By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Rhode Island is no longer the lone missing state in ACU’s parade of flags in the traditional opening Chapel.
New Hampshire and North Dakota have joined the notorious Rhode Island in its absence from campus.
However, the holes that the three states left in the flag procession were filled with flags from new countries and nations that are now represented on campus.
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, welcomed students from Madagascar, Kazakhstan, the Virgin Islands and the American Samoa on Monday in the opening of the 99th session of ACU.
The traditional Chapel session opened with the procession of professors, followed by the flags of all countries and states represented at the university.
Students carrying flags from 66 countries and 49 states and U.S. territories marched on the floor of Moody in front of cheering students.
Following school tradition, students sang “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” during the devotional time.
A twist was added to the traditional scripture reading this year. Dino Russos read Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill from the book of Acts, in its original Greek form, with the English translation on the screens.
Dr. Ginna Sadler welcomed all new and returning students and faculty to the university. Layne Rouse, Students’ Association president and senior communication major from Midland, introduced the Welcome Week directors and the executive officers of SA. He also spoke about the future of the university and the American church.
“There’s great excitement going around,” Rouse said. “In the midst of all the noise, God calls out, ‘arise’.”
Dr. Robert D. Hunter, ACU vice president emeritus and Texas state representative of district 71, gave the opening address. He said he looked forward to ACU’s centennial year and assured students they were in the right place.
“You have made the right decision to become part of the ACU family,” he said. “My hope is that you will forever be glad that you chose Abilene Christian University.”
He added that he hopes students will learn the value of serving others while at the university, and named several alumni whom he said truly changed the world.
“Ordinary people have lived extraordinary lives here for the past 100 years,” he said.
Although some choose to skip longer-than-normal chapel service, Moody Coliseum was filled with current students, alumni and community members.
“It was very different,” said Alex Coronel, freshman art major from San Antonio. “I like the way they gave students from different nations a chance to show their flags.”
Although he said the speaking was a little long, he enjoyed the ceremony overall.
Landon Sheets, freshman undeclared major from Muleshoe, said he would enjoy the tradition of attending opening chapel every year.
“The part with the flags and when they busted out with the national anthem and the giant flag was pretty cool.” Sheets said. “I think I’ll definitely come back.”