Few years in recent history have come with more anticipation than the 2005-06 school year brought for the university. With students and alumni anticipating major events like the Centennial Celebration, the 50th Sing Song and the final February Bible Lectureship, the campus community still found a way to create its own news that helped shape the year.
Here are the Optimist’s Top 10 news stories of the year for the university, as voted on by the editorial board:
10. Students returned to campus this fall to find that the Theatre Department had switched Homecoming Musicals from Aida to Seussical. The switch, which cost the cast four months of preparation, occurred after community complaints that a white actress had been cast as the lead role of a Nubian princess.
9. Rep. Bob Hunter announced he won’t seek re-election to the Texas House after his more than 20-year career there. By the end of the fall semester, 2000 alumnus Kevin Christian announced he will run as a Republican and Dr. Mel Hailey, chair of the Political Science Department, will run as a Democrat. Christian was defeated in the primary election.
8. After several delays in construction and the finish date, the Learning Commons in the Brown Library opened April 12. The redesigned ground floor of the library includes work tables and computers for group projects, a copy center, the Writing Center and a Starbucks coffee shop.
7. After a successful junior season for the Wildcat football team, safety Danieal Manning declared he will enter the draft in January. His stock soared after working out for professional scouts, and the Chicago Bears selected him as the 42nd overall pick April 29.
6. One of the biggest national news stories of the year touched ACU as well. Hurricane Katrina brought two students from shuttered Louisiana schools in the fall. Students worked to prepare places to stay for refugees fleeing Hurricane Rita on the Texas coast.
5. Enough hype surrounded the 50th annual Sing Song before the show in February, but interest peaked after a scoring mistake led to women’s club Alpha kai Omega mistakenly being named women’s club winner. An hour after the show ended, director Kendall Massey declared Sigma Theta Chi as winner.
4. Social clubs already were under a more watchful eye this fall during pledging season, when pledging activities led to disciplinary action against three clubs. Delta Theta was deactivated for more than six months, Galaxy went on a one-year probation and Sub T-16 was kicked off campus for two years.
3. Police arrested freshman Brandon Woodruff on Oct. 24 in connection with the deaths of his parents in Royse City. Woodruff was charged with two counts of capital murder and set bail at $2 million. He still waits in jail for a trial that likely won’t come until at least 2007.
2. Gay rights activist group Soulforce visited the university March 27 as part of its 19-institution tour, Equality Ride. ACU was the first university to grant Soulforce full access to campus, and the day of dialogue and forums passed without major incident or arrests, which occurred on several other stops for Soulforce.
1. When students and alumni remember back to the 2005-06 school year, perhaps no other event will stick out in their minds more than the university’s year-long Centennial Celebration. The year saw eight special speakers come to campus and a $150 million campaign. The Centennial comes to a close in September.
These are only a small sample of what has been a busy and memorable year for the ACU community. The Optimist has enjoyed bringing you this year’s news twice a week.
We look forward to serving you again next year.