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By on September 17, 2018 in Newsmakers with 0 Comments

ACU alumni, faculty, staff and students are regularly featured in local and national media reports. Here is a digest of recent mentions: 

The women’s soccer team made history this week by claiming the Southland Conference championship. On Saturday, the Wildcats will play No. 9 Baylor in Waco at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of NCAA playoffs. Read more. 

Junior Shay Johnson, who was named Tournament MVP, is featured on talking about a month-long mission trip she took to Uganda, working with Hope Speaks, a nonprofit that provides speech therapy for children with disabilities.

Not everyone who needs a lawyer can afford one, and sometimes those stories are the most heart-breaking. Duke Law School professor Charles Holton, J.D., (’70) founded the Civil Justice Clinic to give his students hands-on experience while providing help for those in need. He talks about his life and career in this Q&A. 

Cyrus Eaton, ACU’s new dean of spiritual formation and campus chaplain, speaks in Chapel about how to face difficult seasons of unmet expectations.

Caris Life Sciences chairman and CEO David Halbert (’78), has raised $150 million from one of the nation’s largest investment houses to expand its cancer-fighting genetic sequencing research and development. Read more from the Dallas Morning News.

A new documentary directed by Nathan Driskell (’07), ACU media specialist, explores the diverse Palestinian narrative through the lens of individual Palestinians in Jordan, the West Bank and Israel. “Where is Palestine?” will premiere Nov. 29 at the Paramount Theatre.

The new Barna survey “Christians at Work,” done in partnership with ACU, is featured in The Christian Post and The Abilene Reporter-News.

ACU’s disc golf team has qualified for the 2019 National Collegiate Disc Golf Championship finals to be played April 3-6 in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Barry Perryman (’79) has been selected by The Bureau of Land Management for a position on its nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board.

Sybil Johnson (’96) is a 2018 Voice Arts Awards nominee for Best Voiceover, Audiobook Narration, Short Story Anthology. The global competition celebrates some of the world’s most brilliant media, where the voice is a key creative element. Winners will be announced Nov. 18 during a gala at Warner Bros. Studio.

First Financial Trust & Asset Management recently announced the election of Mark Rich (’05) as a director of the company. Rich is director of investments for the Kimbell Art Foundation in Fort Worth and was awarded the AICPA Young CPA of the Year Award in 2014.

Biology graduate Kirk Jessup (’97), Texas A&M AgriLife Research senior research associate in Amarillo, has been awarded the Texas A&M Vice Chancellor’s Award of Excellence.

Jeff Giddens (’05), who started his career leading the digital marketing team for Mark Cuban’s television network, has now formed a company called NextAfter to help nonprofits in the digital age. Read more.

Bill (’76) and Janet (Marshall ’74) Montgomery started Just Mercy in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. With 1.5 million people displaced, Bill took his background in construction, mechanics, farming and gardening to the impoverished country. Read more.

Lauren Franco, this year’s editor of The Optimist, didn’t wait until after graduation to turn her dream of a photography business into reality. Read more.

Rosten (’12) and Laura (Beall ’13) Callarman are building their vision for an intentional spiritual community with the Eden Community in Callahan County. Read more.

Listen to Don McLaughlin’s keynote address at ACU Summit 2018, as speaks on “God’s Empowering Protection: Taking Our Stand.”

Three international students, Shekinah Kahongo, Jemimah Wavamunno and Olivier Iryamukuru, were selected to attend the National Student Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.

Occupational therapy student Madison Losher donated her bone marrow to a baby girl after being matched through a drive at ACU in 2015.

Each Sunday, provost Dr. Robert Rhodes and his wife, Elena, cook dinner and host a devotional in their home for a group of students, providing a place for building relationships with each other and God.

Former Philadephia Eagles great Wilbert Montgomery (’77) will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

A new Christmas decorating book, Christmas by Design, by mother-daughter duo Patricia (Hart ’56) McMillan and Dr. Katharine Kaye McMillan (’82) has been released just in time for the holiday season.

