Norman Bales (’53) is one of five recipients of the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Citation award, granted by the Alumni Association to alumni who have made significant personal and professional achievement.
Bales has preached for more than 50 years in several different states since his graduation. He said starting churches, especially in areas where Churches of Christ are not strong numerically, has been a large part of his life’s work.
Jama Cadle, assistant director of Alumni Relations, said nominations for the award go through the President’s Operations Cabinet, after which a short list is presented to the Alumni Advisory Board, made up of 36 alumni from various classes. In addition to other accomplishments, the board favors alumni who are involved with the university in some way, Cadle said.
Bales said he has been on campus several times over the years, whether persuading prospective students to attend ACU, attending numerous Lectureships or carting his four children, all alumni or current students, to and from school.
Bales said he was overwhelmed and grateful for the honor.
“The Bible makes a statement, ‘Honor those to whom honor is due,'” Bales said. “I don’t know that I’m due any honor, but the fact that the university is willing to still pay attention to those who’ve gone through the institution and have tried to make some contribution to the betterment of the world, I think, is an encouragement to continue to try to help others.”
Typically, the presentation takes place in the recipient’s hometown – as in the case of Du Hyun (Duke) Jung (’64), another 2009 recipient who lives in South Korea. The date of the award presentation depends on the availability of the recipient and those administrators that make the presentation, Cadle said. However, Cadle said Bales, a former Clyde resident, already planned to attend Homecoming with his family, and having the ceremony at ACU worked best for everyone.
“I think that I was blessed to grow up on a farm in Clyde, Texas, and to have people take me under their wing at ACC and give me a boost up the ladder,” Bales said. “[They] helped me try to become the best I can be in terms of helping and serving others.”
Cadle said Bales’ friends, family and colleagues will have an opportunity to pay tribute to him during the presentation. Afterward, ACU President Dr. Royce Money will say a few words, and Bales will have a chance to respond. The afternoon ceremony will conclude with a dessert reception in the Hunter Welcome Center.
Cadle said she thinks it is important to honor alumni, because they are an important part of the ACU community.
“Alumni keep the university going,” she said. “They send students; they give money; they give their time, and they keep our legacy alive. We are proud of so many of our alumni, and they are doing great things all over the world.”
The presentation will be at 2 p.m. Sunday in the McCaleb Conference Center in the Hunter Welcome Center.