It’s been a year filled with firsts as well as lasts.
Starting in the fall, ACU said hello to one of the largest freshman classes ACU has seen.
In August, the Brown Library introduced the Maker Lab, equipped with a 3-D scanner and 3-D printer to provide students with a creative space to work and design.
Nursing students learned the ins and outs of hospital life at the newly opened School of Nursing in the Zona Luce building.
ACU sports made their debut into Division 1 this year.
For the first time in 16 years, ACU sports redesigned their uniforms to match the prestige of being a Division 1 team complete with the new logo and black and purple designs.
Looking back on the fall, there were many reasons for students to rejoice.
Cast members in the Homecoming musical, Les Miserables brought students laughs, tears and feel-good moments during their performances.
In mid-October, freshman Reid Rivers was ready to listen through rain or snow.
Then, 1,200 followers watched with giggles as students sent anonymous love posts to Twitter account @ACUCrushes. It, however, was crushed by policy violations in the fall.
Social clubs had one of the largest pledge classes in ACU history, with a total of 392 students dawning club colors.
There was even a fake club with real pledges. Alpha Alpha Alpha introduced 34 pledges to its made-up ranks with bogus pledging activities like dragging fruits behind them to class or making animal noises at specified times.
Cullen Auditorium had trouble staying above water as it flooded twice this year, once in June and again in October.
ACU was host to various esteemed visitors this year.
In August, Secretary of State John Steen stopped by campus to discuss the new voter I.D. law and eat lunch with President Phil Schubert.
Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes brought the spotlight to ACU as he visited with several students and faculty in October.
Authors, John R. Erickson, creator of Hank the Cowdog, and New York Times best-selling author Eric Metexas, educated ACU on the life of writers in March and April, respectively.
Senator John Cornyn travled to ACU to tour the new Maker Lab and Learning Studio in February.
Students were excited to receive the opportunity to listen to three Duck Dynasty cast members Alan, Si and Lisa Robertson speak.
And Former New York Yankee Bobby Richardson ate with students on campus, leaving them with encouraging words.
The university celebrated many firsts this year.
The first university-sponsored drill team, Sophisticats, appeared on the sidelines of the football games in the fall.
Then, ACUPD swore in its first female officer Shelia Barton in October.
Recently, Wildcat Cash was created so students could eat more Jason’s Deli and pay less cash.
In March, ACU proudly accepted the Apple Distinguished School Award for the second time.
In April, the Marketing Enrollment team selected eight cast members for the first ever “reality show” at campus #lifeonthehill in attempt to recruit more students by peer-to-peer interaction on social media.
However, there were also a few difficulties this year that bonded students and tested their faiths.
Sophomore David Norwood was hit by a car while riding his bike with no injuries more serious than road rash.
False parking tickets containing racial slurs and sexist comments were found on various students’ cars in March. Students were relieved when police discovered Hardin Simmons University’s students, not involved with ACU, were the suspects.
ACU also had great reason to celebrate in excellence of honored faculty and alumni.
Rick Atchley was awarded ACU’s 2014 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year after 25 years of ministry and two written books.
Vice President Dr. Gary McCaleb celebrated 50 years of service at the university by throwing the first pitch in a baseball game in his new ACU Baseball jersey complete with the number 50 on the back.
The spring brought heartwarming memories and difficult goodbyes.
Students were sad to say goodbye to the long-time honored tradition of Spring Break Campaigns which did not take trips this year for the first time in 40 years.
Students had a much welcomed, three-day break in February because of snow.
Then, Sing Song celebrated wins by Trojan supermen, Ko Jo Kai bluebonnets and freshmen typewriters.
And now, ACU ends the year as it says farewell to 561 seniors who readily begin a new chapter in their lives.
These seniors were sent off from the university in the same way they were welcomed: with a candlelight devotional in their honor surrounded by the friends they’ve called family over the past four years.
The rest of the students, as well as faculty, anxiously await the building of three new science facilities, as well as a new Football Stadium thanks to donations of $55 million from donors.
Through the ups and downs of another year past, ACU stands stronger than ever, and ready for a new year.