By Mallory Sherwood, Managing Editor
Moody Coliseum bustled with frenzy Monday at the 100th opening session of the university as students, alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, friends of the university and Abilene citizens waited to see if the keynote speaker would be the President Bush, as rumored by some.
Instead, Dr. Royce Money, the 10th president of the university, opened the 2005-06 school year and dispelled the persistent rumors that the President of the United States would speak at the first Chapel of the 100th year.
Making light of the President’s declination to speak, Money gave the centennial address and told the university’s history, beginning with founder A.B. Barret’s dream to open a place to educate students in a Christian environment?a dream that came true on Sept. 11, 1906, when the Childer’s Classical Institute, as the university was once called, opened its doors.
“A university like ACU is not built in a year, not even in a decade,” Money said. “It takes time, and look at where we are now.”
For a university that began its journey on a city block of land where buffalo and cattle once grazed with 20 students, Money said, it has come a long way.
The school now boasts of more than 86,000 graduates from 49 states and more than 100 countries.
Students carried flags representing the 47 states and 59 countries that current students call home.
The university added more than 1,200 first-year and transfer students this fall, even without the three missing states.
The usually traditional opening ceremony held a surprise for everyone in the audience as the Big Purple Band played “Centennial Fanfare,” composed by Dr. M.L. Daniels, professor Emeritus of Music, for the first time.
Following the song’s debut, the entering class received a familiar charge like the 99 classes preceding: Go and change the world.
“Generation after generation, we have had students leave to be salt and light to the world,” Money said. “They come and are transformed intellectually, spiritually and socially. Their lives are transformed into the likeness of Christ.”
Money also said structure nor buildings make the university what it is.
“There is a saying that the church is not a building; the people are the church,” he said. “It is the same here. ACU isn?t the place; it’s the people.”
To each group of people, Money gave a word of advice.
“I want the international students to know that I admire your courage and determination to cross boundaries of langauge and culture to study with us this year,” Money said.
He encouraged the first-year and transfer students and said he believed in them and told them they were mission keepers.
“I am confident that you will fulfill the mission and make us proud,” he said.
To everyone else involved with the university, he reminded them of the God who has blessed the university.
“Remember that we are a free and democratic society but that God is not God over just one nation,” Money said. “God is neither Republican nor Democrat, and we should be called to the basic principles and be one nation under God. Patriotism should not be a religion.”
Justin Scott, Students’ Association president and senior political science major from Whitehouse, also encouraged the student body to be vital and active members of the university. He said each student is a tangible witness that God is at work in this place.
Money ended the convocation by explaining how God was at work at the university.
“We know who we are: followers of Christ,” Money said. “We know why we’re here: our mission is to capture the minds and hearts of students and to give them meaning by answering their question of ‘who am I?'”