By Sarah Carlson, Arts Editor
About $77 million in gifts and pledges have been donated to the “Called to Faith and Excellence” Centennial Campaign, which is a little more than halfway to the goal of $150 million to be raised by Dec. 31, 2006, said Phil Boone, director of the Centennial Campaign.
“We’re pleased with our progress, and we hope to be well on our way by the time we kick off the Centennial Celebration,” Boone said.
Opening Day of ACU’s 100th year will begin Aug. 22, the first day of classes in the fall, and Boone said he would love to announce the campaign has raised more than $100 million by that day.
Aside from the monetary goal of $150 million, he said a participation goal has been set for at least 20,400 people to contribute to the campaign.
Boone said the difference between this campaign and the previous campaign, “To Lead and to Serve,” in the amount of donations has stemmed from the effects from the events on Sept. 11, 2001, the struggling stock market and the war in Iraq.
“They have caused people to be hesitant and uncertain about the future,” he said. “However, we have seen a definite improvement in people’s outlook this fall and this spring.”
At last year’s Bible Lectureship when the Centennial Campaign was officially announced, about $56 million had been raised in about three years, compared to about $21 million raised this past year alone.
“We feel very optimistic about God’s blessings to help us meet this $150 million goal,” Boone said.
Dr. Michelle Morris, Centennial Celebration director and assistant vice president for university and alumni relations, said in an e-mail that planning for the Centennial Celebration is going well, and many projects are making great progress.
Before the first day of classes, the university community will have the opportunity to come together Aug. 21 for a Covenant Serve, a time of faith renewal and commitment for faculty, staff, students and board members, Morris said.
She said academic conferences for the centennial year have been set, and most of the speakers have been confirmed. This week, she said, she and others are meeting with representatives from various entities across the city because they have anniversaries that coincide with ACU’s. For example, Dyess Air Force Base will celebrate 50 years, The Historic Paramount Theatre 75 years and the city of Abilene 125 years.
“We have to develop great synergy among these organizations in the coming year,” Morris said.
Many areas around campus are working on restoration and memorabilia projects for the centennial. Becky Estrella, centennial coordinator, is planning for a number of exhibits across campus and is already beginning to build them, Morris said, adding she wants to encourage people to continue to donate items of significance in ACU’s history.
Items of memorabilia that will be available during the centennial year include various items featuring the centennial logo to be sold online and in The Campus Store. The ACU Century, a book with photos and essays about ACU, also will be available.
“In addition,” Morris said, “Dr. John C. Stevens has helped produce a perpetual calendar with highlights about ACU on every date of the year. I predict that these keepsake items will sell out fast!”