The Robison Excelsior Foundation has pledged $3.2 million to ACU’s NEXT Lab, bringing the research funding to more than $4.5 million.

ACU’s Lightwalk has won another award, this time from the W3 Awards in the mobile features experimental and innovation category.

A group of 14 engineering and physics students led by professor Dr. Timothy Kennedy made a big difference to a tiny village in Honduras – and learned some valuable lessons along the way. Learn more.

Campus will be bustling with visitors and activities this weekend for Homecoming. See the complete schedule here and read a feature about how the theatre department is tapping into alumni and student talent for its musical Wonderful Town.

Courtney McGaha (’13) spent nearly 900 hours listening to cassettes and records, and watching VHS and DVDs of Sing Song performances dating back to 1957, all to preserve the history of one of ACU’s favorite traditions. Learn more.

After earning a graduate degree in psychology, Amanda Dalyis spending 13 months with ACU’s Global Apprenticeship Program (GAP) working with a sex-trafficking organization in Cambodia. Learn more.

Terry Johnson (’02) combines his passion for ministry and social work as executive director of Open School NW in Portland, Oregon – and in the process he’s keeping a promise he made to himself as a student at ACU. Learn more.

The opening of the Robert R. and Kay Onstead Science Center officially marks the completion of ACU’s Vision in Action initiative, which transformed our campus through enhancements to science and athletics facilities. Take a minute to watch this video, and join us as we celebrate this success and the visionaries who paved the way.

What started as a hobby turned into the opportunity of a lifetime for Jason Fry (’00), a bladesmith who made it to the finals of History Channel’s “Forged in Fire.” He’s featured in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and in this video.

corn maze at Fiddlesticks Farms near Midland, Texas, forms a face that might be familiar to both Wildcats and country music fans.

Recent theatre faculty addition Jake Harbour (’07) received a nomination for Best Sound Design at the Atlanta Suzi Bass Awards for his work on Throw Me On the Burn Pile and Light Me Up! Winners will be announced Nov. 5.

South Carolina State University has named Patrick Moore the new director of bands. He is currently working toward his Doctor of Education degree at ACU.

Wildcat Football: Three Cheers for the Purple and White offers a detailed and colorful history of the Hill’s most popular sport. The book was released this week by ACU Press, just in time for Homecoming.

During Summit last week, best-selling author and Barna Group president David Kinnaman unveiled innovative research done in partnership with ACU that focuses on “Christians at Work.” Learn more about the thought-provoking findings and where to get a copy of the book. Kinnaman is well known for his previous books Good FaithYou Lost Me and unchristian.

Chris Field (’06) has set four Guinness World Records – all involving people he got to join him – run 22 marathons, made almost 40 trips to Ghana to check on a ministry he started there, teaches a class at Texas A&M University, is a husband and father to four children, and oh, by the way has a new book, published by ACU Press. Read more

Jami Amerine (’96) saw her blog readership jump from an average of 69 views per month to 690,000 in a single month. And it all happened thanks to one entry titled “An Open Letter to My Children: You’re Not That Great” that went viral. Today, Jami has 1.5 million faithful fans, a published book and two others under contract. Read more

Eean Cochran (’15) took five years to graduate from Abilene Christian – and for good reason. He was getting an incredible head start on his musical theatre career. Enjoy this Q&A with Eean, who took a break from his “Hamilton” tour last week to perform at an ACU theatre fundraiser.

Craig Fisher (’92), assistant vice president for alumni and university relations, writes about a change to Homecoming reunions that will put attendees at the center of a true “coming home” experience.

Listen to Dr. Jerry Taylor, new director of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action, as he commemorates the man who used his pulpit to fight against division in the church.

Bobby Griffin (’90), CBRE’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, has been named to the 2018 Black Enterprise magazine list of Top Executives in Corporate Diversity. CBRE Group, a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.

