. Diana Flanagan, assistant professor of biology • Dr. Lloyd Goldsmith (’73), Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (ACU Dallas) • Leigh Holley, instructor of nursing • Dr. Kathleen Lee (’06), assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry • Dr. Karen Maxwell, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (ACU Dallas)

• Dr. Lisa Merchant (’04 M.S.), assistant professor of marriage and family therapy

• Marla Panzer, instructor of nursing • Dr. Amanda Pittman (’09), assistant professor of Bible, missions and ministry • Dr. Linnea Rademaker, Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (ACU Dallas)

• Dr. Ben Ries, associate dean for vocational formation (ACU Dallas) • Dr. Michael Rogers, assistant professor of music • Dr. Sara (Blakeslee ’06) Salkil, program director, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (ACU Dallas) • Dr. Ian Shepherd, Master of Business Administration (ACU Dallas) • Dr. Jeremy St. John, assistant professor of management sciences / information technology • Karen St. John, instructor of information technology and computing • Megan Steele, instructor of nursing • Dr. Katie Wick, assistant professor of management sciences • Khalilah Williams (’06), assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders • Dr. Peter Williams, assistant dean, School of Educational Leadership (ACU Dallas) • Dr. Jonathan Wilson, assistant dean, School of Professional Studies (ACU Dallas)

ACU has an extensive network of alumni who give back to their alma mater by providing internships for fellow Wildcats – and the benefits go both ways. Internships provide a great way for students to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice in a professional setting, and they provide a way for employers to recruit new talent. Ashlyn Stewart, senior art and design major from Abilene, is one such student. She interned with Cru Dinnerware, a company founded and run by alumna Darbie (Wilson ’03) Angell. Over the summer of 2016, Stewart worked with Angell on social media strategies, product photography and launching a blog. Stewart’s summer internship resulted in an invitation in the fall to accompany Angell’s team to the Tabletop Market in New York City, where she met with buyers and executives from Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, Bloomingdale’s and Wayfair. She also met with media from leading bridal publications including Brides Magazine, Martha Stewart Brides and The Knot, all of which have featured Cru designs. Angell said she’s had great success hiring ACU interns. “They are extremely driven and have always performed beyond what I had initially expected of them,” she said. Statistics gathered from the May 2015 graduating class show that 71 percent of graduating seniors surveyed had completed one or more

internships while attending ACU, said Jill Fortson, director of the ACU Career Center. Internships, she said, are playing an increasingly important role in post-graduation success. “Most employers are searching for recent graduates who have obtained work experience in addition to their degree,” Fortson said. “Not only do internships provide students with the experience necessary to pursue their field of choice, they also allow students to build a professional network and learn essential skills that can only be learned outside of the classroom.” Here are just a few of the other internships ACU students held this past year: Colton Powell, sophomore finance major from Nashville, Tenn., served as an economic policy intern last summer for the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Washington, D.C. “My experience was phenomenal,” he said. “I got to do extensive research on economic issues as well as write rough drafts of potential bills.” One of the drafts he wrote involved giving

Sarah Yarbrough at the Kennedy Center


Internship program grows with support of alumni who share workspace, experiences


Ashlyn Stewart and Darbie (Wilson ’03) Angell

states more flexibility to delegate their portion of federal welfare dollars to programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit with a stated goal of decreasing overall poverty. Sarah Yarbrough, senior marketing major from Farmers Branch, spent the summer as a marketing intern for the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She set up a subscriber benefit program with restaurants in the area and was involved in restructuring customer satisfaction surveys for Kennedy Center events. “My internship gave me so much insight into the workings of a large nonprofit organization,” she said. Taylor Spencer, junior marketing major from Joplin, Mo., interned with Sirius XM Radio Inc. as the product management assistant. Zachary Bealmear, senior management major from Dickinson, was the program management intern for NASA in Houston. Hannah Davis, junior family and child services major from Lubbock, interned with WorldWide Witness and worked for Hacienda of Hope, a nonprofit orphanage in Tabacundo, Ecuador. Elisabeth Danelski, sophomore biochemistry major from Burleson, was the research intern at the ACU Summer Research Institute in Abilene. Tre Byrd, junior youth and family ministry major from San Antonio, was youth ministry intern for Legacy Church in North Richland Hills. Joseph Vasami, junior bible and ministry major from Houston, interned for Gateway Church in his hometown. Ashlyn Anthony, senior graphic design and advertising major from Dallas, interned with Redbook magazine in New York City.

Colton Powell and Sen. Marco Rubio

If you are among the growing network of alumni who have internship opportunities, please contact Fortson at to learn ways you can connect with ACU students. 



Winter-Spring 2017



For the latest visit


ACU had its best-ever enrollment, more than 4,900 students for Fall 2016, including the third-largest freshman class in school history and largest graduate enrollment. In addition, the university was again ranked as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and The Princeton Review. The Fall 2016 enrollment of 4,910 included more than 1,700 new students, including those on campus in Abilene and enrolled in online graduate programs. Among them were a record 1,152 graduate students, 650 in online programs through ACU Dallas (See story on pages 34-39). The 1,047 freshmen earned a best-ever average high school GPA, and 59 percent graduated in the top


illard Hall on the ACU campus was dedicated Aug. 19, 2016, as the 11th residence hall. Namesakes Gayle (’57) and Max Dillard were present for the event. The property at 633 E.N. 19th St. opened in 1986 as Christian Village of Abilene but was acquired by ACU and renovated into an on-campus home for sophomore women. Gayle and Max have seen their three children and three grandchildren attend the university. “In past conversations, Max shared with me his passion for honoring women like Gayle for the role they play in developing the faith of their children,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) at the dedication. “Once the prospect for providing a new living space for our young women emerged, we realized it would be a meaningful way to express that appreciation,” Schubert said. In front of Dillard Hall is God’s Messenger, a bronze sculpture by Abilene artist Steve Neves depicting a mother reading the Bible to three children. 


Winter-Spring 2017


quarter of their high school class. U.S. News ranked ACU 18th overall among regional universities in the West for “Great Schools, Great Prices,” recognizing the university as one of the “Best Colleges for Veterans” and one of the “Most Innovative” schools for 2017. The Princeton Review (TPR) considers Abilene Christian among the best in the West. Forbes ranked ACU among the top 12 percent for higher education in the nation. Earlier, TPR ranked ACU 27th among the nation’s Top 50 Game Design Programs for undergraduates. In addition, ACU was named a “Military Friendly School” for 2017. The rankings are an indication of the respect ACU has garnered among national experts in higher education, said president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). “It highlights the quality of our faculty, staff and students,” Schubert said. “It reinforces that we’re doing things people value and it’s great to be recognized for that.”

Download new issue of WC A new issue of WC: The Wildcat Magazine for prospective students and parents is available for download as an app for Apple and Android devices. The latest issue features the women’s basketball team, alumni Jeff Rogers (’02) and Jasmin Richardson (’09), and management sciences faculty member Dr. Laura (Cleek ’88) Phillips, among other content. It also includes a student-generated list of Wildcats’ favorite places to eat, as well as resources to help families begin their college preparation. Download the app by searching for “ACU’s The WC Magazine.” 

ACU’s 11th residence hall opens, home to 170 students

(From left) Dr. Phil Schubert with Gayle and Max Dillard at the dedication of Dillard Hall


Enrollment record tops 4,900 students overall, education rankings strong



Museum Visit by G. Harvey

G. Harvey Room recognizes acclaimed painter

ACU senior accounting major and CEO chapter officer Jack Oduro attended the Griggs Center’s CEO Networking Dinner Nov. 14, 2016, during Startup Week, where he met Pamela (Rhoads ’71) Willingham (left) and Shannon (McKnight ’92) Wilburn, who is is CEO of Just Between Friends. A successful and generous entrepreneur, Wilburn received ACU’s Distinguished Alumni Citation in 2013.

A conference room in Hunter Welcome Center honors prominent Texas artist Gerald Harvey Jones (’56), better known to art enthusiasts nationwide as G. Harvey. The acclaimed artist met his wife, Patti (’55), while both were students at ACU. The G. Harvey Room, located on the first floor of the Hunter Welcome Center, serves as a small gallery for Harvey’s works as well as the location for private lunch and dinner meetings. It also is open to visitors during special events on campus. The room displays several large pieces of Harvey’s work donated by the artist, as well as an original oil painting named Museum Visit, donated by a fellow alumnus who wished to remain anonymous. Also in the room is a photograph of Harvey in his studio, a few of his paint brushes in a frame, and a limited edition book of his paintings, which contains a personal inscription of appreciation to ACU in which the artist says he finds the inspiration for his paintings in his “unwavering loyalty to God, family, country, friends and work.”

Griggs Center teaches, models values that turn students of any major into entrepreneurs and philanthropists


or a university to effectively grow the entrepreneurs of tomorrow requires an appreciation for innovation and an educational enterprise tuned not just to emerging business trends but the high energy and creativity today’s students bring with them to college. By all measures, ACU’s Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy is not just succeeding but leading other university-based centers like it. Rising above the more than 250 U.S. universities with student chapters in The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is no easy accomplishment, given steep competition from competitor business schools. But Abilene Christian has found its niche at the top of that pack – twice – in growing young entrepreneurs whose example is a pacesetter for others in higher education to emulate. Although the Griggs Center is part of ACU’s College of Business Administration, one in four students in its CEO chapter majors in a field other than business. Named the nation’s best CEO chapter with the best chapter business (Wildcat Ventures) for two straight years is a remarkable feat. The ACU chapter beat others from Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas

Christian, Texas State and Texas A&M universities, receiving its latest awards in October 2016 at CEO’s national conference in Tampa, Fla. “The student leaders have done an amazing job. The success of the group is a testament to their hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit of ACU’s student body. Our CEO chapter provides a great experience and learning opportunity for all ACU students,” said Jim Litton, J.D. (’01), Griggs Center founding director. ACU’s CEO chapter is a student-led organization spreading entrepreneurial spirit on campus through its speaker series, Startup Week, networking events, an annual service trip and other activities. The Griggs Center also sponsors the annual Springboard Ideas Challenge, offering $40,000 in prizes to entrepreneurs from Abilene and 19 West Texas counties. The Griggs Center also recently received an award for Outstanding Student Engagement and Leadership at the annual conference of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. Georgetown University and the University of Michigan were the other GCEC finalists. The center’s namesake is Dr. Jack Griggs (’64), Overton Faubus Professor Emeritus of Business who was COBA dean from 1991-99. 


Winter-Spring 2017


175 Toyota Plaza, Suite 500


Memphis, TN 38103


T 901.521.1440


F 901.525.2760





a2016 LRK Inc. All Rights Reserved.

An architect’s proposed view of the Village at Allen Ridge, looking northwest from the intersection of Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard.

THE VILLAGE AT ALLEN RIDGE Abilene, Texas January 8, 2016


City Council approves rezoning of property so major real estate development can proceed Abilene, Texas October 18, 2016

ACU’s Village at Allen Ridge has moved a step closer to reality with approval from the Abilene City Council to rezone universityowned land, making way for shops, restaurants, a 280-unit high-end apartment complex and a waterfront walking trail. In May 2016, ACU announced plans to develop 87 acres at the corner

of Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard into an urban development that will contribute financially to the city and the university. During the next few months, the university will finalize leases with tenants, architectural plans and financing, said Kelly Young (’85), ACIMCO vice president for real

estate development, who is overseeing the project. The development anticipates restaurants and shops, and utilizes land previously dedicated to ACU’s Allen Farm. Across the intersection is Wildcat Stadium, Abilene Christian’s new on-campus venue for football that opens in September 2017.

Strategic Plan available online

NCSA president Moore officing at ACU

The university’s strategic plan for 2016-21 is now available for download at The five-year plan focuses on three outcomes: innovative, relevant programs and delivery; deep engagement in our mission through relationship building C GI TE STRA PLAN and spiritual formation; 2016-21 and growth in many facets of the university.

ACU’s support of the National Christian School Association includes hosting its new president, Kelly Moore (’79), in an office in the Hunter Welcome Center. Moore, former president of Fort Worth Christian School, becomes the first full-time head of NCSA, which was headquartered at Oklahoma Christian University for the past 25 years.

Church Health Assessment tool. Developed by research experts Dr. Carley Dodd (’70) and Dr. Suzie Macaluso, it provides profiles across nine areas of congregational perceptions: vision/mission, ministry/activity effectiveness, family life stages, spiritual formation/discipleship, worship, congregational culture/communication/ conflict, leadership, church relationships, and finance/facilities. For information, call 325-674-3722 or email


In Christ and in


Unity: Our Vision

in Action

Winter-Spring 2017


Siburt offers Church Health Assessment If you’re looking for a good way to take the temperature of your congregation, the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry now offers a


‘Many and One’ campaign urges students to Be a Part

We offer 70 undergraduate degrees and 135 areas of study, all of which are deeply rooted in Christian values and fueled by innovative teaching to prepare you for success in today’s global marketplace. Here, you will be challenged intellectually while developing spiritually, all in preparation for successful Christian service and leadership.

The longstanding ACU intramural sport of waterball is being replaced with three other pool-based sports: inner tube water polo, water volleyball and log rolling. The latter took place in Fall 2016. ACU’s decision to sink waterball was made after evaluating injury records, safety issues, participation rates, and feedback from students and club sponsors, said Joel Swedlund (’93), director of the Royce and Pam Money Student Wellness and Recreation Center. “These sports have shown to be very successful programs at other universities, and we hope to see the same participation rates at ACU,” he said. The new intramural competitions take place in the Money Center, which includes an Olympic-size lap pool and leisure pool. Waterball was dominated in recent years by women’s social club GATA and men’s clubs Gamma Sigma Phi and Galaxy. 

Be a part – and discover how your life and work answer God’s call for you.



MANY MINDS ONE BODY We’re excited you have applied to Abilene Christian University. We can’t wait to get to know you better and hope you will be a part of the ACU Class of 2021. As a Wildcat, you’ll experience moments big and small that will forever change your life – whether it’s major campus-wide events like Candlelight Devo and Sing Song, daily Chapel worship, or simply working together on a group project. You’ll be a part of an academic community that values innovative learning and authentic spiritual growth.


Finding the right university is no easy task. We are glad you found us!

“The purpose was to discover what makes ACU truly unique and how this can be communicated to various audiences,” said Jason Groves (’00), chief marketing officer. “Many and One” is based on 1 Corinthians 12:12, which reads “Just as the body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” See pages 36-41 for profiles of the kind of students ACU Online is attracting in record numbers. 

Arbor Day Foundation recognizes ACU for third consecutive year With more than 2,100 trees spread across its 262-acre campus, it should be no surprise that ACU has been recognized for the third straight year with a Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation. “The trees our forefathers planted and the trees we continue to plant today add many benefits to the campus and are an important part of what makes our campus beautiful,” said Corey Ruff, executive director of



A new branding campaign for the university appears on the website, as well as billboards, videos and other advertisements nationwide as the university seeks to reach a broader audience of prospective students. The “Many and One” campaign invites prospective students to “Be a Part” of a community of learners who come from different backgrounds and aspire to different careers but share a common goal: discovering how their life and work answer God’s call. The creative strategy especially targets adult learners who might be interested in furthering their education online while continuing their careers. ACU worked with an outside firm, Helix Education, which conducted research and met with focus groups to develop the campaign.

