In Monday’s Opening Chapel, students, faculty, alumni, family, and guests from around the world gathered to inaugurate Abilene Christian’s 107thÂ session.
Throughout the ceremonies, the diversity and exceptionalism of all attending students, faculty, alum, family, and guests were frequently referenced by the speakers.Â This semester’s new students were particularly emphasized.
“This morning, there are more than 1,250 new Wildcats among us, and more than 1,060 of them are new undergraduates,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university. “We are extraordinarily proud of this group of freshmen, who compose one of the most academically prepared cohorts in our 107 year history, with a record number of students who graduated top 25% of their high school classes, and have an increased average overall GPA. The ethnic diversity of this class is over 30%, an all-time high for ACU.”
Also recognized were Billy Curl and Larry Bonner, who were the first full time African-American students to enroll in Abilene Christian.Â Last year ACU began to commemorate the historic event of their enrollment.
“Other opportunities for reflection and celebration are planned as we mark this 50thÂ anniversary of their arrival on the campus,” said Vice President Dr. Gary McCaleb. “Today, we celebrate a 50thÂ anniversary. And we celebrate all the students that have followed.”
Schubert called their presence an honor, mentioning that the courage they had to blaze a path for racial equality at ACU made the current ethnic diversity possible.
Dan Branch, a Texas State Representative, spent some time reflecting on ACU’s athletic program.
“When I look around this coliseum, and I look at all the banners that represent the great heritage that this school has, I’m reminded of your excellence in not only character education but in athletics and academic education,” said Branch. “To me this is the reason that Texas Monthly at the end of the last millennium said that the greatest sports dynasty in Texas is ACU track.”
Branch went on to state his belief that ACU will find success in Division I, congratulated the university at that accomplishment, and also mentioned the two new Olympians on campus, Reyare Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago and Elea Mariama Diarra of France.
“See your future, and seize the day,” said Branch. “Go Wildcats!”