The Faulkner Meditation Garden was constructed between the Hunter Welcome Center and the fountain lake earlier this month to honor Dr. Paul and Gladys Faulkner.
Paul Faulkner taught on campus full-time for 35 years. He was honored in 1982 as the university’s Teacher of the Year. As a student, he was a javelin thrower and pole vaulter, earning his spot in the ACU Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 for his accomplishments.
Paul and Gladys Faulkner met in high school and dated at Abilene Christian College. After graduating together, they married in July 1952.
Hailey Rotenberry, the Faulkner’s granddaughter and ACU alumna, said her grandparents are people who heavily focus on loving others.
“They just have such a heart for people and such a focus on education, people and loving each other,” Rotenberry said. “He was a professor in the Bible department, so his heart was for students to really know Jesus and live that out.”
In 2016, after being married for 64 years, Gladys Faulkner passed away at the age of 86 at her ranch home near Austin. Before passing away, Gladys earned her master’s degree in education in 1976. She went on to teach at Abilene’s Headstart program for many years.
Rottenberry said she feels like the garden will be a great place for students to be on campus.
“With all the things that have been added to campus over the past decade,” Rotenberry said. “I think that this addition is one of those that will hopefully be on the list for students to be able to reflect, to have a place to gather and be a great marker on campus.”
Dr. Royce Money, ACU Chancellor, was also heavily involved in the process of the garden’s construction.
“Dr. Faulkner’s family in general thought it was a great idea to honor his years of service here,” Money said. “It just happened that it coincided with his 90th birthday. I began to ask the family what would be the best way to honor him, and they really liked the idea of doing something down by the lake.”
Money was also offered a job from Dr. Faulkner. He accepted the job and began working in August 1981. Later in 1991, Money would be named the 10th president of ACU.
“I was gone 14 years and then quite suddenly and kind of unexpectedly, Paul Faulkner called me,” Money said. “I was working with a church in Springfield, Missouri and Paul said, ‘I would like to hire you as a professor in the marriage and family institute.’”
Faulkner touched the lives of many students and faculty, and he said he hopes for the university to continue to impact the lives of students.
“I love God for what he’s done for me that I don’t deserve,” Faulkner said. “I hope and pray that as a university we can teach people to make a difference in their lives and souls and not just the brain.”