Brad Gautney (’91), founder and president of Global Health Innovations, will receive the United Nations 2018 World Citizen Award (Greater Kansas City Chapter) for his work on HIV/AIDS projects in Haiti and southern Africa. He will be honored at a dinner Oct. 22.

Dr. Tim Jackson (’86) assumed the presidency of the International Association for Food Protection at the conclusion of IAFP 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A luncheon marking the opening of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action featured special guests, including Spain’s daughter, Claudette (Spain ’67) Rogers and her son, Gavin Rogers; former ACU trustee Dr. Billy Curl (’66); and Sam Gonzalez (’93), minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. Read more from the Abilene Reporter-News.

Dr. Joe Shirley (’73), recipient of ACU’s Distinguished Alumni Citation in 2007, is one two finalists for the Navajo Nation presidency, an office he has held several times since 2003. Read about Shirley’s visit to campus in 2013.

What makes short-term mission work successful? The Christian Chronicle surveyed 75 trip coordinators and church leaders, including Deanna Tuttle (’16), coordinator of Global Service Trips for ACU’s Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service, who offered these 11 tips.

Six ACU students are living in Orlando, Florida, all semester as interns at Disney World., a company known for making dreams come true.

Living learning communities, also known as LLCs, were created this year for first generation freshmen to live together in Nelson and Mckinzie halls, where they have access to academic and emotional support. Read more from The Optimist.

The July/August issue of Abilene Scene magazine features Dr. Stephen Baldridge, associate professor of social work, on the cover of its “style issue,” along with a feature story about “A Day in the Life of Mayor Anthony Williams.” Williams is executive community relations officer for ACU’s Office of Advancement.

April Napier, new director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, talks to The Optimist about the challenges and opportunities she foresees in her new role: “I am excited for our community to see exactly how much light we really have on this campus if we would just turn the lights on.”

Get your purple on! The next home game is Saturday against University of the Incarnate Word at 6 p.m. with Wildcat Country Tailgating starting at 3 p.m. Keep up with the ACU football schedule here and purchase tickets here.

Water drips from her paintbrush as she strokes it across her unconventional canvas. Since the summer of her freshman year, Mary-Claire Marcear (’19) has used Bible covers to make tangible people’s personal testimonies and passions. Read more

Wildcat football is invading Bear country for the first time, and we are excited! The Abilene Reporter-News offers historical perspective on ACU’s season opener against Baylor. It’s not too late to join us. Click here to purchase tickets directly from Baylor and choose Sections 314-317 to cheer alongside other Wildcat fans.

See why sitting down to a good game of dominos is so important to the mayor of Abilene. Anthony Williams, who also serves as executive community relations officer for ACU’s Office of Advancement, is featured on Texas Country Reporter talking about his philosophy of service and leadership.

A new – and excited – class of Wildcats moved into dorms last week. Hear from freshmen and their parents about what they think this new chapter in their lives will hold.

Watch the pomp and circumstance of ACU’s 113th Opening Assembly, including the Parade of Flags and a talk by Mitch Wilburn (’90), university trustee and preaching minister at Park Plaza Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

With Wildcat Stadium’s second season about to begin, the cover story of ACU Today’s new Spring-Summer 2018 issue offers a retrospective of the inaugural year of a game-changing athletics venue for ACU. Look for the expanded 96-page print edition in your mailbox soon, and enjoy the online edition here.

ACU’s NEXT Lab has been awarded $150,000 from the Department of Energy to partner with Idaho National Lab and several prestigious universities including MIT, Georgia Tech and Yale, on a new research reactor. To date, more than $4.3 million in funding has been awarded to the NEXT Lab.

Birds are flocking to campus but they may not be the type you would expect. ACU’s Student Government Association is responsible for bringing Bird scooters to Abilene, giving students a new way to navigate the city. Here are reports from KXVA-TV and KTAB-TV.

See how Brad Gautney (’91), founder of Global Health Innovations, is making a difference for mothers and babies in third-world countries in this feature from Dallas Doing Good.

