Dr. MaLesa Breeding will retire after 21 years at the university.
Breeding, executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, will leave ACU to work in the Metroplex in speech pathology.
“I’m going back into speech pathology and I’ll be working with a geriatric population,” she said. “Working in direct patient care with people who have had strokes, people who have Parkinson’s disorder, Alzheimer’s. I’m going back to doing the thing that I was doing when I first started my career, which was speech language pathology.”
Breeding’s last day is Oct. 31.
“I think for all of us there are seasons,” she said. “There are times when we look around and we ask, ‘What have I accomplished? Have I done what I came to do and where is the Lord leading me now?’ I began asking those questions a little while back, and I do think I accomplished my goals here. I think I’ve made good contributions, and without a doubt ACU has made extraordinary contributions to my life. Every breath I take in and give out has ACU in it.”
During her time at ACU, Breeding has accomplished many goals. She has taught in the Department of Special Education and the Department of Communication Disorders. She helped begin the master’s program in speech and language pathology and was the graduate coordinator for four years before she became the department chair.
When the university added the College of Education and Human Services, she was appointed as the inaugural dean. After six years in that position, she moved into her current role as the executive director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning.
Breeding also helped create a new school of social work, a program in higher education, an online program for a master’s degree in education and a completely revised curriculum for the teacher education program.
“It was pretty extraordinary to do that much stuff in a few years,” Breeding said. “And when I say those were my accomplishments, I really mean those were our accomplishments. I worked with people who were willing to do whatever it took to get jobs done and they have been wonderful.”
Dr. Royce Money, chancellor and president emeritus, has worked with Breeding since she began working at the university.
“Dr. Breeding has had a tremendous impact on ACU through the years,” Money said. “The College of Education and Human Services owes a huge debt to her for making it the fine entity it is today. The ability to see the big picture, while paying attention to the personal touch and to people’s needs around her, is a precious gift she will leave in her legacy at ACU.”
Dana Pemberton, department chair and professor, and John Weaver, dean of library services and educational technology, believe Breeding’s most significant contribution was the development of the new College of Education and Human Services.
“Lesa was a visionary leader, but more than that, she was my friend,” Pemberton said. “She leaves her mark on this university in so many ways. I will miss her greatly.”
Breeding feels ACU has become home for her over the last 20 years.
“It’s not just home,” Breeding said. “It’s a part of my identity to the extent that there will be a homesickness. I will miss the people I work with on a day-to-day basis. So leaving is not an easy thing to do but I think that when we ask the question ‘Have I accomplished my goals?’ and the answer is yes, then it’s time to ask what is next.”
Breeding said her favorite memory about ACU will always be seeing her students walk across the stage at graduation.
“Of all the things I’ve done at ACU, the thing that gives me the most joy is sitting at graduation, watching students walk across the stage and hearing their families cheer for them,” Breeding said. “I’ve done a lot of things, but I know that my students have been my greatest accomplishment.”