Bald Cypress trees line the sidewalk southwest of the Williams Performing Arts Center at ACU.

Three new IM sports replace waterball competition

ACU is a diverse, welcoming, academically rigorous community redefining what it means to be a Christian university in the 21st century.

facilities and campus management. ACU’s hilltop campus was built in 1929 on part of the historic Hashknife Ranch, and holes for planting trees in front of Hardin Adminstration Building had to be blasted from the rock-hard ground with explosives. Today, those pecans, live oaks and sycamores are some of the tallest trees at ACU. Tree Campus USA was created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.


Winter-Spring 2017


Wildcat SPORTS

For the latest visit


Dorrel selected to lead renaissance of Wildcat football in new on-campus stadium era


In six seasons as a head coach, Dorrel has compiled a 76-8 record, a 90.5 winning percentage that is the best active mark in college football, ahead of The Ohio State University’s Urban Meyer (second at 85.5 percent). Dorrel led the Bearcats to the NCAA Division II playoffs in all six of his seasons as the head coach and coached them to 30 straight victories to end his tenure at his alma mater. That 30-game streak is the longest in the nation at any level, besting the University of Alabama’s 25 consecutive wins. Dorrel also was I’m excited voted the American to be in Texas with the Football Coaches’ greatest high school football Association (AFCA) Division and greatest high school football II Coach of the coaches in the country. … Year for 2013, I’m excited about being able 2015 and 2016, to share my faith in this forum when he led “Adam is and be able to talk about it the Bearcats to the perfect national titles. in an open and meaningful person to “Adam is a way on a daily basis.” lead ACU proven champion football into an – ADAM DORREL who has grown up in exciting new era,” and overseen one of the said ACU director of most respected and successful athletics Lee De Leon. “He programs in college football,” said is a man of God who has the passion, ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert organization and leadership we (’91). “He will build a strong staff need to take us to the next level. (See page 60.) that understands our He was the unanimous selection unique mission and uses our growing of our search committee, and I’m reputation as a university to attract thrilled he accepted our offer.” quality student-athletes who want “I’m excited to be in Texas with to be part of something truly special the greatest high school football as we enter a new era of Wildcat and greatest high school football football.” coaches in the country,” Dorrel said. This fall, Abilene Christian will “I’m looking forward to getting on move into a new venue (Anthony the road and meeting those coaches Field at Wildcat Stadium), the first and recruiting this great state. time ACU will have an on-campus Another reason for this move is that stadium to call home since 1946, I’m excited about being able to share the last full season its football my faith in this forum and being team played at A.B. Morris Field. able to talk about it in an open and (See pages 14-19.) meaningful way on a daily basis.”

Adam Dorrel, the winningest active head coach in NCAA football, has signed a five-year contract to become the 20th head coach in ACU football history. Dorrel – who served six seasons as the head coach at NCAA Division II power Northwest Missouri State University – was introduced at a Dec. 19, 2016, press conference, two days after his team won its second straight national title and third under his leadership with a 29-3 win over the University of North Alabama. He replaces Ken Collums, whose contract was not renewed after the 2016 season. ACU is just 5-17 the last two years in the Southland Conference, one of the top Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) leagues in the nation. The Wildcats have completed a four-year transition from Division II to Division I affiliation, and will be eligible in 2017 to win the Southland and reach the FCS national playoffs. 58

Winter-Spring 2017


Rendering of ACU’s new beach volleyball courts

Mooney hired as head coach, beach volleyball added as newest intercollegiate sport

So long, Shotwell: ACU’s last game at venerable stadium record of 182-108-4 (.626 winning percentage). ACU’s best 10-season stretch at Shotwell was in the 1970s when the Wildcats were 43-12 (.782 winning percentage) at home and won two NAIA Division I national titles. ACU enjoyed five unbeaten regular seasons in Shotwell (5-0 in 1963, 6-0 in 1973, 5-0 in 1974, 5-0 in 1978 and 4-0 in 2013). And while JEREMY ENLOW

Shotwell was ACU’s home football stadium from 1959-2016.

See Bonus Coverage photo essay at


Lubbock native and former University of Mississippi assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Angela Mooney has been hired as the ninth head coach in ACU volleyball program history. Mooney replaces Jason Bibler, who was released from his contract Jan. 27, 2017, after posting a record of 27-63 in three seasons as Mooney head coach. She served the previous 13 seasons as an assistant coach at The University of Texas-El Paso, South Dakota State University and Ole Miss after a four-year playing career at Texas Tech University, where she earned a degree in human development and family studies. Mooney helped lead Ole Miss to a 61-35 record over the last three seasons, the most wins for the Rebels in a three-year span in 30 years. Last May, the Ole Miss recruiting class – which was spearheaded by Mooney – was recognized as one of the best in NCAA Division I. At ACU Mooney also will oversee the university’s 17th intercollegiate sport and the NCAA’s fastest-growing one: women’s beach volleyball. Four universities in the Southland Conference sponsor the sport with others studying the possibility of adding it to their lineups. Indoor volleyball players will comprise the beach volleyball team for its inaugural season, and matches will be played on sand courts to be constructed on the east side of the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

After 57 full seasons of playing their in-town football games at historic Shotwell Stadium, the Wildcats bid farewell to their home away from home since 1960 on Nov. 5, 2016, with a 25-22 come-from-behind win over Northwestern State University. Beginning with a Sept. 16, 2017, home game against Houston Baptist University, ACU will be playing its home games at the on-campus Wildcat Stadium, which is currently under construction. When completed, the stadium will seat 9,000 with standing room for approximately 3,000 more. Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy a stadium club with loge seating or a private suite in the five-story Chuck Sitton Tower, which was named in October after a $3 million gift from alumni David D. (’78) and Kathy (Gay ’78) Halbert. Sitton (’78) was an all-America defensive back, c0-captain of the 1977 national championship team, and David’s best friend; the two were football teammates at Abilene High School. Tragically, Sitton died in a 1980 house fire in Abilene. Wildcat Stadium also promises fans modern amenities, including one of the largest video boards in NCAA FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). Shotwell, however, offered few such comforts. The press box lacked central heat and air conditioning, and passing thunderstorms often caused rainwater to pour down its interior walls. The Wildcats finished their 57 full seasons (plus another two games in 1959) at the stadium, adjacent to the West Texas Expo Center in east Abilene, with a final

ACU sports information directors who worked Shotwell’s press box for 57 years: (from left) Lance Fleming (’92), Dr. Charlie Marler (’55) and Garner Roberts (’70).

the 2016 season didn’t turn out the way the Wildcats anticipated when it kicked off in late August, Abilene Christian was able to knock off the Demons in the final home game on its schedule. Freelance photographer Jeremy Enlow takes a look at ACU’s final game at Shotwell and the people behind the gameday experience in a photo essay in online-only Bonus Coverage. 


Winter-Spring 2017


Late in the fourth quarter of ACU’s home game Nov. 12, 2016, fog rolls into P.E. Shotwell Stadium. The venue opened in 1959, named for former longtime Abilene High School coach Pete Shotwell. AHS and Cooper High School will continue to play home games there after ACU’s on-campus Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium opens in September 2017.

BC 1 3

Winter-Spring 2017



Shotwell SO LONG,

A behind-the-scenes look at ACU’s final home game in Abilene’s venerable Shotwell Stadium PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEREMY ENLOW


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 1 4

Freshman fullback Colton Colhea, wearing a sling while recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery, takes a break on a bench while fans begin to enter the stadium.

BC 1 5

Winter-Spring 2017





Winter-Spring 2017

BC 1 6

Musical instruments for ACU’s Big Purple Band to use during its halftime show are set out of harm’s way in preparation for the game in Shotwell.

A narrow staircase connects Shotwell’s top floor to the press box below.

BC 1 7

Winter-Spring 2017


A security official mans a small room near the south entrance to the Shotwell press box.

When it opens in September 2017, Wildcat Stadium’s pressbox will provide a stark contrast to Shotwell’s spartan accommodations for pro football scouts, media and other guests.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 1 8

Lance Fleming (’92), assistant athletics director for media relations, studies rosters on his laptop before the game between ACU and the Northwest Louisiana University. Fleming coordinates the press box crew, which keeps statistics and serves the working media who cover the game.

Garner Roberts (’70), former longtime director of sports information, makes his way up to the Shotwell press box.

BC 1 9

Winter-Spring 2017


David Catalina (middle) visits with Ron Hadfield (left) and Dr. Charlie Marler in the press box about Shotwell Stadium history.

Shotwell’s press box crew includes Seth Wilson, Keith Befner, Chris Macaluso, Joey Roberts (’99), Garner Roberts (’70), David Catalina (’69), Ron Hadfield (’79), Grant Boone (’91), Dr. Charlie Marler (’55) and Lance Fleming (’92).


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2 0

Safety Royce Moore (1) listens to music before the game in the Shotwell locker room.

Running backs De’Andre Brown (22), Tracy James (23) and Adrian Duncan (21) pray before the game in the showers of Shotwell’s locker room.

BC 2 1

Winter-Spring 2017


ACU offensive linemen gather outside the locker room to pray before the game.

Senior defensive backs Quinton Baker (30), Keith Barnett (24), Richard Griffin III (13) and D.J. Arnold (31) pose before the game in the Shotwell locker room.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2 2

BC 2 3

Winter-Spring 2017



Purple thumbprint cookies from the bakery at Abilene’s United Supermarket are a longtime dessert tradition in the press box at ACU home games.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2 4

Jill Fleming, wife of Lance Fleming (’92), organizes food and beverages for the working media and other pressbox guests who dine on barbecue brisket and pork prepared by a local barbecue restaurant.

Ryan Fleming, son of Lance and Jill, makes his way down to the first row of seats in the pressbox with his lunch plate.

BC 2 5

Winter-Spring 2017



Some fans use duct tape to secure homemade spirit signs around the stadium.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2 6

On Senior Day, ACU quarterback Parker McKenzie and family members acknowledge applause from the crowd and teammates.

BC 2 7

Winter-Spring 2017





Winter-Spring 2017

BC 2 8

BC 2 9

Winter-Spring 2017



The Wildcats gather to build enthusiasm before their game with Northwestern State University, a Southland Conference rival from Natchitoches, La.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 3 0

ACU sideline reporter Mary Kate Rotenberry (left) and game captains Parker McKenzie (14), Nik Grau (43), Austin Kilcullen (85) and Hayden Brodowsky (73) watch referee Ross Smith conduct the ceremonial pregame coin toss at midfield.

Grant Boone, the radio voice of ACU football, greets fans tuning in on 98.1 FM The Ticket in Abilene and

BC 3 1

Winter-Spring 2017



Parts of the Shotwell press box are a maze of cables and wires used for broadcasting and public address systems.

Videographers work from a precarious position on the observation deck of Shotwell’s top floor.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 3 2

BC 3 3

Winter-Spring 2017



Willie the Wildcat and a young fan watch the game from seats near the Big Purple Band on the northwest side of Shotwell.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 3 4

Dave Stevens watches the game while cooking hotdogs and sausage above the south end zone of Shotwell.

BC 3 5

Winter-Spring 2017





Winter-Spring 2017

BC 3 6

Dr. Jack Griggs (’64) and his wife, Ann (Faubus ’65), are longtime fans of the Wildcats. Jack is Overton Faubus Professor Emeritus of Business and a former ACU football letterman.

(FROM LEFT) ACU students Nae Givens, Nikole Taylor and Ashlan Smith cheer a big play by the Wildcats.

BC 3 7

Winter-Spring 2017


Bailey Smith (left) and Alexis Taylor are two of ACU’s 15 cheerleaders for 2016-17.

ACU faculty members Dr. Tom Milholland (foreground) and behind him, Dr. Cheryl Mann Bacon, watch the game. Milholland is assistant provost for institutional effectiveness and Bacon (’76) is professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 3 8

BC 3 9

Winter-Spring 2017



ACU director of athletics emeritus Wally Bullington (’53) holds a microphone while serving as a third commentator on the radio broadcast from his seat at Shotwell. Bullington starred for the Wildcats and later led them as head coach to the 1973 NAIA Division I national championship.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4 0

Student spirit organization Wildcat Reign is composed of ACU’s most energetic fans, who stand the entire game from their seats behind the home team bench.

BC 4 1

Winter-Spring 2017



Mary Kate Rotenberry provides sideline reporting for the ACU radio broadcast team.

The Big Purple Band awaits its cue to enter the field and begin its final halftime show of the season.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4 2

BC 4 3

Winter-Spring 2017



Fans have watched the Wildcats play in Shotwell since 1959.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4 4

The narrow hallway in the Shotwell press box is quiet as media and ACU staff begin wrapping up their work for the night.

Lance Fleming shares game information on social media and

BC 4 5

Winter-Spring 2017



Ron Hadfield writes the game story to be submitted to Associated Press and other media, and posted on

Chris Macaluso, assistant director of media relations for ACU Athletics, checks statistics.



Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4 6

ACU associate director of bands Dr. Brandon Houghtalen (lower left) prepares to lead the Big Purple Band in “Oh Dear Christian College” while the football team, coaching staff and fans gather one last time on the field below. After every home game, the band plays “ACU Fight Song” and the school song before singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” a cappella.

BC 4 7

Winter-Spring 2017




Winter-Spring 2017

BC 4 8

BC 4 9

Winter-Spring 2017



Grant Boone and Mark Rogers (’03) wrap up their radio broadcast of the game as the last fans exit Shotwell’s west seating area.


Winter-Spring 2017

BC 5 0

BC 5 1

Winter-Spring 2017





Winter-Spring 2017

BC 5 2

The world is larger than life for John Layfield (’89), aka John Bradshaw Layfield, JBL or any other of the half-dozen nicknames, initials and other handles the former Wildcat great has answered to in the last 20 years. And for three weeks during the recent ACU football season, he added another entry to his wildly varied vitae: football commentator. Layfield was the color analyst for three ACU games broadcast this past season, two on the radio and one on regional television. Growing up in nearby Sweetwater, the youngster was an ACU ball boy who became hooked on pro wrestling and Wildcat football. He eventually became an agile, quick-footed offensive lineman who starred for ACU despite playing his senior season on one good leg. The other he once simply taped up when his fibula broke in the next to last game, and he continued to play. He became all-conference, all-America and was eventually named to ACU’s all-decade and all-century teams. His success collegiately took him to NFL training camp and


Layfield returns to broadcast games of a team he knows well

the Los Angeles Raiders’ practice squad. When the World League of American Football opened in 1991, Layfield saddled up with the San Antonio Riders and spent the season protecting, among others, Jason Garrett, who went on to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he is now head coach. By 1992, the damage from the leg injury sustained in college had all but ended his football career. Of course, when you weigh 275 pounds and stand 6 feet 6 inches, one of your options includes professional wrestling. On a tip from a teammate, Layfield learned the craft by training with Olympic and pro wrestler Brad Rheingans and soon had matches booked around the world. He signed with the Global Wrestling Federation where he began performing under many monikers, including John Hawk, at the Dallas Sportatorium. His big break came in 1995 when he signed with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), whose CEO Vince McMahon changed Layfield’s

stage name to Justin Hawk Bradshaw, which became Blackjack Bradshaw and finally John Bradshaw Layfield. His popularity and performance steadily grew, peaking in 2004 when he became WWE champion using a plotline that was anything but fictitious. As JBL, he presented himself as the J.R. Ewing of Wall Street. But Layfield wasn’t all hat and no cattle futures. He’d actually spent those first few years after football learning the finer points of the stock market and even wrote a book about investing that landed him a recurring role as a guest on cable television business shows – all while he continued to wrestle. Later, he transitioned to announcer for the weekly WWE broadcasts. It was around that time that the Layfields made another transition. With neither having a job tethering them to a particular place, he and his wife, Meredith, left New York City for Bermuda, where John founded a program to help kids caught up in gangs escape to a better life through playing rugby. Football player, professional wrestler, investment analyst, TV announcer, youth advocate. He may not be The Most Interesting Man in the World, but Layfield remains a tough guy to pin down. 