Chickasaw language expert and artist Joshua Hinson (’01)was invited to demonstrate carving of duck decoys at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in NYC this summer.

Three-time Olympian Delloreen Ennis (’99) is motivating children to reach their full potential not only as athletes but as good citizens as she works with after-school programs in Orange County, California.

Joel Wells (’06) had two wishes growing up – he wanted to play professional baseball and attend Tulane University School of Medicine. Read about the choice he made and where it has led him.

Dr. Scott McDowell has been named vice president for student life at ACU, Dodd Roberts (’86) has been named new director for the Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service, and Bradley Benham (’05) is the new president for The ACU Foundation.

For 11 consecutive years, ACU has been named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Allen Ward, who led the athletics program at Murray State University the past 13 years, has been hired as the ninth director of athletics at ACU.

ACU said goodbye this summer to legendary football coach and athletics director Wally Bullington (’53), who died July 20 at age 87. Listen to his rendition of “This is ACU Football,” a recording that has kicked off every radio broadcast of Wildcat games since 2013.

The best part of the start of the NCAA Volleyball season isn’t the anticipation, or the lineup drama or the intrasquad scrimmages – it’s scholarship surprises. Watch a special moment for ACU’s Sofia Resendiz, featured on

Mackenzie Sanderson and Lindsie Lawson will barely have time to celebrate graduation May 12 before it’s time to start packing for the exciting next adventures in their lives. The two seniors made history when both received Fulbright Scholar Awards, the first time for two ACU students to receive the honor in the same year. Read more

Renique Rodriguez only had 30 minutes to prepare a devotional. She was the youngest person on her mission team, she spoke little Spanish, and the devotional was for men at a drug and alcohol rehab center in Honduras. Read more

Raising oneself up from extreme poverty is a major challenge for anyone to conquer, but it was Jeff Willie’s (’97)revelation at age 19 that would forever change his life. Jeff was chosen for the Very Inspiring Parent award by Good Life Family magazine. Read more

Leadership Summit celebrated its 20th year in the mountains of Frontier Ranch, Colorado, with speakers from all over the United States sharing with students their experiences on leadership and faith. Watch inspiring talks by Dr. Rick LytleRick Atchley (’78)April (Bullock ’89) Anthony and other special guests.

Watch a sweet and funny interview with Marlee Ruth, the curly red-headed 6-year-old who’s the first 2018 Mutton Bustin’ champ of the Houston Rodeo. She’s the daughter of Nathalie (Baugh ’98) McDonald, she’s a cancer survivor – and she wants to be a spy.

Potholes, mosquitos and kidnappers haven’t stopped Dr. Bob (’87) and Annette (Lumbleau ’87) Whittaker from serving God in a spiritual and medical ministry. Here’s a Christian Chronicle feature about their efforts to heal Africa.

Cheryl Bell (’16) was cast in a featured role in the NBC pilot Rise. From the producers of Hamilton, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, Rise is a high school drama inspired by a true story.

Students of all ages showed off their creations at ACU Maker Fest, including robots, a T-shirt cannon, bicycle-powered spin art and a toy car modified for children with cerebral palsy. Watch the KTAB-TV report.

While pushing her way through “senioritis” at Denton Calvary Academy, Hannah McCain is also going through the process to get a brand-new set of teeth. Hannah, who will be an ACU freshman this fall, has a rare form of dwarfism that resulted in a weak dental structure.

Aaron Watson (’00) shares his country music journey with Wranger Network’s Jennifer Smith during this month’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

Fred J. Allen (’76), director of bands at Stephen F. Austin University, will retire at the end of the spring semester after 24 years of holding the position.

chris field bookIn his new book Disrupting for Good, Chris Field (’06) shares powerful stories about people who are taking on challenges around them and reshaping lives.

