By Mallory Sherwood, Staff Writer
Dr. K.B. Massingill, director of the Adams Center, asked about 280 people at Monday’s State of the University Address in the Teague Special Events Center about the second century vision, “What will ACU be like for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?,” as ACU approaches its Centennial Celebration next year and enters its 100th year of operation.
The president’s cabinet developed five expectations of the ACU community to help shape that vision, Massingill said.
The university’s goal is for students to be engaged in learning inside and outside of the classroom, challenged to excel in analytical thinking and problem-solving, equipped to serve and lead in their communities, connected for life by the relationships built on campus and committed to stewardship to take care of the ACU community.
“We are studying ways to improve the quality of life on campus and how to empower people to live in our community,” said Dr. Sally Gary, assistant professor of communication. “Stewardship is really about taking care of the faculty and students, preparing them to leave this place and go further the kingdom of God as he intends.”
With new teams called VISTA, faculty and staff can brainstorm how to put these goals into action effectively, Massingill said.
“We are giving faculty the opportunity to volunteer and shape the future at ACU and to see the vision,” Massingill said.
As the $150 million Centennial Campaign, the largest campaign in the history of ACU, launches its final year, nearly $62 million has already been committed, said Dr. Royce Money, president of ACU.
“The Centennial Campaign is just one of the exciting things happening in Abilene this upcoming year,” Money said. “It is a year of birthday celebrations. Abilene will celebrate 125 years, the Paramount Theatre will celebrate 75 years and Dyess Air Force Base will celebrate 50 years-all in 2006.”
The Centennial Campaign and Second Century Vision were not the only items on the agenda Monday. With a successful year, ACU has had many records set, and several departments received academic achievements.
The enrollment this year reached a record high of 4,786 students from 47 states and 66 nations. The Honors Program also reached a high of 461 students, up 90 percent since 1996, Money said.
Enrollment is up in individual departments as well. Sixty students have been added to the College of Business and Administration program this year, 97 students have been added to the pre-med and pre-dental programs, and the freshman Discovery program has had a reduction in undecided students as well, Money said.
Academic achievements were spread out among the departments also.
Accounting students who took the Certified Public Accountant exam passed at a rate double that of national standards, Money said. He also said students who applied to law school were accepted at a rate of 95 percent to schools such as Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia and Vanderbilt, and physics undergraduates have been listed 1,134 times as co-authors on 27 published papers in the past three years.
“I think you can see why so many national organizations have recognized ACU for overall excellence,” Money said. “For the third straight year, ACU was the only private university in Texas to be named one of “America’s Best College Buys” and “Best Christian Colleges.”
Ben Zickefoose, associate professor of exercise science and health, was one of many faculty members who gathered in the Teague Center Monday.
“My favorite part about these State of the University addresses are the achievements, the positive facts,” said Zickefoose. “It says something about our departments, that they are doing something right, when our students are achieving more each year.”
Dr. John Willis, professor in the graduate school of theology, concluded the speech by emphasizing the faculty’s role.
“Why would anyone come annually to Abilene for Homecoming, like the one we just finished?” Willis asked. “Because you as faculty are building the bridge heart to heart, person to person, to last a lifetime. There is no doubt in my mind that ACU is home to those who come, and this story continues every day when we interact with our students.”