SP OR T S DIGE S T Football coaching staff announced New ACU head football coach Adam Dorrel wasted little time in filling out his coaching staff, announcing 10 hirings in late December 2016. Two coaches with ACU ties are now on the staff, including former Wildcat defensive back and NFL standout Danieal Manning (’07), who returns as an undergraduate student assistant working with safeties. Manning is 38 credit hours short of earning his bachelor’s degree, which he will finish while coaching at ACU. Derron Montgomery (’11) – who coached at the University of Miami and University of Michigan before serving as the offensive coordinator at New Mexico Highlands University


Winter-Spring 2017


in 2016 – joins the ACU staff as the fullbacks / tight ends coach. Montgomery is the son of ACU’s all-time leading rusher Wilbert Montgomery (’77), who had a standout NFL career as a player and coach. Former Northwest Missouri State University quarterback Josh Lamberson – who played for and later coached for Dorrel at NW Missouri State – is the new offensive coordinator, while former University of Sioux Falls defensive coordinator Tremaine Jackson was hired to the same position at ACU. Lamberson most recently spent two seasons as head coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and will be Dorrel’s assistant head coach.

Former NW Missouri State assistant coach Ryan Gent is wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, while another former Bearcat assistant, Blake Andersen, will be defensive line coach. Former Colgate University assistant coach Jordan Brown is the new linebackers coach, while former University of New Mexico all-conference defensive lineman Jacori Greer will help coach the defensive line. Former Oklahoma State University quarterback J.W. Walsh – who was a graduate assistant coach at TCU last fall – is now the Wildcats’ running backs coach. The only coach retained from the previous ACU staff is defensive backs coach Ray Brown.


Seven inducted to Sports Hall of Fame ACU added seven more outstanding former student-athletes to its Sports Hall of Fame during Oct. 21, 2016, induction ceremonies at Homecoming. The seven inductees were Peter Kiganya (’03), a Kenyan who starred in men’s basketball; Ryan Boozer (’02), a linebacker who remains ACU’s all-time leading tackler; Amanda (Slate ’07) Farrell, Kiganya the most-decorated PAUL WHITE volleyball player in ACU history; Carol Tabor (’89), former Wildcat women’s tennis and basketball player, and its first head softball coach; Brad Massey (’03), Farrell record-setting baseball hitter and pitcher; and Shelly Owen (’98), softball pitcher and ACU’s first standout in the sport. This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award was Ron Willingham (’54). Also recognized at the ceremony was former baseball standout Joel Wells, M.D. (’06), winner of this year’s Jim Womack Award. Presented in honor of former ACU basketball standout Dr. James Womack (’64), it recognizes former student-athletes who excelled on the field or court of play and in the classroom. Womack is the W.P. Luse Endowed and Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences.

Men’s Cross Country • The Wildcats placed ninth at the 2016 Southland Conference championship meet for the third consecutive year but recorded their best point total. Sophomore Travis Nichols led ACU with a 36th place 8K time of 25:36.3, topping his freshman teammate Drew Cummings at the finish line by 0.7 seconds. This marked the first time the Wildcats had two top-40 finishers at the same conference meet.

Women’s Cross Country • With only five women competing at the Southland Conference championships, the Wildcats tallied 259 points led by junior Gabby Thompson’s 26th-place 6K time of 23:02.4. This was her fastest conference time by 35 seconds, and throughout the past three seasons she’s moved up from 61st to 43rd to 26th. • This fall the Wildcats redshirted their four leading scorers from the 2015 conference title season – Carnley Graham, Diana Garcia Munoz, and twins Alexandria and Michaela Hackett – to have them all eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I regional and national championships in 2017.

Soccer • The Wildcats finished third in the Southland Conference for the second consecutive year, recording their first winning season since 2013 after defeating University of the Incarnate Word, 2-1, on Oct. 28. ACU went 9-8-2 overall and 8-2-1 in its fourth season since returning to the Southland. • Senior Kelsie Roberts, who has maintained a 4.0 GPA through six semesters as a biochemistry major, was selected first team CoSIDA Academic All-America. She also was named CoSIDA Academic All-District VII for the third consecutive year, and Southland Student-Athlete of the Year and Defender of the Year for women’s soccer. • Joining Roberts as all-Southland were Chloe Fifer (second team), Sydney Newton (honorable mention)

Kelsie Roberts TIM NELSON

Facility improvements coming to Teague Center, ACU tennis ACU recently secured funds to construct a $1.6 million tennis facility and begin a $1.25 million renovation to the Teague Special Events Center. Both projects will be complete by Fall 2017. The new two-story tennis facility will be named for head coach Hutton Jones’ father, former Wildcat letterman John T.L. Jones Jr. (’57), and be built between the four main courts and ACU Drive. The first floor of the building will consist of public restrooms, a small gameday training

room, locker rooms for each team and offices for assistant coaches. The second floor will house a team room, player’s lounge and head coach’s office, as well as a covered balcony on the west and south sides of the building where coaches and staff can watch matches on each of the 10 courts.

The Teague Special Events Center has been the administrative home of ACU Athletics since 1997. To better serve the staff, coaches, student-athletes and visitors, the exterior and parts of the interior (see inset image) will be renovated to make it more closely resemble the exterior of the new Wildcat Stadium. A new and larger lobby area inside a new front entrance will celebrate the history of ACU programs and the legacy they have created at the university.


Winter-Spring 2017


For the latest visit

and Natalie Throneberry (honorable mention). Midfielder Shay Johnson was named the league’s Freshman of the Year.

• ACU competed at four tournaments during its fall season, traveling to Colorado; Louisiana; Pearland, Texas; and South Carolina between mid-September and late October. Junior transfer G.K. Morrison was the Wildcats’ top finisher at the first three events, while senior Ryan Beatty was ACU’s clubhouse leader at the East Bay Classic hosted by the Turtle Point Golf Course on Kiawah Island, S.C.

Sam Denmark



Football • The Wildcats finished 2-9 with both victories coming at home vs. Southland Conference opposition from University of the Incarnate Word (52-27) on Homecoming and Northwestern State University (25-22). ACU’s win over the Demons marked the Wildcats’ final appearance at Shotwell Stadium (see page 61). • First team all-conference accolades went to junior linebacker Sam Denmark and junior placekicker Nik Grau. Honorable mention selections were sophomore offensive linemen Riley Mayfield and Dakota Laws, and junior linebacker Bryson Gates. • Sophomore quarterback Dallas Sealey earned conference Offensive Player of the Week awards on Sept. 12 and Oct. 24, while special teams honors went to senior punter Austin Kilcullen (Sept. 5) and Grau (Nov. 7).

Sydney Newton


Jacey Smith


Women’s Basketball

Volleyball • The Wildcats finished their year on a four-match winning streak to place third in the Southland Conference at 11-5. ACU went 12-19 overall in its fourth year as a Division I program and was undefeated at home at 9-0. • Southland coaches recognized sophomore Jacey Smith and senior Lexi Mercier with all-conference honors. An outside hitter, Smith received her first career postseason plaudit in being voted second team, while Mercier – a middle blocker – made honorable mention for the second time in her career. • Mercier appeared in all 31 matches and ranked sixth in the Southland with 1.09 blocks per set. She also established a new career season high with 203 kills, and her career block total of 469 ranks fifth in ACU history. Smith ranked seventh in the Southland with 2.89 kills per set. She set a career high with 21 kills in a five-set loss to the University of Omaha, and this fall she counted 20 matches with 10 or more kills.

Men’s Basketball • The Wildcats had a 13-14 overall record in late-February, including a 9-4 home-court


Winter-Spring 2017


mark featuring consecutive wins over Southland first-place teams. • The Wildcats are led by sophomore forward Jaren Lewis, redshirt freshman center Jalone Friday and sophomore guard Jaylen Franklin, who rank first, second and third, respectively, on the team in scoring and rebounding. • ACU’s early season 2016-17 action included a pair of big road wins, never trailing in a victory at New Hampshire on Nov. 17 and rallying from a seven-point deficit with 19 seconds to play to beat Charleston Southern in overtime on Dec. 3. The win at New Hampshire was the program’s first true non-conference road victory over an NCAA Division I opponent since beginning the transition to Division I affiliation in 2013-14.

• Head coach Julie Goodenough’s team became the first Wildcat program to finish atop the Southland Conference coaches’ and SID polls, receiving 21 of a possible 26 first-place votes. ACU collected 142 points in the coaches’ poll and 143 in the SID poll with University of Central Arkansas the runner-up in each vote. • The Wildcats had all four of their returning senior starters named to either the first or second team, led by the league’s returning Player of the Year in Alexis Mason and three-time All-Defensive Team honoree Suzzy Dimba. Forward Sydney Shelstead was one of two forwards on the second team along with Lizzy Dimba, who made the list despite missing the final seven games of the 2015-16 season. • ACU began the 2016-17 season receiving votes in the Mid Major Top 25 Poll. The Wildcats collected 68 points from a voting panel composed of 31 head coaches from 22 conferences and independent schools. ACU first cracked this poll in January 2016 during its 14-game winning streak and remained ranked for 10 consecutive weeks to end the season, finishing 18th with an overall record of 26-4. • The Wildcats opened 2016-17 play Nov. 11 with a first-round Preseason WNIT game at No. 24-ranked University of Missouri. ACU lost 52-46 to the Tigers, but won its next two WNIT Consolation games at Moody Coliseum, defeating the University of Nebraska Omaha, 73-66, and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, 70-54. • Mason scored a career-high 32 points and set ACU’s all-time record for 3-pointers made in a career in a 77-59 win Jan. 14 over Lamar University. The Cardinals entered the contest tied for the league lead and with a 10-game winning streak. • The Wildcats had an 20-8 overall record in late-February, including a 14-2 mark in Southland play, where the team was in second place. A Feb. 16 road win over McNeese was Goodenough’s 100th at ACU.



Mariel Ardila The senior theatre major from Round Rock, Texas, receives the L.E. and Adrian Memorial Endowed Scholarship. It was established in 1973 by members of the Adrian family: Era McLeod (’27), Rita Norton (’28) and Lucille Wilks (’31). “ACU has shaped my life in ways I never expected, and I am proud to be a Wildcat. As an artist, I aim to bring beauty and truth to stories, and your support has helped me develop as a Christian artist. Thank you for investing in me.”

cholarships change lives. You’ve probably heard that sentiment Ojima Edeh before, and hopefully you took it to The junior nursing major from Boerne, Texas, receives the George and Martha heart. The gift of an education is powerful, Abbott Endowed Scholarship. It was established via a testamentary gift in 2010. and we aren’t the only ones grateful to the “Because of your support, I am able to come to ACU to study nursing. My dream is to return to my home country and use my nursing degree to help meet the needs of the donors who give to ACU students. people in Nigeria. Thank you for being part of making my dream become a reality.” This space is typically reserved for Daniel Vargas a more by-the-numbers approach to The senior accounting major from Carrolton, Texas, receives the Virginia F. Heacock philanthropy, a practical look at how your Charitable Foundation Scholarship Endowment. It was established in 2011 to fulfill the dollars add up to make a big difference in late Virginia Heacock’s dream of enabling generations of students to earn an exceptional the ACU community and across the world. Christian education in the ACU College of Business Administration. Heacock didn’t attend ACU but her dear friend, Robert R. Onstead, a fellow church member and an This issue, we’re focusing on the people ACU trustee, encouraged her to invest in the university. Vargas is one of 62 students behind those numbers – the dedicated who receive aid from the endowment this academic year. donors and a few of the students who “My dreams and aspirations are possible because of your investment in my benefit from their generosity. education. These types of selfless acts give me such joy and motivation to reach my fullest potential. I fully intend on living out the beautiful legacy of Virginia By establishing endowed scholarships, Heacock in my future endeavors. which grow over time Thank you once again for your and pay out annually, continuous generosity and commitment to Christian excellence.” donors bless students for generations. Adam Andrade In November 2016, The junior management and political science major from Fort Worth receives the about 500 ACU students Judge Ted Poe Endowed Scholarship. participated in a new event It was established in 2005 by Poe (’70), called Project Gratitude a former judge and current member of the U.S. House of Representatives, to provide in which they wrote thank financial assistance for students at ACU, you notes to the benefactors especially those preparing for a career in behind the endowed public service. scholarships helping to make “Your support through this endowment has made it possible for me to be Hundreds of students like these benefit from endowed their education possible. able to keep attending ACU. Through scholarships each year. Here are selections from a your generosity, I can remain focused RACHAEL HUBBARD handful of those notes, as on my dream of becoming a public servant so that I can one day help give back to my Hispanic community. God promised to take well as information about the scholarships care of me through any struggle, and God never breaks a promise. Thank you for that change lives year after year. believing in me and helping me accomplish the plans He has for me.”

Recent scholarship endowments created • Joe and Janelle Baisden Endowed Scholarship • Ann and Robert C. Berger Endowed Business Scholarship • Lala Reynolds Bonner Endowed Scholarship • W. Warren and Bernice L. Clendenen Endowed Scholarship • C.E. “Doc” and Linda Cornutt Endowed Business Scholarship • Carol Lewis Freidank Endowed Scholarship • G. Harvey Endowed Scholarship • Henley Family Endowed Scholarship • Jackson Family Endowed Scholarship • Steve and Gari Lugar Endowed Business Scholarship • Marquez and Rios Family Endowed Nursing Scholarship • Moran Church of Christ Endowed Scholarship • Suzanne Catchings Motes Endowed Education Scholarship • Willard Paine Endowed Agriculture Scholarship • Plake Family Endowed Scholarship • Smith Family Endowed Scholarship To create your own endowed scholarship or contribute to an existing one, see or call 800-588-1514.