“We Will Not Be Tamed,” a new campaign from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, embraces the wild spirit of the Lone Star State and features Leon McNeil (’93). McNeil left behind a rough childhood in San Antonio and came to ACU, where friends introduced him to the world of hunting and fishing. Today, he and his wife run City Kids Adventures, a San Antonio nonprofit that introduces urban kids to outdoor experiences. Read more

ACU’s 10th annual Undergraduate Research Festival featured some of the best student research of the school year. Senior Virginia Pettit is interviewed about her project by the Abilene Reporter-News.

ACU’s LightWalk project has been selected as a finalist for IDC’s 2018 Smart City North America Awards in the education category. You can cast your vote through April 4 by clicking here.

Ervin D. Seamster Jr. has been named president of  Southwestern Christian College. He is a former special assistant to Dr. Royce Money, then president of ACU. Read more from The Christian Chronicle.

Jasmin Richardson (’09) is making her Broadway debut this summer in the ensemble of Gettin’ the Band Back Together, a new musical comedy starring Marilu Henner.

Lara (Seibert ’06) Young has been selected for the cast of the new musical adaptation of the 1973 film The Sting, which will star Harry Connick Jr.

Obstacles such as being one of the smallest players in the NFL have never quelled former Wildcat Taylor Gabriel (’15), now with the Chicago Bears. Read a feature from Windy City Gridiron.

Beth (Balfour ’80) Reeves has been hired as chaplain for the Abilene Police Department. She previously served as the congregational care minister at Highland Church of Christ.

Texas Monthly features an exclusive song premiere from “Dancehall Dreamin’: A Tribute to Pat Green,” sung by Green’s friend Aaron Watson (’00).

A study conducted by ACU social work students found two-thirds of the homeless in Abilene are school-age children. City officials will use their assessment to address the needs of Abilene’s homeless population. Read more from the Abilene Reporter-News.

Listen to Mark Lemley (’00) tell a powerful story to journalist Blake Farmer (’05)about how a near-death experience altered his outlook on life. His story was featured on Nashville Public Radio’s Versify.

Dr. Barry Packer (’78) turned over leadership of the Board of Trustees last month. He and his father, Dr. H. Lynn Packer (’50), have the distinction of being the first father-and-son duo to serve their alma mater in the same leadership role.

Brantley D. Starr (’01), deputy first assistant attorney general for the state of Texas, is interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education for a story about lawmakers weighing the limits of free speech on campus.

Denise (Allen ’02) Hamilton, founder of WatchHerWork, is featured in Houstonia Magazine in a story about “10 Houston Women Making it Happen.”

Jason Barnard (’96), owner of NELA Mediation, who earned his master’s in conflict resolution from ACU, talks about his faith and career in this Q&A with the Monroe, Louisiana, News Star.

Wendy (Mitchell ’95) Weeks, director of choirs for Abilene High School, has been named recipient of the 2018 Grover C. Morlan Medal, presented each year to an ACU graduate for his or her contributions to the field of education. She will be honored March 22 at the Morlan Medal Dinner in the Hunter Welcome Center.

Nathan Gibbs (’00), assistant professor of journalism and mass communication, is interviewed by KRBC-TV about how millennials are taking advantage of social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook as jumping off points for business endeavors.

David Ramsey (’81) has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors for column writing for the second straight year.  He’s placed 12 times in the national APSE contest, including two first-place finishes, and has covered Olympics in Athens, Beijing, London, Sochi and Rio for the Colorado Springs Gazette.

This year’s Sing Song was a big finale for Tom Craig (’89),who’s stepping down after leading the event for the past 12 years. Read a story by Scott Kirk (’78) in the Abilene Reporter-NewsIt was great to see alumni all over the world join in as we streamed the winners live on Facebook. The livestream has over 10,000 views and counting.

Darbie Angell, founder and CEO of Cru Dinnerware, tells KVUE-TV in Austin the story of how her passion and persistence led to following a dream that now impacts women around the world.

Brandon Sheets (’00) appears in the Verizon commercial campaign #AllOurThanks for his heroic response as a helicopter pilot, when he courageously led a first response team several years ago to rescue an injured teenager in Washington state.

