In the fall of 1912, ACU student Arthur Slater of Clyde established and distributed the first edition of the Optimist to Childers Classical Institute. This year, the Optimist is celebrating its 100th volume.
The Optimist is a constant icon on campus and has been a part of ACU for all but six years of its existence. Dr. Cheryl Bacon, professor and chair of the department of journalism and mass communication, said the consistancy Optimist makes it a rare publication.
“To have a student newspaper that is 100 years old is really very significant,” Bacon said.
Dr. Kenneth Pybus, associate professor of journalism and mass communication and student media adviser, said the Optimist is useful as a publication and a learning tool.
“For all of its life, the Optimist has been a student publication,” Pybus said. “The Optimist has also been a lab where students go to learn about journalism
The publication has and continues to introduce students to the environment and challenges they will face in a career in journalism. Daniel Gomez, senior English major from San Antonio and chief photographer of the Optimist, said the student newspaper has helped him develop skills he could use in the future.
“The Optimist is preparing me for the real world,” Gomez said. “The level of professionalism and proficiency really helps the students for what’s to come.”
Traditions of the Optimist have stood through the years of its existence. Pybus said the Optimist has a history of entering – and winning – competitions.
“As early as the 40’s and 50’s the Optimist was winning state-wide competition,” Pybus said.
Late nights covering big events on campus have always been a tradition for the student workers, Pybus said. A restarted tradition of the Optimist is the April fool’s spoof edition, the Pessimist.
The celebration of the 100th volume will be kicked off at the Gutenberg Dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Hunter Welcome Center.Â The dinner is an annual event used to honor alumni and this year it will be the first of many venues of celebrating accomplishments of the Optimist.
“We are trying to connect with as many former staff members as we can,” Pybus said.