Diego Zometa Paniagua The sophomore chemistry major from Santa Tecla, El Salvador, receives the International Student Endowed Scholarship. It was established by Dr. Ted (’68) and Ellen (Herrmann ’68) Presley in 1997 to provide encouragement and financial support for international students. “Without your help, I never could have attended ACU. My experience here has been awesome! I have had the chance to meet new friends, incredible professors and be closer to God! Also, thanks to your help, I was able to participate in research and discover three new molecules! Thank you for helping me build my future. God bless you eternally.”

Alli Collins The senior family studies major from Vista, Calif., receives the Gail Strickland Noll Endowed Memorial Scholarship. It was established in 1997 by Russell Noll (’79) in loving memory of his wife, Gail (Strickland ’77) Noll. “Mr. Russell Noll, What an incredible man you must be to have been married to a woman like Gail. By just knowing a small bit about her, I feel so encouraged to be living in her honor and feeling the generosity of her prayers. Through this scholarship, I have been able to follow in her footsteps with the hope of somehow impacting the institution of marriage and family by pursuing my graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. I hope to honor her with the same dedication of love and the Good News to my own family and also those families I interact with in my career. Again, thank you for making this possible.” 


Winter-Spring 2017


EXPERIENCES Submit your news online at or use the EXperiences card in each issue of the magazine. Deadlines: ACU Today is published two times a year. Because of printing deadlines, your news could be delayed by one issue. In Memoriam: It’s best for a member of the deceased’s immediate family to submit notification, preferably with a copy of the official published obituary. Contact information: To help ensure the privacy of our alumni, ACU Today no longer shares email and postal addresses of those whose self-reported news appears in EXperiences. If you would like contact information for someone listed here, call 800-373-4220 or email for assistance.


Margie (Newhouse) Anderson had a story published in Reader’s Digest in September 2016. She and her husband, Charles Anderson Sr. (’57), live in Abilene.


Paul and Rozilla (McKnight ’58) Harland celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary June 22, 2016. They were married at University Church of Christ in Abilene by the late F.M. “Doc” Churchill. They live in Edmond, Okla.


Catherine (Mark) Pate celebrated her 80th birthday Sept. 17, 2016. She lives in Houston, Texas.


Terry and Jan (Winters ’68) Sheldon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Aug. 26, 2016. They have three children: Jeff Sheldon (’92), Tiffini (Sheldon ’97) Morris and Melissa (Sheldon ’00) Ristau, and eight grandchildren. Terry is a retired attorney and businessman and Jan is a retired teacher. They live in Dallas, Texas. Patrick and Exa Lynn (Roth) Porter celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Aug. 27, 2016. They live in Humble, Texas.


David Gibson’s second book, Rightside-Up: Living in an Upside-Down World, was recently published by 21st Century Christian. He was minister of the Commerce Church of Christ for 30 years before retiring in 2010. He and his wife, Sara (Keesee), have four children and eight grandchildren.


Michael and Crystal (Crow) Steele have both recently retired. Crystal was a school nutrition program consultant for the state of Winter-Spring 2017


Cara (Gilbert) Speer is an assistant professor of social work at Texas Tech University. She and her husband, Charles Speer, live in Lubbock, Texas. Jim Rutland’s family business, Rutland’s Fashion & Western Wear, recently celebrated 50 years of continuous operation in downtown Lampasas, Texas.



Tennessee and Michael was founder of Steele Martin Jones & Company, an accounting firm. They live in Three Way, Tenn. Vickie (King) Pavelka Cothran has retired from teaching in the Keller ISD and moved to Granbury, Texas.


Carol (Oden) Riordan published her first book, The Unseen, a supernatural novel set in Abilene. She and her husband, Timothy, live in Oceanside, N.Y.


fine arts, humanities, social sciences, media and communication at Arkansas State University. He previously was dean of the College of Arts at Valdosta (Ga.) State University. He and his wife, Kristy (Pendergrass ’85) Cates, live in Jonesboro, Ark.


Dr. Forrest Smith is chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Harding University College of Pharmacy. His wife, Patricia (Witt), received her Ph.D. in nursing science from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in May 2016. They live in Searcy, Ark. William Delaney joined NOW Specialties in 2014. He and his wife, Teresa, live in Rowlett, Texas.



Paige Huckabee and Timothy Bratton, Feb. 13, 2016. They live in McKinney, Texas. Jim Foster has a new grandchild, a boy, Jordan Everett, born May 9, 2016. He lives in Dallas, Texas.


Wayne and Wendy (Miller) Grizzell celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary Nov. 29, 2016. Their children, Lauren and Luke, are both attending pharmacy school at the University of Colorado-Denver Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Carol (McCarley) Snuffer is an integrated marketing specialist at KBSI FOX 23 / WDKA MY 49. Her son, Austin, is serving in the Illinois Army National Guard. Carol and her husband, Michael, live in Herrin, Ill.




David Campbell is a director at Underwood Perkins, PC, a law firm in Dallas. He and his wife, Sandi (Stanley ’80) Campbell, live in Sunnyvale, Texas.

David and Sherry (Rohre) Watlington have two new grandchildren: a girl, Sloane James, born Oct. 28, 2015, to Trae (’07) and Chelsea Watlington, and a boy, Jack Douglass, born May 17, 2016, to Todd (’04) and Malia Watlington.


Rand and Maggie (Nelson ’81) Morgan have moved to Greeley, Colo., where Rand is president and CEO of the Community Foundation Serving Greeley and Weld County. Dr. Carl Cates is dean of a new college encompassing academic departments from the

Audra (Ballou) Ude has moved and is teaching in the Fort Bend ISD. She lives in Pearland, Texas. Laura Dillman is a tenured assistant professor at Kauai Community College in the University of Hawaii system. She lives in Lihue, Hawaii. Col. Lewis Knapp is an Army congressional liaison. His wife, Shelly, is a civilian budget analyst for the Department of the Army. They live in Mountain View, Calif.

1994 BORN

To Phillip and Kara Cochran, a girl, Ella Rose, April 21, 2016. They have four other children and live in Midland, Texas.


BORN To Andy and Glenda Rutledge-May,

a boy, Connor Andrew, Dec. 6, 2015. Glenda is executive director of the Arkansas Center for Independence. The family lives in Newport, Ark.


James and Kathy (Clayton) Keene Jr. welcomed their first grandson, Brantley Timothy Keene, born July 31, 2016. Brantley’s parents live in Norfolk, Va., while James and Kathy live in Richmond, Texas. Geoffrey and Michelle (Vinson) McGuire have moved to Flower Mound, Texas. BORN

To Aaron and Carrie (Kerr ’99) Starck, a girl, Livia Louisa, Jan. 10, 2016. They live in Wauconda, Ill.


Jana Varley Green has moved to Abilene.


To Cody and Chesley (Smith ’00) Walton, a girl, Ryland Shaye, Sept. 14, 2015. They have four other children and live in Keller, Texas.

2000 BORN

To Jeremy and Amy (Moore) Porter, twins: a girl, Camille Aubrey, and a boy, Jack Edgar, May 20, 2015. The family lives in Richardson, Texas.


Sarah (Snyder) Huffman is director of exceptional student education for Germantown (Tenn.) Municipal Schools. Her husband, James, is a supervisor for UPS. The couple and two children live in Collierville, Tenn. Justin and Sarah (Ball) Wallace have moved to Guatemala with their children to serve as missionaries. BORN

To Adam and Jessica (Richard) Bright, a boy, Preston Michael, April 29, 2016. They live in Bayfield, Colo. To Kyle and Melissa (Rickard) Mullins, a boy, Cash Marrick, July 26, 2016. They live in Castle Rock, Colo.

2002 BORN

To Chad and Deborah (Carpenter) Nelson, a girl, Adalyn Jan, May 25, 2015. The couple were married Nov. 20, 2010. They live in Wichita Falls, Texas. To Mike (’01) and Brittany (Markham) Skloss, a girl, Jenna Kate, May 27, 2016. They live in Lake Dallas, Texas.

2003 BORN

To Stephen and Nicola (Thompson) Wiener, a boy, Joshua Alec, July 18, 2016. They live in Willow Grove, Penn. To Logan and Michelle (Larrabee) Bunnis, a boy, Micah, March 30, 2016. The family has moved to Mountain Home, Idaho.

To Michael and Jacqueline (Holton) Morrison, a girl, Matilda Catherine, June 21, 2014. They live in Oxford, England. To James and Cherese (Archie) Prince, a girl, Shayla, Sept. 1, 2011. They live in Wichita Falls, Texas. To Matthew and Kelly (Flynn) Finklea, a girl, Lily Elaine, Nov. 23, 2015. They live in Plano, Texas. To Jason and Shannon (Miller) Turner, twin boys, Caleb and Bryce, Aug. 29, 2015. They live in Coppell, Texas.

2004 BORN

To Joshua and Whitney (Mills) Kasinger, a girl, Emmy, April 13, 2014. They live in Spring, Texas. To Michael and Melody (Forest) McKee, a girl, Sutton Paige, Feb. 16, 2015. They live in La Grange, Texas.


Dr. Janice L. Six earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Theological Seminary in May 2016. She has a Master of Divinity degree from ACU, and is associate pastor of First Central Presbyterian Church in Abilene and a member of the Palo Duro Presbytery. She and her husband, Gene, live in Abilene. BORN

To Mark and Cassey (O’Connor) Gibson, a girl, Norah Reagan, Feb. 14, 2016. The couple also has a son, Andrew, and lives in Reston, Va. To Wade and Leah (Ward) Schumpert, a girl, Lainey Joy, April 11, 2014, and a girl, Emily Grace, Nov. 11, 2015. The family lives in Lubbock, Texas. To Trey and Melissa (Dean) Tinsley, a boy, Brooks Dean, Aug. 8, 2016. They live in Fate, Texas. To Lee and Catherine (Deming) Rosenbaum, a boy, Everett Joel, July 26, 2016. They live in Abilene.


Katie (Noah) Gibson is the communications officer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her husband, Jeremiah, is a staff therapist with South Shore Family Health Collaborative. They live in Quincy, Mass. BORN

To Tim and Amber (Witcher) Gaudette, a girl, Sloan Meredith, Sept. 29, 2015. They live in Fort Worth, Texas. To Matt and Rachel (Williamson) Rowntree, twin girls, Maylee and Violet, Oct. 8, 2015. They live in Grapevine, Texas. To Ben and Courtney (Varner) Hernandez, a girl, Isla Jude, July 15, 2016. They live in Dallas, Texas. To TJ and Myranda (Fontenot) Cannon, a girl, Eleanor Elizabeth, Jan. 28, 2016. They live in Athens, Texas. To Shane and Carrie (Jolly) Nimz, a girl, Lola, March 21, 2012. The family lives in Red Oak, Texas. To Christopher and Kaci (Mahler) Moore, a boy, Henry Edward, June 21, 2016. They live in Austin, Texas.



omecoming weekend can be unpredictable. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, and it’s a miracle if our staff makes it through without at least one of us getting sick. The tradition always comes together, however, with 2016 being one of the best I can remember. What a blessing it was to watch! Blue skies and crisp fall air greeted alumni Fisher and friends as they came home in October to celebrate their ACU stories. Eyes lit up seeing familiar faces and places, and especially some of our new facilities. ACU continues to change, but what we stand for as a community remains constant. We gathered to worship during Chapel and to fellowship at the carnival, football game and class reunions. Old friends reunited and introduced children and grandchildren, while former students visited with professors who helped influence their life journey. Perhaps my favorite memory of this Homecoming came Friday night, when we gathered for a Candlelight Devotional similar to the one during Wildcat Week each fall. Faces illuminated, we sang together in harmony as we praised our Lord. I don’t imagine that happens at many university homecomings across the country. But as you know, Abilene Christian is no ordinary university. We are a community dedicated to the mission of educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. When those students, current and former, return home to celebrate the difference they are making in their homes, businesses, churches and communities, it is truly a special sight. Thanks to all of you who were a part of such a wonderful weekend. And to those who didn’t make it, don’t worry: You’re always welcome at home.  – CRAIG FISHER (’92)

Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Projects Director of University Relations ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017


Koen Michael Schoen, son of Rachael Schoen (’06) of Alvin, Texas.

BORN TO BE A WILDCAT 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 Call 800-373-4220 for more information.

Fletcher James Williams, son of Jordan (’08) and Mallory (Knight ’09) Williams of Garland, Texas.

Marion Grey Harris, son of Marion (’06) and Fabiola (Leon ’08) Harris of Kansas City, Mo.

Afton Shaley Hutchinson, daughter of Houston (’12) and Kara (Baccus ’10) Hutchinson of Leander, Texas.


Caleb Kevin Kelly, son of Bryan (’09) and Sarah (Holway ’09) Kelly of Fort Worth, Texas.

Emily Braxton Gibson, daughter of Paul (’04) and Sarah (Reid ’05) Gibson of Nashville, Tenn.

Christopher Liam Pennington, son of Chase (’09) and Andra (Anglin ’12) Pennington of Willow Park, Texas.

Joshua Ryan McCook, son of Colt (’03) and Kristen (MacKenzie ’03) McCook of Winters, Texas.

Davis Bradley Dries, son of Dan and Sara Dawn (Bills ’01) Dries of San Jose, Calif.

Maisie Briggs, daughter of Matt and Misty (Mahaffey ’05) Briggs of Abilene.

Annabelle Rose Bunch, daughter of Jordan (’09) and Sara (Beckett ’11) Bunch of Pflugerville, Texas.

Maxwell Thomas Smith, son of Cameron (’12) and Erika Smith of Dallas, Texas.

Winter-Spring 2017


Claire Elizabeth Wallace, daughter of Joseph (’08) and Kristin (Gillis ’08) Wallace of Orrington, Maine.

Tanner Gholson, son of Heath and Rachel (Dorazio ’08) Gholson of Wichita Falls, Texas.

Nolan and Aislynn Witte, twin son and daughter of Cameron (’04) and Heidi (Kopf ’07) Witte of Ogden, Kan.

Slade Ryan Shaw, son of Brandon (’03) and Ashley (Winn ’03) Shaw of Bedford, Texas, and Brave Kennamer Epps, son of Jeremy (’05) and Jessica (Barton ’03) Epps of Buford, Ga.

Bennett Thomas Rampy, son of Preston (’07) and Shelbi (Watten ’07) Rampy of Frisco, Texas.

Ethan and Audrina Missildine, twin son and daughter of Ted (’03) and Alexandra Missildine of The Colony, Texas.

Evelyn Marian Tittsworth, daughter of of John Mark and Laura (Sadler ’01) Tittsworth of Burleson, Texas.

Luke and Eli Huddleston, sons of Chad (’04) and Laura (Zengerle ’03) Huddleston of Sachse, Texas.

Caleb Shane Gower, son of Alan (’08) and Tracy (Schiebel ’06) Gower of Leander, Texas.

Emberly Rae Parrish, daughter of Lance (’06) and Taylor (Tuerck ’06) Parrish of Kennedale, Texas.

Elise Austin Butera, daughter of Joe and Lauren (Mathews ’03) Butera of Kyle, Texas.