Psychology professor Dr. Robert McKelvain  (’71) discusses the effect of social media on interactions at work and school and offers some advice in this KRBC-TV report.

Dr. Monty Lynn, professor of management, was honored with the Christian Business Faculty Association’s Teaching Award, which recognizes faculty members who emulate the character, engagement and calling of Christ to the work and ministry of transformational education.

Renowned cardiologist John J. Warner, M.D. (’87) has been appointed to lead UT Southwestern’s patient care enterprise. He will oversee the medical group practice that delivers care to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients, 600,000 emergency room patients and 2.2 million outpatients a year.

Jackson Griggs, M.D. (’99), associate program director of the Waco Family Medicine Residency Program, is featured in a story in Baylor Magazine titled Prescription for Compassion.

Nathaniel Nelson, a member of ACU’s 2002 national championship track and field team, is becoming known throughout the state for his tasty barbecue. He’s featured in Texas Monthly.

Randy Pittenger (’80), Belton school board president and Area 4 trustee, received the Beltonian of the Year award from the Belton Chamber of Commerce. Read more

ACU unveiled a slate of new scholarships available to students interested in studying abroad, designed to boost student participation in experiential learning opportunities.

A new book by Tim Archer (’84), Church Inside Out, is reviewed in the Christian Chronicle. Archer is bilingual minister for University Church of Christ in Abilene and coordinator of Spanish-speaking ministries for Herald of Truth.

Nathan Driskell (’07), media specialist at ACU’s AT&T Learning Studio, is working with two other Abilenians on a documentary titled “Where Is Palestine?” which tells the story of Palestinians through their own voices. The trio visited the Middle East last summer for eight days.

ACU’s chapter of Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization was named 2017 Global Chapter of the Year for the third year.

Mark Love (’91) noticed his children were spending too much time on their smartphones. So he created the Be Present Box: a wooden box to restrict technology during certain hours. See him featured on CBS This Morning.

ACU theatre alumnus Eean Cochran (‘15) has been cast in the ensemble of the new Hamilton national tour. Read more in Playbill. While at ACU, Cochran was a tour guide for prospective students.

ACU alumni and students have been key players in the 40-year history of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Abilene. See coverage in the Reporter-News that includes Mark Rogers (’03), Janet (Cox ’75) Ardoyno, Charles Allred (’84), Tim Yandell (’85) and pre-med student John Placide (’19).

The Leipzig Glocal, an English-language webzine in Leipzig, Germany, covered the opening of ACU’s new Study Abroad location. See the story.

Aaron Watson (’00) received an enthusiastic hometown welcome over the weekend, packing the Taylor County Coliseum with more than 4,000 fans, friends and family. Read more from the Abilene Reporter-News and The Country Note.

Diversity Matters, a new book from ACU Press about race, ethnicity and diversity at Christian colleges and universities, was featured recently in Inside Higher Ed. Here’s an Abilene Reporter-News interview with ACU’s Dr. Jennifer (Wade ’92) Shewmaker, who wrote one of the chapters.

Encompass Home Health & Hospice is listed on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for 2017 and was just named No. 1 large company among the Top 100 Workplaces in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Our people have a heart for serving,” April (Bullock ’89) Anthony, Encompass CEO and incoming chair of ACU’s Board of Trustees, told the Dallas Morning News.

Two alumni families are working to keep their sons’ memories alive after losing them to different forms of cancer. Learn about the Fleming and Wade families in this KTAB-TV report.

Ellie Hamby got involved with missions in Zambia along with her late husband, former education professor Kelly Hamby, nearly four decades ago. Now age 76, her passion for Zambia is still going strong. Read a feature in the Reporter-News.

An Abilene nonprofit was awarded $25,000 from a national group thanks to two students from ACU’s Strategic Philanthropy course, who brought skills they learned to a philanthropy conference in Dallas. Read more about Anna Casey and Rees Heizelman.

