Dr. Phil Schubert was the guest of honor at Saturday night’s Inaugural Dinner, but Schubert was quick to redirect the attention to the entire university.
“It’s certainly not about us,” Schubert, ACU’s 11th president, said. “It’s about the university and all that happens here, and it’s a great reminder of all the people who’ve had wonderful experiences here, who still think about this place everyday and want to do everything they can to make it great.”
Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university, was one of two tribute speakers during the Inaugural Dinner in the Robert D. and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center on Saturday night. Schubert focuses on home and family more than anything else, and he expands that emphasis into the workplace, McCaleb said.
“Phil has taken his deep dedication to family and home and applied it to the university as well,” McCaleb said. “The Baton has been safely passed and is in good hands to begin the next lap in the story of ACU.”
Holt Lunsford, a Board of Trustees member and the second tribute speaker, encouraged the importance of combining vision with plans.
Dr. Royce Money, university chancellor and 10th president of ACU, said the inaugural address is an important time for Schubert to state his visions and plans.
“Inaugural events are always landmark occasions because in an inaugural address, Dr. Schubert has the opportunity to map out strategies and cast his vision,” Money said.
People outside of the ACU community also noticed Schubert’s natural leadership abilities and love for ACU. Dr. Karen Weaver, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, met Schubert while they were completing their doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Penn State and Duke allowed him to see a broader picture of higher education and will assist him in positioning ACU for the 21st century,” Weaver said.
Dr. Kathy Gaval of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia also studied with Weaver and Schubert. She said they became very close during their two years of studies. She described their relationship as an extended family.
Gaval and Weaver traveled from Pennsylvania to support Schubert, and Gaval said his passion for ACU was evident during their time together.
“We believe in Phil,” Gaval said. “We saw a real, heartfelt desire to lead ACU.”
Chris Shim, senior finance major from Atlanta, Ga., and Student’s Association Treasurer also attended the Inaugural Dinner. He said he was excited to see what Schubert would do for the university.
“I think Dr. Schubert is able to usher in a new era to ACU,” Shim said. “I feel like he’s going to take the University to a whole new level.”
Shim also said it was exciting to hear Schubert’s mentors shows such respect and support during the tribute speeches. He said he hopes to reflect what he heard in the night’s speeches in SA.
McCaleb said he attended the last ACU presidential inauguration for Dr. Royce Money. He said Money’s and Schubert’s inaugurations were similar because both men are well-liked, and people have a natural inclination to want everything to go well for the leader and the university.
“It’s funny what an inauguration does. It creates a new beginning and I think it re-energizes everyone,” McCaleb said. “I think you can feel the energy in the room tonight. Nobody is leaving.”