Levi Burke, son of Glen and Kristi (Lippert ’06) Burke of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Holden John Mandel, son of Lane and Katie (Eichelberger ’08) Mandel of Lewisville, Texas.

Presley Dowell, daughter of Chris (’05) and Stephanie (Dickson ’06) Dowell of Kemp, Texas.

Molly Kate Orr, daughter of Mason (’08) and Casey (Lewis ’08) Orr of North Richland Hills, Texas.


Winter-Spring 2017




Facing Darkness, a new feature-length documentary from Samaritan’s Purse, will bring to life the experiences of two American aid workers who were stricken with the Ebola virus in 2014: Kent Brantly, M.D. (’03) and Nancy Writebol. The story behind their evacuation, treatment and eventual cure is retold in a film that will debut in March 2017 at the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Ind., Brantly’s hometown. David A. Skelton (’11 M.A., M.Div.) has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and several academic scholarships from Florida State University to complete his Ph.D. dissertation at Germany’s University of Gottingen.

David Leeson (with microphone) speaks about his experiences covering war during a panel discussion in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. Other panelists include (from left) moderator Karen Blessen, Nick Ut, Carol Guzy, Bob Jackson, Heidi Levine and David Hume Kennerly.


Deena (Funk ’85) Seifert is a speech-language pathologist and COO for Communication APPtitude, a company in Baltimore, Md., named one of the The Daily Record’s Innovator of the Year awardees for 2016. Her company – which develops tools for bright students who have languageprocessing disorders such as dyslexia – won the 2016 Seifert Towson University Business Plan Competition and the ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education Prize in the Milken-Penn Business Plan Competition at the University of Pennsylvania.

David Leeson (’78) was one of six former Pulitzer Prize winners to speak Sept. 21, 2016, at “Illusion & Disillusion: A Conversation with Pulitzer Winning Photographers” at the Texas Theater in Dallas. Presented by The Sixth Floor Museum and 29 Pieces, it included a panel discussion, readings and performances from Pulitzer Prize-winning books and theatrical productions by Dallas artists. The program commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. Leeson was an embedded photojournalist for The Dallas Morning News during the 2003 war in Iraq and won the 2004 Pulitzer for breaking news coverage.

Jared Mosley (’00) was named associate vice president and chief operating officer for athletics at the University of North Texas. Mosley had been CEO and president of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame after 10 years as ACU director of athletics. Two alumni were elected to the Texas House of Representatives in November 2016. Travis Clardy (’84) of Nacogdoches was re-elected to a third term in the Texas House for District II and Stan Lambert (’74) won the District 71 seat. Both were student-athletes at ACU: Clardy (left) in basketball and Lambert (right) in baseball. Lambert also is a former director of athletics for the Wildcats. Previous state representatives serving District 71 include Drs. Bob Hunter (’52) and Gary Thompson (’60).


Winter-Spring 2017


Dr. Don Finto (’50) was one of three people – along with Grammy Award-winning recording artist Amy Grant – recognized Oct. 17 in the 2016 Joe and Honey Rodgers Christian Service Awards honoring top civic leaders in Nashville, Tenn. Finto is former senior pastor of the Belmont Church in Nashville, Tenn., and founder and director emeritus of The Caleb Company. Joe M. Rodgers is a former U.S. ambassador to France. Elise (Smith ’83) Mitchell received the Woman Business Leader of the Year award Sept. 23, 2016, from the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. She is CEO of Mitchell and of Dentsu Aegis Public Relations Network. In 2013, she was named PR Professional




Brenna Jefferies (’14), PR/social media coordinator at Pavlov Agency, was named a “Rising Star” by the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

of the Year by PRWeek, and she was ACU’s 2015 Outstanding Alumna of the Year. Aaron Watson (’00) was named 2016 Male Vocalist of the Year in the Texas Regional Radio and Music Mitchell Awards, his second straight year to be honored. Zane Williams (’99) won TRRMA’s Album, Song, Music Video, Single and Entertainer of the Year awards in 2015. On Feb. 10, 2017, Watson made his second appearance in less than two years as a headliner at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn. Karli (Southward ’14) Smith and Lauren (Land ’14) Anderson were invited to present research during panel discussions in summer 2016 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., where Communities in Schools hosted

A football helmet design by Josh Fralick (’15) flew to the top of many college football fans’ favorite alternate uniforms in 2016. In fact, named the Air Force Academy’s “Airpower Legacy Series” uniforms the best in the land. The design commemorated the World War II Flying Tigers’ fighter planes and a similar design featured on today’s A-10 Thunderbolt II “Warthog” aircraft. The Falcons first wore the special gear in their Sept. 10 game with Georgia Southern University. Fralick works for the academy’s nationally ranked football program. JOSH FRALICK

The South Neurology Suite at Duke University’s School of Medicine is now a conference room named after E. Wayne Massey, M.D. (’66) and his wife, Janice (Munn ’68) Massey, M.D. Both are on faculty at Duke; Wayne (left) also is an ACU trustee and Janice (right) was a trustee from 1990-2011. Presenting the room plaque is Richard J. O’Brien, M.D., Duke’s chair of neurology.



Former ACU trustee Dale Brown and his son, current trustee Tod (’81), were involved in acclaimed director Martin Scorsese’s new feature-length film, Silence, starring Liam Neeson, Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield that opened in U.S. theatres in January 2017. Dale served as one of the project’s executive producers. Silence is based on Shusaku Endo’s 1960 novel of the same name set in 17th-century Japan. Neeson plays the mentor of two Jesuit missionaries (Driver and Garfield) who volunteer to rescue him from imprisonment during a time of great Neeson persecution. The film is distributed by


Congressman Ted Poe (’70) returned to work Sept. 9, 2016, in Washington, D.C., and is now in remission following a diagnosis in July of leukemia. Poe was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005 after 22 years as a criminal court judge in Houston.

Paramount Pictures and was shown to a private audience including Pope Francis and more than 400 priests at the Vatican in Rome in late November. It won Movie of the Year honors from the American Film Institute and has been nominated for an Academy Award in Best Achievement in Cinematography. SCHREINER UNIVERSITY

Legendary Texas high school coach Sam Harrell (’79) overcame multiple sclerosis and has returned to coaching football as offensive coordinator at Fort Worth Christian School. Harrell Harrell underwent experimental stem cell treatments that allowed him to recover much of the strength he lost to M.S. when first diagnosed in 2005. He helped FWCS win the TAPPS Division II 4A state championship in 2015. Harrell received the 2015 Power of Influence Award from the American Football Coaches Association. His Ennis High School teams won Texas 4A state titles in 2000, 2001 and 2014.


its Student Supports Virtual Summit. Smith was selected for a mentoring program she developed for at-risk high school girls, and Anderson was recognized for an intervention program, Circles of Support. Both earned master’s degrees in social work from ACU in 2015.

Two former English majors at Abilene Christian passed an administrative baton in January 2017 at one of the nation’s most respected liberal arts institutions when Dr. Charles McCormick (’91) succeeded Dr. Tim Summerlin (’68) as president of Schreiner University. Both have been provost of the 93-year-old institution in Kerrville, Texas. Summerlin (right) is wrapping up his 15th year as Schreiner’s president, having led the university to record growth. McCormick (left) has a master’s degree in anthropology from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in folklore and folk life from the University of Pennsylvania. Summerlin has a Ph.D. in English from Yale.


Winter-Spring 2017


SERVING YOU ADVANCING ACU Do you want to recommend a future 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, schools, alumni and other friends; an admissions counselor (AC) reaches out to future students and their parents; and an advancement officer (AO) assists prospective donors seeking an opportunity to 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. ABILENE AND THE BIG COUNTRY Greg Oglesby • AC • 325-674-2899, Don Garrett • AO • 325-674-2213,

WEST TEXAS AREA Darci Halstead • AC (Amarillo, Midland, Odessa) 325-674-2970, Kody Goode • AO • 325-674-4949,

AUSTIN AREA Tunisia Singleton • URM (Austin / Central Texas) 512-450-4329 • Charles Gaines • AO • 512-713-0067, Allison Self • AC (Austin / Central Texas) 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228,

FORT WORTH AREA Brent Barrow • URM • 817-946-5917, Jacob Groves • AC (Erath, Hood, Johnson, Somervell, Tarrant counties) 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228, Meredith Morgan • AC (Collin, Denton, Palo Pinto, Parker, Wise) 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228, Lance Rieder • AO • 325-674-6080,

DALLAS AREA Toni Young • URM • 214-402-5183, April Young • AC (Dallas, Rockwall, Ellis, Kaufman) 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228, Meredith Morgan • AC (Collin) • 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228

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

SAN ANTONIO AREA Kerry Stemen • URM • 830-388-0615, John Mark Moudy • AC (San Antonio / South Texas) 325-674-2650 / 800-460-6228, Don Garrett • AO • 325-674-2213,

70 70

W r - Si np tr ei nr g 22001157 F ai nl lt -e W

 


Wildcats Serving projects in Abilene, major Texas cities help alumni, students, parents make a difference – together On a cool spring Saturday in downtown Dallas, two young girls stood with their parents and handed out hot dogs and potato chips to the homeless. Madeline, 11, and Morgan, 8, weren’t phased by the outing in the now-closed Tent City encampment; it was just another day spent serving. That’s just how their parents want it. “I want them to know that’s something we do,” says Greg Pirtle (’98), of Allen. “I want them to be around people who are different than them. I want service to be a part of who they are – it’s just what they do.” He, his wife Alison (Whelan ’99) Pirtle, and their daughters joined hundreds of others across Texas on April 2, 2016, for Wildcats Serving, an annual day of service designed to get ACU alumni and friends involved in their communities. Projects are led in Abilene, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, everything from working at food banks and homeless shelters to participating in neighborhood cleanups. “A lot of people want to serve, they just don’t always know where and how,” Pirtle says. “Being given the opportunity and a place to serve makes a difference, especially if you’re getting alumni together. Wildcats Serving speaks to what the mission of ACU is about.” Wildcats Serving came about thanks to a group of active alumni in the Houston area who started their own service day with the help of Carri (Teague ’88) Hill, university relations manager for the area. She and Craig Fisher (’92), director of alumni relations and university relations, saw potential for the service day to spread statewide, and once it did in 2015, many alumni jumped at the opportunity to participate. “We have found many new alumni coming to this opportunity instead of other events because it’s something that really connects with them,” Fisher says. “We have such selfless people in the ACU community. I love it that they’re coming together to serve with their Wildcat family all over the state. That’s really special.” Holly (Carter ’98) McVey served at the Houston Food Bank event in April with members of her church, the Cinco Ranch Church of Christ. She and her children helped pack boxes of food to be distributed to the community; in fiscal year 2015-16, the Houston Food Bank distributed 79 million nutritious meals to the Houston area. “We were able to tour the food bank and hear about the people and ways it helps our community,” she says. “It was

(From left) Robert Fuller, Amari Fuller and Rella Fuller joined the Houston group for Wildcats Serving in April. Rella Fuller’s oldest daughter, Aurelya Clemons, is a sophomore at ACU.


a great teaching opportunity for my children.” As the family minister at Greenville Oaks Church of Christ in Allen, Pirtle isn’t new to working with the homeless. But he was struck by the attitude of those being served in Dallas’ Tent City. “A lot of people who came through the line were also serving other people,” he says. “ ‘Hey, I’ve got a friend back over here, can I take food to them?’ ‘Can I take food to my mother?’ They wanted to help other people as well. That was really good to see – they were really gracious and generous.” This year, ACU students also became involved, participating in various projects around Abilene.

“When you’re asking current ACU students to serve knowing alumni also are doing the same in different cities and locations, it ties you to a bigger community than just your neighborhood and area,” Pirtle says. “It reminds us the ACU community is a large one that extends to a lot of different places.” Hill says that’s the beauty of Wildcats Serving, which will return Saturday, April 1. “It’s really valuable for us to not only look at ourselves but to turn our focus on how we can impact our communities,” she says. “And if we can do it with fellow alumni, that’s even better.” 


Anna (Peters ’09) Henix (third from left) packs boxes at the Houston Food Bank with friends Sudane Lewis (left) and Khaleela Brister.

From left, Holly (Carter ‘98) McVey, Joni (Johnson ‘96) Boucher and Julie (Turner ‘98) Nunn participated in Wildcats Serving on April 2 in Houston at the Houston Food Bank. ERIC FRIDGE



Winter-Spring 2017


Former Wildcat standouts Aston Whiteside (’12) and Mitchell Gale (’12) met up after their respective teams played a Canadian Football League game July 22, 2016. Whiteside (left) is a defensive end for the Ottawa Redblacks, who won the 104th annual Grey Cup league championship Nov. 27 after finishing runner-up last season. Gale (right) is a quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

PURPLE PEOPLE Whether flashing the W-C, handing out hugs or simply enjoying time together, Wildcats gather on campus and around the world to share their stories and celebrate their common love for each other and for ACU. Here are just a few images we’ve saved since our last issue. Share others with us at


1) Homer Hillis (’86) and patriot-at-heart Dr. Mel Hailey (’70) met up at the Lytle Estates’ neighborhood Fourth of July parade in Abilene. Hailey is longtime professor of political science and pre-law advisor at ACU, and Hillis is president of Hillis Investments Inc. 1







Winter-Spring 2017



2) Atlanta Falcons’ wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (’14) and Kansas City Chiefs’ running back Charcandrick West (’14) met up in a Dec. 4, 2016, NFL game in which their respective teams played in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The former Wildcat teammates autographed and exchanged jerseys afterward, a growing custom in the league. 3) Orange-shirted Madison McAdams, a sophomore psychology major from Junction, Texas, poses for photos with (from left) Kendall D’Shea, Carson McCoy and Macy McAdams on Aug. 28, 2016, during Wildcat Week.




4) (From left) Kakuru, Anita and Wyatt Koctar sport ACU gear celebrating their adoption by alumni Dustin (’09) and Courtney (Flow ’09) Koctar of Franklin, Tenn. The 3-year-olds, born one month apart in different cities, lived in orphanages in Uganda. Wyatt became a member of the Koctar family in 2013, and twins Anita and Kakuru joined him in 2016. 5) Vice president emeritus Dr. Robert D. “Bob” Hunter (’52) greets Cecilia Abbott (left), wife of Gov. Greg Abbott, at ACU’s Opening Assembly on Aug. 22 in Moody Coliseum. Texas’ First Lady attended the event with her friend, Debbie (Jackson ’91) Weems (middle).





7) ACU Department of Theatre faculty members Adam (’77) and Donna (Vickers ’88) Hester (right) attended a Nov. 7, 2016, reception in New York City to see former student Ben Jeffrey (’06) receive a 2016 Distinguished Alumni Citation from ACU. Jeffrey has played Pumbaa in The Lion King on Broadway since 2010. He is married to Christina (left).



6) Grammy Award-winning recording artist Amy Grant (right) was honored Oct. 17, 2016, at a fundraising event at which Dallas artist Rolando Diaz (’79) painted. Unity, the Joy of the Lord was auctioned at the Christian Civic Leadership Celebration Dinner at Lipscomb Universtity to benefit The Operation Andrew Group. The eighth annual event honors top civic leaders in Nashville, Tenn.


