By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
After a year spent honoring its Centennial, ACU celebrated its birthday with a new sculpture, 9-foot birthday cake, carnival, concert and fireworks display during the weekend’s Centennial Birthday Bash.
“We all saw people we haven’t seen in years,” said Dr. Michelle Morris, Centennial Celebration director. “People drove into town for the birthday; some people flew into town for the birthday.”
Bob Woodward, founder of the Grace L. Woodward Memorial Endowment Trust and son of Grace Woodward, attended the Jacob’s Dream dedication with his wife, Mary.
Woodward surprised the audience by speaking about his mother and her generosity at the dedication, Morris said.
Woodward also met the artist who created the sculpture, Dr. Jack Maxwell, chair of the Department of Art and Design.
“It wasn’t just a piece of art; somehow for people, it’s an experience,” Morris said.
The ACU Century book signing drew a crowd that lined both sides of the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building and was constant for more than an hour, Morris said.
Jama Cadle, coordinator of alumni relations, said more than 260 wristbands were sold at the carnival, and she estimated that about 1,500 people attended the event, including those who attended the birthday cake ceremony.
Cadle said about 30 student volunteers from the football team, U100 classes or individual interest helped at the event; 40 people volunteered in total.
“We had an abundance of volunteers,” Cadle said.
Feedback from students, staff, faculty and the community has been positive, Cadle said, but she said student participation was lower than she would have liked.
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, and the Big Purple band led the audience in “Happy Birthday” at the cake ceremony.
A constant stream of film from ACU’s history played Saturday in the Centennial Theatre.
Film clips were modern and historic, Morris said, and many clips were sporting events, including footage of three-time Olympic gold medalist and ACU alumnus Bobby Morrow crossing the finish line.
On Friday night, Abilene 1906 enjoyed a packed house, and Saturday and Sunday’s performances were full as well, Morris said.
The great-great granddaughter of Colonel Childers, ACU’s namesake, attended Saturday’s performance and posed for pictures with Childers’ character in the musical.
The Birthday Bash ended with a concert by Dove Award-winning Christian band Caedmon’s Call and a fireworks display.
“If I had to pick one thing that exceeded my expectations, it would be the fireworks show,” Jennifer Ellison, Centennial activities coordinator, said in an e-mail. “We couldn’t have picked a better way to end our Birthday Celebration.”