Winter-Spring 2017



Lauren (Hart) Day is the founder and president of GoodBuzz Solutions, a marketing company. She and her husband, Nathaniel, live in Austin, Texas. MARRIED Jonathan Shrout and Carissa Martus,

June 23, 2016. They live in Newburg, Ore.

BORN To Jason and Hillary (Hoover) Ramey,

a boy, Guy, June 23, 2016. They live in Allen, Texas. To Cameron (’05) and Heidi (Kopf) Witte, twins, a boy, Nolan Patrick, and a girl, Aislynn Olivia, Dec. 10, 2015. To Chris (’05) and Danielle (Chase) Fall, a boy, Liam Chase, in February 2016. Danielle is a book consultant with Usborne and Chris is senior manager of supply chain and logistics at Petco. To Jason and Elizabeth (Newman) Ables, a boy, Jacob William, July 21, 2016. They live in Grapevine, Texas. To Jorge A. Herrera and Wally Eunice Portillo, a girl, Olivia, Jan. 15, 2016. They live in Garner, N.C.


BORN To Seth and Erin (Gray) Starkey, a boy,

Lincoln Hunter, March 1, 2016. The family lives in Wichita Falls, Texas. To Ruben and Ashley (Roberts) Almanza, a girl, Avery Grace, Aug. 10, 2016. They live in Pearland, Texas. To Logan and Benay (Dennis) Sifford, a girl, Selah Nell, May 15, 2016. They live in Rio Vista, Texas. To Ryan and Kristin Rampton, a girl, Lucy Byrd, July 14, 2016. They live in Midland, Texas. To Chris (’05) and Rebecca (Herrington) Faulkner, twin boys, James and Jonah, May 11, 2016. They live in Carrollton, Texas. To Joshua and Rachel (Pruitt) Butterfras, a girl, Evie Faye, Aug. 15, 2016. They live in Abilene. To Chase and Erin (Snowden) Power, a boy, Bruce, in June 2016. They live in Kingwood, Texas.


BORN To Michael and Debby Freeman, a girl,

Evelyn Grace, April 13, 2016. The family lives in Georgetown, Texas.

To Timothy (’06) and Kellie (Ethington) Power, a girl, Elizabeth Lyn, April 7, 2016. They live in Kingwood, Texas. To Blake and Katherine (Gager) Penfield, a girl, Emilia “Emmie” Jane, Feb. 2, 2016. They live in Coppell, Texas. To Jordan (’08) and Mallory (Knight) Williams, a boy, Fletcher, July 2, 2015. They live in Garland, Texas. To Cody and Jenna (Messer) Robinette, a boy, Carter, July 15, 2016. They live in Seymour, Texas. To Juan and Shelby (Shipley ’13) Nunez, a girl, Mia Sloan, Feb. 9, 2016. They live in Abilene.


Chris Softley is the athletics director and head football coach at Lubbock Christian High School. He lives in Lubbock, Texas. Justin Smith is the director of a new Financial Additions office in Austin, Texas. The company was founded by Doug Hall (’90). MARRIED

Caleb Callari and Vanessa Whitt, July 11, 2015. They live in Abilene. BORN To Christopher and Hannah

(Watson ’14) Hall, a boy, Jack Duncan, Oct. 5, 2016. Christopher is sales manager for C&J Energy Services, and Hannah is a nurse for Midland Academy Charter School. The family lives in Midland, Texas. To David and Melanie Lynette (Speck) Runyan, a boy, Cole David, Sept. 28, 2016. The family lives in Haslet, Texas. To Jake (’07) and Lanna (Armstrong) Kreck, a girl, LeeMarie Lila, Jan. 25, 2016. They live in Garland, Texas. To Ben and Caitlan (Roden) Neely, a boy, Conner, Oct. 23, 2015. They live in Austin, Texas. To Brandon and Stacy (Bryan) Brooks, a boy, Harris, Aug. 11, 2015. The couple were married Oct. 4, 2013. They live in Dallas, Texas. To Luke and Haley Cochran, a girl, Claire Harper, Feb. 5, 2016. They live in Round Rock, Texas. To Travis and Kristi (Damon ’12) Moore, a boy, Jack Robert, May 3, 2016. They live in Amarillo, Texas. To Houston (’12) and Kara (Baccus) Hutchinson, a girl, Quinn Campbell, Oct. 9, 2015. They live in Leander, Texas. To Chandler and Janna (Kasinger ’12) Harris, a boy, Henry Chandler, Aug. 24, 2016. They live in Allen, Texas.


MARRIED Kyle Wilson (’09) and Oriana Gonzalez,

in 2014. They live in Leander, Texas. Alexander Monea and Bethany Bradshaw, Aug. 9, 2016. They live in Fairfax, Va.

BORN To Steven and T’auna (Pemberton) Vaughn,

a boy, Zachary Reed, April 27, 2015. They live in Grand Prairie, Texas. To Tony and Meagan (Morrow) Sanders, a girl, Leizel Lee, June 9, 2016. They live in San Antonio, Texas. To Chad and Caitlin (Nabors) Fagundes, a girl, Olivia Hazel, Feb. 24, 2016. Caitlin is administrative assistant to the principal at Hanford West High School in Hanford, Calif.


BORN To Jordan and Selena (French M.M.F.T. ’16)

Ellis, a boy, Rowan, June 15, 2016. They live in Abilene. To Michael and Erin (Hanner) Easley, a boy, Hank Michael, Aug. 10, 2015. They live in Baird, Texas. To Troy Gunter and Kristen Lopez, a boy, Thor, May 21, 2013, and a girl, Rylee, July 1, 2016. Kristen is a speech pathologist in the Spring ISD. The couple were married May 23, 2014, and live in Tomball, Texas. To Justin and Melanie (Shinsky ’11) Flatt, a girl, Rylie Brianne, Aug. 31, 2016. They live in Athens, Texas.


MARRIED Logan Rawls and Shayla Herndon, June 18,

2016. They both teach and coach in the Coleman ISD and live in Coleman, Texas. Ryan Young and Macy Wideman, March 12, 2016. They live in San Antonio, Texas.


born To Krista Darden Conner, twin girls, Lyric

and Loren, April 28, 2016. They live in Abilene.


Rebecca (McQueen) Haught has finished graduate school and is working toward becoming a licensed professional counselor. She and her husband, Hunter, live in Abilene.


Rudy Garza spent the summer interning at Keller Capital, a venture capital firm in Austin, Texas.


Chester “Chet” Vernon Bogle Jr., 92, died Oct. 10, 2016. He was born Aug. 12, 1924, and served 33 years in the U.S. Air Force as an Army Air Corps pilot and pilot instructor in World War II, and a pilot and instructor in the Air Force in Korea and Vietnam. He received numerous military awards and citations, including five


Winter-Spring 2017


Meritorious Service Medals, two Bronze Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Silver Star. Among survivors are his wife, Virginia Anne (McLeod ’47) Bogle; two sons, Dean Bogle (’71) and Kent Bogle (’73); a daughter, Lynn (Bogle ’75) Jones; 10 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Bryan Bogle (’49).


Joann Kathleen (Taylor) Hall died Oct. 9, 2016, in Grapevine, Texas, at age 87. She was born July 14, 1929, in Blackwell, Okla., and graduated from Dalhart High School in 1947. She earned a B.S.Ed. degree from ACU, where she was chosen Freshman Favorite and School Beauty, and was a member of the A Cappella

Chorus and Ko Jo Kai women’s social club. She met Don Hall (’51) when the two were Abilene Christian freshmen, and they married during their senior year in 1951. The Halls lived in Dallas and Indianapolis, Ind., before moving in 1959 to Jasper, Texas, where Don worked for the family business, Visador Company. For the next 25 years Joann stayed busy raising three daughters, and in church and civic work. She was a founding member of the ACU Alumni Chorus, and a board member for years. She was preceded in death by her parents, Opal and J.D. Taylor. Among survivors are Don, her husband of 65 years; daughters Lee Ann (Hall ’77) Douglas, Laurie (Hall ’79) Havard and Lana (Hall ’83) Shelton; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a brother, Buzz Taylor.


Gladys (Shoemaker ’52) Faulkner of Driftwood, Texas, died July 16, 2016, at her ranch home near Austin at age 86. She was born April 28, 1930, in Fort Worth, where she graduated from Paschal High School in 1948. While a student at Abilene Christian, she began dating fellow Paschal graduate Dr. Paul Faulkner (’52) and the two married July 12, 1952, after earning their degrees. For the next 64 years Gladys devoted her energy and creativity to her family as the Faulkners ministered to churches in Kansas, North Carolina and ultimately Abilene, where they lived for 39 years. After Paul completed doctoral studies at Southwestern Theological Seminary and joined the Bible faculty at ACU, Gladys returned to graduate school and earned her master’s degree in education in 1976. She taught in Abilene’s Headstart program for many years. Beginning in 1974, Gladys regularly traveled with Paul around the U.S. and to eight countries, where he and his former ACU roommate, Dr. Carl Brecheen (’52), conducted Marriage Enrichment Seminars. After Paul retired in 1996, the couple moved to Driftwood, where they built the Cypress Springs Ranch on the banks of Onion Creek. There they continued to minister to families and couples in crisis and served together on the Ministers Support Network team. She was preceded in death by her parents, Walton and Vivian Shoemaker. Among survivors are Paul, her husband of 64 years; four children, Debbie (Faulkner ’76) Clinton, Von Faulkner (’78), Brad Faulkner (’83) and Connie (Faulkner ’86) Brown; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Nancy Charlene (Waters) Hansen died Nov. 28, 2016, at age 85. She was born April 9, 1931, in Grant Saline, Texas, and grew up in St. Jo. She married ACU classmate Ray V. Hansen (’53) on Jan. 23, 1954. She was active as a Bible school teacher and volunteer in various congregations through many relocations related to Ray’s work; the Hansens lived in 28 houses during their 62-year marrriage. Among survivors are her husband, Ray; a daughter, Kathy (Hansen ’77) Askins; sons Tim Hansen (’80) and Ted Hansen (’81); five grandchildren; and a brother, Herman Waters (’57).


Dr. William “W.L.” Fletcher III, 80, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, and San Diego, Calif., died July 16, 2014. He was born Aug. 9, 1933, in Hamlin, Texas. He was a U.S. Navy pilot from 1955-59 and served in the Naval Reserves for 20 years before retiring with the rank of captain. He was an insurance agent in California for many years who created Minister’s Fellowship, an organization through which pastors and other Christian professionals could obtain affordable insurance. He was an elder for 40 years for congregations in the San Diego area, and served 30 years as a regent for Pepperdine University. He was founder, president and trustee of the San Diego Christian Foundation / Southwestern Christian School, and a trustee of the Christian Chronicle. A business graduate of ACU, he served on his alma mater’s Board of Development from 1972-94. He received an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma Christian University (2007). He was preceded in death by his parents, William Lumpkin Fletcher Jr. and Maude (Birdwell) Fletcher, and a brother, Dr. Milton Fletcher (’47). Among survivors were Marilyn, his wife of 55 years [Editor’s note: Marilyn died Dec. 22, 2015]; daughters Cynthia (Fletcher ’85) Alston and Julie (Fletcher) Lando; two grandchildren; a sister, Marilyn (Fletcher ’60) Swaim; and a brother, Harold Fletcher (’45).


Dr. Robert E. “Bob” Scott, 86, died June 13, 2016, in Abilene. He was born May 14, 1930, in Konowa, Okla., and graduated from high school in Ada, Okla. He enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard in 1948 and spent two years serving on active duty in the U.S. Army. He received a bachelor’s degree from East Central State University in Oklahoma, and later earned a master’s degree in religious education from ACU. He married Bernice Bourland (’55) on June 24, 1955. Bob served as a minister for churches in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and California, and later worked for Herald of Truth Radio and World Christian Broadcasting Corporation. He served as president of WCBC for 13 years. Later in his career, Bob worked for ExpatRepat Services, providing intercultural services for international companies and their employees. Bob is survived by his wife, Bernice; a son, Jerry Scott (’81); two daughters, Susan Scott (’82) and Lisa (Scott ’86) Johnson; a brother, Jerry Scott; and three grandchildren.


Kenneth E. Shollenbarger, J.D., 77, died Jan. 9, 2016. He was born April 20, 1938, in Tucson, Ariz., and attended school in Tucumcari and Logan, N.M., and Colorado Springs, Colo. He attended college at the University of Colorado-Boulder before transferring to ACU, where he earned a degree in accounting and served as Students’ Association treasurer. He married Marion Joyce Boone on Aug. 22, 1959, in Dallas. He earned his juris doctor degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and qualified as a CPA. He practiced law for 50 years, specializing in taxation, estate planning, wills, trusts and probate. He is survived by his wife, Marion; three daughters,

Helen (Shollenbarger ’82) Eller, Kimberley (Shollenbarger) Barickman and Lora Brown; a son, Todd Shollenbarger (’87); a brother; and six grandchildren.


Linda Gayle (Shaw) Williams, 74, died June 17, 2016, in Houston. She was born March 24, 1942, in McCamey, Texas, and graduated from Snyder High School. She taught elementary school in the Houston area for many years. She is survived by her husband, Bob Williams; a brother, Jim Shaw (’66); a son; a daughter; and six grandchildren.


Dr. William Ray “Billy” Teague, 68, died Feb. 9, 2016, in Judsonia, Ark. He was born April 8, 1947, in Temple, Texas, and married Rebecca Lastovica (’69) on Dec. 19, 1966. After graduating from ACU, he earned a master’s degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Billy worked in water quality support and development and floodplain management in Arkansas, and he taught at the University of Missouri and Kemper Military College. He is survived by his wife, Rebecca; three daughters; his mother, Gloria Teague; and six grandchildren.


Kevin Lee Woodard, 55, of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., died Nov. 5, 2015. He was born Jan. 14, 1960, in Midland, Texas, where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1978. He studied art and Bible at ACU, and also attended Texas Tech University. An entrepreneur, he established businesses in San Antonio, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; and ultimately Miami (Bay Harbor Islands), Fla. He was an avid painter and a charter member of Golf Course Road Church of Christ in Midland, Texas. Woodard was preceded in death by his father, Lee Roy Woodard. Among survivors are his mother, Clara Joyce (Jenkins ’49) Woodard; and two sisters, Jana (Woodard ’76) Sanders and Tammy (Woodard ’78) Carhart.


Casey Ellis, 21, of Bethel, Conn., died Nov. 24, 2016, in Abilene. She graduated in 2013 from Bethel High School, where she was active in symphonic band and Chamber Singers. She was a senior social work major at ACU. She was preceded in death by her father, Daniel Ellis. Among survivors are her parents, Robert and Susan Myers; a brother, Evan; and grandparents Skip and Linda Clapp.


Katherine “Katie” Laura Kirby, 19, of Friendswood, Texas, died Nov. 6, 2016, in Abilene. She was born Feb. 20, 1997, and graduated in 2015 from Clear Brook High School, where she was active in choir, handbells and PALS. An elementary education major at ACU, she was a new member of GATA women’s social club. She was preceded in death by grandparents Ben and Betty Kirby, and Francis Collins. Among survivors are her parents, Dawn and Jerry Kirby, and a grandmother, Jane Collins. ACU TODAY

Winter-Spring 2017


Page was a revered choral music conductor


Winter-Spring 2017



Dr. Robert Page (’48), Grammy Award-winning icon in the world of choral music, died Aug. 7, 2016, at age 89. He was born April 27, 1927, in Abilene and earned a B.A. in vocal music from ACU, a Master of Music degree in music from Indiana University and was the recipient of honorary doctorates from six colleges and universities, including Abilene Christian. He paused his undergraduate studies to serve in the U.S. Navy in World War II, then returned to ACU, where he was editor of The Optimist newspaper and a member of the A Cappella Chorus, Alpha Phi Omega honor society and men’s social club Frater Sodalis. His first job was teaching choir in the Odessa ISD in 1948, followed by music faculty appointments at Eastern New Mexico University (1954-59) and Temple University (1956-75). He began a 37-year career at Carnegie Mellon University in 1975, where he chaired the School of Music and was the Paul Mellon Professor of Music, director of choral studies, and university professor before retiring in 2013. He was director of choruses and assistant conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra (1971-89), directed the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh (1979-2005) and served as director of special projects and choral activities for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1989-2006). He served 20 years on the board for Chorus America, including as its president (1990-93), and was named Pennsylvania’s Artist of the Year in 1998. He founded the Robert Page Singers in 1982. Considered widely as the dean of American choral directors, he was called “a national treasure” by American Record Review for his work as conductor of many of the nation’s major orchestras, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Virginia and San Antonio, and the opera companies of Cleveland, Kansas City and Toledo. Page served on the choral, festival and overview panels of the National Endowment for the Arts, and conducted or was associated with the commissions, world premieres, and radio and TV broadcasts of many major works. In Europe he conducted London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luxembourg RTL Orchestra, the Budapest Concert Orchestra, and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the latter in opening concerts of the Dvorak Festival in Dvorak’s hometown, in Prague and in the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. Choirs he conducted can be heard on more than 40 major albums. He won Grammy awards for his recordings of Orff’s Carmina Burana (Cleveland Orchestra) and

Catulli Carmina (Philadelphia Orchestra), and was nominated for seven others. He received France’s Grand Prix du Disc for Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Prix Mondial de Montreux for Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (Babi Yar) with the Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy. Page received ACU’s Distinguished Alumni Citation in 1972. In 2001, he was honored as one of the first members of the American Choral Directors Association and in 2009 was made an honorary life member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. He was preceded in death by his parents, Avery and Mary Page; sisters Peggy Bartee (’50), Cordelia Hampton (’32) and Lelia Leach (’31); and brothers A.F. Page (’41), F. Page (’34) and Les Page (’64). Among survivors are Glynn (Castleberry ’50), his wife of 69 years; daughters Carolann Gemignani and Paula Page; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. One of his grandchildren is Broadway star Alexander Gemignani, whose father, Paul, was a nine-time Tony Award-winning Broadway music director. His mother, Carolann, is an internationally known singer and actress. His wife, Glynn, taught at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama from 1977-97 and is emerita professor of voice.

the region and began to rise in the ranks of academia. He taught at the University of Maine from 1970-85, serving as associate professor and chair of speech communication. He also was coordinator of graduate studies while an adjunct professor of speech at Bangor Theological Seminary. In 1985, he accepted a position at Pepperdine University and formally began his love affair with Christian higher education – a passion that would last for 25 years. He was dean of Pepperdine’s Seaver College of Letters, Arts and Sciences while directing the college’s graduate programs and serving as a professor of communication. He also was an elder in the Conejo Valley Church of Christ for nine years. In 1996, he became provost of ACU, where he championed many transformative initiatives to increase the university’s academic reputation, including the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, the Honors College, the Study Abroad program, the First-Year Program, the College of Education and Human Services, the School of Social Work, the School of Information Technology and Computing, the Graduate School of Theology, faculty renewal leaves, the advancement of women and minority faculty, funding for faculty development, increased rigor in tenure and promotion, and a new general education core. In all things, he sought to make ACU more academically competitive and prestigious, racially and culturally inclusive, all while still holding strongly to its deep Church of Christ roots. He was an elder at Highland Church of Christ until his retirement in 2009. In retirement, he and Joan lived in Washington to be closer to their children and grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Chalmer and Lorna Van Rheenen, and a granddaughter, Jenna Westerholm. Among survivors are Joan, his wife of 49 years; two sons, Nathan VanRheenen and Derek VanRheenen (’00 M.S.); a daughter, Michele Westerholm; two brothers, Gailyn Van Rheenen (’75 M.S.) and Mark VanRheenen; two sisters, Karen Cuthbertson and Lorual Peschka; and six grandchildren.

Becton developed landmark cancer ministry E. Randall Becton (’71 M.S.), author, minister and founder of the Caring Cancer Ministry, died July 23, 2016, in Abilene, concluding more than four decades of ministry to fellow cancer patients. He was 71. Becton was born Sept. 17, 1944, in Nashville, Tenn. He grew up in Nashville and attended Lipscomb Academy. He married Camilla Greer (’67) on Aug. 22, 1966. After graduating from Lipscomb University in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible, he began graduate studies at the Harding School of Theology but followed his major professor, Dr. George Gurganus, to ACU, where he earned his master’s degree in missions in 1971. In 1969, he began a career with Herald Becton of Truth, serving in numerous roles including executive director from 1991 until his retirement in 2006, though he continued to serve as minister-at-large. Under his leadership at Herald of Truth, the international radio and television ministry expanded to include multiple programs. He was instrumental in creation of the annual Saving the American Family Conference; as editor of UpReach magazine and as speaker for Caring Touch Radio; and numerous television specials. He was the author of 15 books. In 1973, just months after the birth of his and Camilla’s third child, Becton was diagnosed with leucytic lymphoma, beginning a journey of treatment, remissions, surgeries, complications and side effects spanning more than 40 years, defying his doctors’ predictions. The experience inspired the Bectons in 1978 to begin the Caring Cancer Ministry, an outreach of comfort and encouragement for patients and their families; publishing books and pamphlets for patients, caregivers and ministers; and personally corresponding with hundreds of individuals battling cancer. For 16 years, Becton served as an elder at Highland Church of Christ, which honored him in 1994 for 25 years of service to many ministries. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Myrna Becton; a brother, Harold Becton; and a son, Mark Becton. Among survivors are his wife, Camilla; daughters Stacia (Becton ’91) Looney, Shana Becton (’95) and Shara (Becton ’05) Wilson; eight grandchildren; and two sisters, Myrna Williams and Lynda Kinney.

Former ACU provost Dr. Dwayne Dale VanRheenen, 72, died Aug. 11, 2016, in Washington state following an illness. VanRheenen was born in the Dutch farming town of Prairie City, Iowa, on April 13, 1944. At a young age, Dwayne’s parents left the Dutch Orthodox Church for the Church of Christ and were shunned from their community. Without family or community support, the growing VanRheenen family moved frequently as Dwayne’s father preached across the Midwest and South, pausing to farm and raise pigs and other livestock when the seasons and financial needs intersected. Dwayne told stories of late nights as a schoolboy (after spending the day in the fields and school) bent over a typewriter pecking out his father’s VanRheenen sermons as he gave dictation. Although poorly educated themselves, his parents desired their children to become leaders in ministry and academia, and eventually settled in Paragould, Ark., so Dwayne and his siblings could attend Crowley’s Ridge Academy, a Church of Christ elementary and high school where he met Joan Allison. The two attended Harding University together, began dating and married shortly after graduation on Aug. 26, 1966. He attended graduate school at the University of Missouri, eventually earning a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in speech communication. He helped plant the Brewer Church of Christ, preached regularly across


Innovation defined former provost’s work

Dunn reached top of country music world Singer-songwriter Holly Suzette Dunn (’79), the only ACU graduate to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry, died Nov. 14, 2016, at age 59 in Albuquerque, N.M., following a short battle with ovarian cancer. Dunn was born Aug. 22, 1957, in San Antonio. An ACU Sing Song hostess in 1979 and member of the Hilltoppers musical troupe, she earned a B.A. degree in mass communication. She was a member of Sigma Theta Chi women’s social club, the Choral Society, and a staffer on The Optimist newspaper and KACU campus radio station. She was a member of the Opry from 1989-99, and one of the most popular artists in country music after getting her Nashville career started Dunn as a songwriter with her brother, award-winning writer-producer Chris Waters Dunn (’73). Daddy’s Hands, the 1986 song she wrote and recorded, was one of 10 Top 20 and eight Top 10 hits – two reached No. 1 – and helped her receive three Grammy nominations. She earned the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Female Vocalist award in 1986 and the Country Music Association’s Horizons Award in 1987. She received BMI’s Songwriter of the Year award in 1989 and helped host TNN’s Opry Backstage show for two years. In all, Dunn recorded 10 albums and hit songs with Kenny Rogers, Michael Martin Murphey, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Dunn was a country music radio show co-host on WWWW-FM in Detroit, Mich., in 1997 before retiring from the music business fully in 2003 to begin an art career in Santa Fe, N.M., where she was named public relations coordinator for the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in 2008 and later became co-owner of Pena-Dunn Gallery with artist Amado Pena. She opened Art Song Gallery in Salado, Texas, in 2004, featuring the work of artists with ties to Texas. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank Dunn (’40) and Yvonne Wiggins Dunn. Among survivors are her brothers Jerry Dunn (’68), Rodney Dunn (’72), and Chris Waters Dunn.


Winter-Spring 2017


ACU Remembers: Bailey, Loveland, Pruitt, Fritts, Baisden, Evans, Nevill, Green Bonnie Mignon (Pitt) Bailey, 68, a former longtime administrative assistant, died May 30, 2016, in Abilene. Bailey was born Jan. 29, 1948, in Memphis, Tenn., where she graduated from Harding Academy in 1966. She attended Harding University from 1966-68 and Freed-Hardeman University in 1976. She met Dr. Fred Bailey Bailey while the two attended Harding, and married Aug. 22, 1968. She and Fred began work at ACU in 1984, with Bonnie retiring in 2013 after a nearly 30-year career in the Provost’s Office, Information Services and the Department of Biology. The Baileys lived for a year in China in the mid 1990s while Fred, a professor of history, served a teaching fellowship at Nanjing University. Bonnie was preceded in death by her parents, Andrew Martin Pitt and Janice May Pitt. Among survivors are Fred, her husband of 47 years; a daughter, Amber (Bailey ’97) Perez; sons Alex Bailey (’03) and Stan Bailey (’02); a brother, Paul Pitt; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Longtime library archivist Erma Jean (Alkire ’58) Loveland, 79, died June 22, 2016, in Abilene. She was born Oct. 2, 1936, in Greene County, Ind., and graduated from Kimberly (Idaho) High School in 1954. She earned a B.S. degree in education with special emphasis on business from ACU, a M.S. in education Loveland from College of Idaho in 1966 and an M.L.S. degree from the University of North Texas in 1989. She married Charles Ray Loveland (’60) on May 31, 1959, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Loveland was a teacher at Buhl (Idaho) High School (1958-59); Trent (Texas) High School (1959-60); Western Christian College in North Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada (1960-61); Burley (Idaho) High School (1966-69); Noodle Horn (Texas) High School (1969-73); Draughan’s Business College (1973-74); and Jim Ned (Texas) High School (1974-80). She was a special collections librarian in ACU’s Brown Library, and archivist for the Center for Restoration Studies, from 1984 until her retirement in 2003. She was a member of Hillcrest Church of Christ for 47 years, the Daughters of the American Revolution (John Davis Chapter), Texas Library Association, Christian College Librarians, and ACU’s Centennial Photography Archivists Team. She assisted with the Restoration Serials Index and the Stone Campbell List. Loveland was preceded in death by her parents, Orval Lyman Alkire and Elsie Lenore (Stevens) Alkire. Among


Winter-Spring 2017


survivors are Charles, her husband of 57 years; a son, Brad Loveland (’84); a daughter, LeAnn (Loveland ’87) Littlefield; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Norma (Alkire ’61) Harrell. Dr. Donice (Hawes) Kelly Pruitt, former longtime chair of the home economics department, died July 7, 2016, in Lubbock at age 94. Pruitt was born April 21, 1922, in Benton, Kan., and graduated from high school in Whitewater, Kan., in 1940. She attended Harding University before earning a bachelor’s Pruitt degree in home economics education in 1943 and a master’s degree in 1951, both from Kansas State University; and a doctorate in home economics, sociology and higher education from The Ohio State University in 1965. She also did graduate studies at Penn State University, and became a Certified Home Economist in 1987. Pruitt taught home economics in three Kansas public school systems before joining the ACU faculty in 1948. She left ACU to become associate professor of home economics at KSU from 1955-68, and professor and chair of the Department of Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising at Oklahoma State University from 1968-74. She returned to ACU in 1974, serving as chair of the Department of Home Economics and Family Studies before retiring in 1987. She was a member of the National Council of Home Economics Administrators, American Home Economics Association, Texas Home Economics Association, and central region chair for the Association of College Professors of Clothing and Textiles. She also was a longtime member of Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene. She wed Alvin Kelly on Aug. 24, 1969, in Stillwater, Okla., and they were married 28 years until his death in 1997. She married Walter Pruitt in 2000, and he died in 2005. She also was preceded in death by her parents, Will and Thurza Hawes, and her sister, Averil Henry. Among survivors are her four stepchildren, Kathy (Kelly) Feuerhelm, Mike Kelly (’80), Celeste (Pruitt ’77) Thompson and Allen Pruitt (’82); 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Longtime teacher education professor Dr. Chantrey Alfred Fritts Jr. (’53) died Aug. 9, 2016, at age 85. He was a 41-year resident of Abilene, spending the final few years of his life in Lubbock while caring for his wife through a medical crisis, and then his own struggle with Alzheimer’s. Fritts was born April 9, 1931, in Sterling, Colo., and graduated from South Denver High School in 1949. He married Aynsley Lillian Ruth Pennock on June 11, 1955. He earned a bachelor’s degree in

education from ACU, and a master’s degree (1954) and a doctorate in education (1967) from the University of Denver. He was a teacher, counselor and administrator in Denver Public Schools Fritts for 14 years. He joined the ACU faculty in Fall 1967, beginning more than four decades of service as professor and chair of teacher education, and supervisor of student-teachers at his alma mater. Among his accolades were being named ACU’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year in the College of Professional Studies (1986-87), and receiving the Mentor Award from the Texas Student Education Association (1985), and the Kyle Kilough Award as educator of the year by the Texas Society of College Teachers of Education, Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Texas Teacher Center Network (1988). He also served in the U.S. Army Reserve. Fritts retired in 2001 as professor emeritus of education and was a longtime elder at Abilene’s Hillcrest Church of Christ. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edna Violet Smith and Chantrey Alfred Fritts, Sr., and a sister, Nancy Vourexes. Among survivors are Aynsley, his wife of 61 years; three daughters, Debbie (Fritts ’80) Paxton, Jennifer (Fritts ’82) Carpenter and Toga Broom; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Joe Bon Baisden (’59), veteran evangelist and former longtime ACU trustee, died Aug. 17, 2016, in Belton, Texas, at age 79. He was born Dec. 7, 1936, in Ennis, Texas, and was salutatorian of the 1955 graduating class of Killeen (Texas) High School. After graduating from ACU with a B.S.Ed. degree, he married Janelle Baisden Davis (’56) on June 20, 1959. He did graduate work in music at The University of Texas at Austin and in Bible at ACU. Baisden served as a minister for many churches, including congregations in Austin (1958-61, 1963-65); Bloomington (1961-63); Washington, D.C. (1965-67); Abilene (1967-70); and the Belton Church of Christ (1971-2004). He conducted gospel meetings and singing workshops for years, and after retiring served as interim minister for 12 congregations. He and Janelle also were active in promoting Christian camping. Everywhere he lived, he was a giant in community service. Baisden was a longtime member of the Belton Lions Club (Lion of the Year for 1973-74), Belton Area Chamber of Commerce, Belton library board, and vice chair of the Bell County Child Welfare Board.

He served as a Belton city councilman and received the Harris Fellowship from the Temple Rotary Club. He also was secretary of Austin’s Northeast Kiwanis Club and president of Abilene’s Key City Kiwanis Club. He received a Friend of Education award from Texas State Teachers Association (1986), served on the Chaplain’s Professional Consultation Committee for Scott and White Memorial Hospital, wrote a weekly column for The Belton Journal, and served on the Parent Advisory Committee for Belton ISD. He served on ACU’s Board of Development (1975-91), its first Visiting Committee for the College of Biblical Studies (1982-87), the university’s Board of Trustees (1991-2007) and its University Council (200816). He received ACU’s Distinguished Alumni Citation in 1980, and in 1991 he and Janelle were presented its Christian Service Award. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Joseph Baisden and Bonnie Dean (Whatley) Baisden. Among survivors are Janelle, his wife of 57 years; a son, Donnie Baisden (’85); two daughters, Jane Anne (Baisden ’86) Cox and Katherine (Baisden ’90) Gibson; and six grandchildren. Dr. Bruce Max Evans (’59), veteran former administrator at ACU and The ACU Foundation, died Aug. 25, 2016, in Fort Worth at the age of 79. Evans was born July 13, 1937, in Snyder, Texas, graduating from high school there in 1955. He married Jane Ann Rogers (’60) on July 13, 1957 and they made their first home in Abilene while he Evans finished his B.S.Ed. and M.Ed. (1960) degrees from ACU, both in music education. He earned an Ed.D. from Texas Tech University in 1968. Evans was a preacher, performing a large number of weddings and funerals, and serving as an elder at Taylor Street Church of Christ in Hobbs, N.M.; Stamford Church of Christ in Stamford, Conn.; and Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, where he and Jane worshipped for 31 years until their move in retirement to Granbury, Texas. A music teacher at heart and by training, he became a beloved and respected professor and administrator at three universities. Between band director roles in two Texas public schools – Rotan ISD (1960-61) and Post ISD (1962-66) – Evans was instructor of music and assistant band director at ACU from 1961-62. He was assistant professor of education at The University of Texas at El Paso (1968-70) before becoming the founding teacher education program chair at Lubbock Christian University (1970-72). He oversaw LCU’s senior college accreditation as vice president for planning and institutional studies (1971-72) before becoming provost and executive vice president (1972-75). From 1975-84, Evans was president of University of the Southwest in Hobbs, N.M. In 1979, he received ACU’s Grover C. Morlan Medal for outstanding leadership in education. Evans was

ACU’s vice president for university advancement (1984-85) and dean of the Graduate School (1985-88) before becoming president of The Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, N.Y. (1988-92), and executive director/president of Abilene’s Herald of Truth Ministries (19922000). He returned to his alma mater in 2000 as executive director and executive vice president of The ACU Foundation, and retired in 2012. He became a certified financial planner in 1994 and helped Dan T. Garrett (’73) direct The ACU Foundation’s work in estate planning with donors. Evans was an organizer of the Abilene chapter of the National Society for Fund Raising Executives and a member of the National Committee on Planned Giving. He was a founding board member of Disability Resources in Abilene, and a trustee of FaithWorks of Abilene, Austin Graduate School of Theology and World Christian Broadcasting. Evans also was a board member or president of local chapters of the United Way, Junior Achievement and Rotary Club; and a leader in other civic and educational organizations. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bruce and Annie Evans, and a sister, Mary Ann. Among survivors are Jane, his wife of 59 years; a daughter, Melanie (Evans ’82) Bullock; a son, Jay Bruce Evans (’86); five grandchildren; and three greatgrandchildren. Bob Elton Nevill, 70, died Oct. 2, 2016, in Austin, Texas. He was born Jan. 19, 1945, in San Angelo, Texas, and graduated from Sonora (Texas) High School in 1963. He attended Rice University for two years on a football scholarship, and earned a B.B.A. (1973) and MBA (1974) in finance from The University of Nevill Texas at Arlington. In 1967, he married his high school sweetheart, Cecilia Young, and earned an MBA at The University of Texas at Arlington. He was city manager of Sonora, Texas, from 1974-78 before starting Video Vision, a company specializing in cable TV systems for rural Texas and New Mexico communities. He was general manager of a cable TV company in Brownwood, Texas, and was a telecommunications consultant for Nevill & Associates while serving customers in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and California. Nevill began work at ACU in 1995 as manager of technical services, retiring 13 years later after various administrative roles in Computer and Network Services, Information Technology and Physical Resources. He was preceded in death by his parents, Tom Nevill and Mercedes “Dee” (Trainer) Nevill, and a brother, John Ed Nevill. Among survivors are a daughter, Heather Slone Nevill; a son, Thomas Wesley Nevill; and two grandchildren.

Former art and design department chair Dr. William Brent Green, 86, died in Abilene on Oct. 22, 2016, following a long illness. Born Dec. 4, 1929, in Dawson, Texas, he grew up in Wooster, northwest of Houston. Green attended Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, and earned an A.A. from Lee College in Green 1949, a B.F.A. in art from The University of Texas at Austin in 1953, an M.F.A. in painting from The University of Oklahoma in 1962 and a doctorate in art education from The Ohio State University in 1973. He also did graduate work at the University of Houston. As an 18-year-old undergraduate student, he was hired by Humble Oil and Refining as the company’s first assistant draftsman. At UT-Austin, he studied under the renowned Texas painter Boyer Gonzales Jr., sculptor Charles Umlauf and muralist Seymore Fogel. He graduated from junior high, high school and Lee College with Ina Lynch (’63). They married May 29, 1949, and later taught together at ACU for years before retiring together in 1998; she as professor emerita of psychology and he as professor emeritus of art and design. He was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso while serving in the U.S. Army from 1953-55. Afterward, he worked in Houston as a draftsman for Tidelands Exploration Company. Brent joined the ACU faculty as an instructor in 1958, becoming an associate professor in 1969, a professor in 1978 and chair of the Department of Art and Design in 1980. He was director of ACU’s Shore Art Gallery and taught classes in painting, drawing, ceramics, art theory and art education. In Abilene, he was an elder at University Church of Christ for 18 years and a deacon at Hillcrest Church of Christ, and Fishinger and Kenny Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio. He taught Bible classes, made numerous mission trips to Poland and participated in the Zambia Medical Mission. He held memberships in the American Society for Aesthetics and Art Criticism, College Art Association, National Art Education Association and Texas Art Education Association. He also was a member of the Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of the Texas Fine Arts Association. His paintings are displayed in ACU’s Brown Library, Westex Drilling in Abilene and Texas Instruments in Dallas. In 1981, he was commissioned by the Abilene chapter of the American Association of University Women to create a mural commemorating the Abilene centennial; it remains on display at the Abilene Civic Center. He was preceded in death by his parents, William Cazzle Green and Georgia Elizabeth (Bogle) Green, and a brother, Billy Earl Green. Among survivors are Dr. Ina Green, his wife of 67 years; a son, Bill Green (’77); and a daughter, Heather (Green ’80) Wooten; four grandchildren; and a sister, Mary Beth (Green) Woods.


Winter-Spring 2017



Twenty-five years later, a favorite tradition burns bright


After enduring the often dramatic ups and downs of the logistics until a big box of candles greeted us when we high school, the constant high of ACU made my heart arrived at Welcome Week. We began second-guessing our burst with joy. From the first day of Welcome Week until idea when we saw heavy rain forecast for Tuesday night. graduation in May 1992, my eyes were opened to God’s We did not have a Plan B. work in my own heart and the lives of my friends. Just before sunset, we prayed under the nearby World ACU provided endless opportunities to worship, Missions Globe, asking God to delay the rain and rescue grow and connect with other students. One was the us from our lack of planning. He agreed, and the first beloved Tuesday Night Devos on the front steps of Candlelight Devo lit up the amphitheatre with light, Hardin Administration Building. It Only Takes a Spark hope and dreams in the eyes of a new freshman class. was one of the favorite songs of that era. Our general lack of attention to detail also did not The irony of that foreshadowing makes me smile. account for the fact that when candles melt, wax drips. The spring of my junior year, the We were so elated with the beauty Welcome Week steering committee and glory of the night that we did not selected Chris Seidman (’92) and me notice the amphitheatre steps were to plan the spiritual life portion of covered with globs of stiff white wax. the event for Fall 1991. Knowing our The College of Biblical Studies faculty history together made that a logical and staff took great pride in upkeep of yet comical choice. Our own Welcome their still-like-new building, and dean Week friendship had hilariously Dr. Ian Fair (’68) and his assistant, culminated with Chris greeting me Martha Renfro, were not amused. in the campus mall with a swift body Chris and I blissfully basked the Candlelight Devo in slam, causing me to tumble through next morning in the afterglow of the Beauchamp Amphitheatre the grass as he cackled hysterically. event as Welcome Week chairs Mike He and my then-fiancé, Grant Boone Shanks (’92) and Trish Savage (’92) (’91) were the best of friends and their daily interaction were tasked with scraping the wax from some 900 candles consisted of a barrage of inside jokes, laughing until they off the concrete steps. It was no small job. Honestly, no one cried, and some deep spiritual conversation sprinkled told us this until years later, and I am still apologizing. in for good measure. I moved away after graduation and the devo became a Chris and I had been a part of the writing and distant memory until about 10 years later, when someone implementing of Wednesday night Bible Studies told me about the “awesome tradition of the Welcome spearheaded by Reg Cox (’84) and Brad Small (’84) that Week Candlelight Devo!” I smiled, not understanding how were such a big part of campus life at the time. Tuesday ingrained this unlikely event had become in the fabric Night Devos, a staple of ACU student spiritual life since of the university. Still others told me it was one of their the 1930s, had been moved to the steps of Beauchamp favorite ACU memories. No way, I thought. I was wrong. Amphitheatre, which was then only a couple of years A few years ago, faculty, staff and alumni were old. The newness of the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies invited to attend, lining the sidewalk from Moody to Building with its Chapel on the Hill, peaceful Quiet Place the amphitheatre, singing and reciting Scripture as new and symbolic Tower of Light made the amphitheatre a freshmen walked by. Another such devo has been added no-brainer venue for introducing freshmen to ACU. The for graduating seniors, a fine bookend to their time on the Welcome Week steering committee had the idea that we Hill. This fall, one took place at Homecoming for alumni. would have a huge Tuesday Night Devo during Welcome Last year, the event at Wildcat Week (Welcome Week’s Week to encourage freshmen to attend when school new name) held new meaning as I watched my own child started the next week. walk down that same sidewalk with his candle. His eyes An inscription at the base of the tower, at the foot of were full of wonder, anticipation, hope and a little bit of the amphitheatre, features John 8:12’s “light of the world” fear. Mine were full of tears. language, so Chris and I wondered if candles might be a The 25th official Candlelight Devo takes place Aug. 22, nice addition to the Welcome Week devo. The idea was 2017. Time goes by so quickly, and I smile at the thought. approved, and candles were ordered. Because the two of us Some big things have inauspicious beginnings. Sometimes were not particularly organized, we did not think much of a big idea truly only takes a spark. May it ever be so. 


Winter-Spring 2017


A Life’s Work. A Lasting Legacy.


r. Tony (’59 M.A.) and Barbara Ash have dedicated their lives to spreading the Good News and serving the students of ACU. Ever since Tony joined the College of Biblical Studies faculty in 1963, the Ashes have been a consistent, loving presence on campus. Tony retired from teaching full time in 2015, but he can still be regularly found on campus discussing Scripture with other faculty members and engaging students in the halls and sharing his wisdom (and his pockets full of candy). “Our life’s work has been here, getting to know our students and prayerfully hoping they will go out and make an impact for God’s Kingdom,” Barbara said. It was no wonder that when it came time for the Ashes

to plan for their estate, ACU and specifically its legacy of raising up faith leaders was high on their list. “Ministers, their families and their churches need care and mentoring,” Tony said. “The Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at ACU uniquely provides support for these servants with compassion and love. Our hope is that our last gift will help these families and churches continue to grow.” You can direct estate gifts to ACU by including language in your will or living trust, or by designating the university as a beneficiary of your retirement account or life insurance policy. Remembering ACU and our programs through an estate gift helps sustain and strengthen the university for years to come. For information about the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry, or to learn more about supporting student scholarships or any of ACU’s amazing programs with your estate plan, please contact The ACU Foundation today.

Hunter Welcome Center ACU Box 29200 Abilene, Texas 79699-9200

800-979-1906 • 325-674-2508 • •

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Abilene Christian University

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

C OMING UP Third Annual TEDxACU ............................................................................. March 24 Wildcat Preview Day for Future Students ................................................ March 27 Wildcats Serving Day ..................................................................................... April 1 Admitted Student Visit Day ........................................................................... April 7 National ACT Test Dates ................................................................. April 8, June 10 High School Scholars Day ........................................................................... April 21 Class of 1967 Golden Anniversary Reunion ........................................... April 26-28 Candlelight Sendoff for Graduating Seniors ............................................... April 27 National SAT Test Dates ................................................................... May 6, June 3

May Commencement ................................................................................... May 13 Wildcat Week ..................................................................................... August 22-26 Opening Assembly ................................................................................. August 28 Dedication of Wildcat Stadium / Football: ACU vs. Houston Baptist University ............................... September 16 111th Annual Summit .................................................................... September 17-20 Family Weekend and Freshman Follies ..................................... September 22-23 Homecoming 2017 ............................................................................ October 19-21 December Commencement ............................................................... December 15 LYDIA LAWSON

Remembering Katie Friends of ACU sophomore Katherine “Katie” Laura Kirby created a candlelight vigil around the GATA Fountain in early November when the elementary education major died unexpectedly. She had recently pledged GATA, the longtime women’s social club. See page 75.