Frater Sodalis, founded in the midst of WWII, has seen a lot of history over its 75 continuous years on campus. Dr. Bob Hunter (’52), Larry “Satch” Sanders (’76) and other former members are interviewed by the Reporter-News.

See why former Wildcat Charcandrick West (’16) will be wearing these cleats during Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Faculty member Dennis Cavitt (’87) has been appointed to the board of the Council for Exceptional Children, a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children with exceptionalities.

Denise Naude, born prematurely in South Africa, overcame numerous obstacles to graduate last month, and her drive and passion have put her well on the path to becoming a physician. Read about her in the Reporter-News.

Nigerian athlete Simidele Adeagbo is set to make Olympic history. If she does, it will be wearing shoes designed by ACU alumnus Tobie Hatfield (’87), who just happens to be senior director of athlete innovation at Nike. Learn more about Hatfield in this ACU Today feature.

Haley (Conaway ’14) Stromberg and her husband, Zach (’14), made their dream of radical hospitality a reality by moving into a homeless shelter and living among the residents. Read about them in the Abilene Reporter-News.

ACU has been accredited as a Level I Arboretum by ArbNet for the beautifully landscaped campus that features more than 2,500 trees as well as shrubs and flowers.

Charlie McCormick, Ph.D., (’91) was inaugurated the sixth president of Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, on Oct. 20.

The Texas Bankers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Texas Bankers Association, honored Tom C. Nichols (’69) of Fort Worth with the 50-Year Banker Award.

Doug Orr (’83) of First Cash Financial Services earned several spots on Institutional Investor’s 2018 All-America Executive Team as one of the top chief financial officers for consumer finance in the U.S.

ACU trustee Dr. Billy C. Curl (’64) has been added to the board for The Christian ChronicleHe is an elder of the Crenshaw Church of Christ in Los Angeles, where he retired in 2013 after 40 years as preaching minister.

The new John C. and Ruth Stevens Park, north of Moody Coliseum, honors the legacy of the former university president and first lady.

Actress Sherry Jo (Hester ’95) Ward has turned her struggles with a rare neuromuscular disease into a comedy, “Stiff” in which she stars. Read more in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She was on campus recently as a member of the Department of Theatre Visiting Committee.

Learning about engineering and physics means using science, math, economics, social and practical knowledge to solve real-world problems. For ACU students, it also means using their knowledge to make learning fun for local schoolchildren. Learn more

Amidst tragedy ACU grad Seth Bouchelle (’13) seeks to share God’s love with immigrants in New York City — many of them Muslim. Too often, America’s media and its people buy into the narrative the attackers want — that it’s them against us. “In reality,” Bouchelle says, “our Muslim neighbors are as much a part of our city as we are.” Read more from the Christian Chronicle.

Caris Foundation International, founded by ACU alumni Kathy(Gay ’78) and David D. Halbert (’78), is partnering with the U.S. government to provide healthcare for up to 4.2 million impoverished Haitians.

Gulfport, Mississippi, minister Les Ferguson has penned a book on the slaying of his wife and son, and how it led to unexpected healing. Still Wrestling: Faith Renewed Through Brokenness is published by ACU’s Leafwood Press.

Blinn College professor Essie (Charles ’75) Childers was honored with the Carol Dochen Professor of the Year in Developmental Education Award at the 2017 College Academic Support Programs Conference. Her husband, Dr. Terry Childers (’74), is a former ACU trustee.

For Bible professor Dr. Houston Heflin (’95) and his wife, Karen (Cherry ’98), Thanksgiving dinner is a multicultural gathering with refugees newly arrived to Abilene and international students from ACU. Enjoy a feature in Abilene Scene about how the Heflins and other Abilenians put a twist on a traditional family holiday.

African Christian College turns 50At 50, African Christian College strives for self-sustainability — in its students and its campus. This Christian Chronicle feature tells how people in the ACU community – from Ira Hill (’56) to Brad Carter (’01) to Thayer Salisbury (’83) – have played roles over the years in helping the college survive and thrive.

Greens backyard gathering ARNWeekly gatherings hosted by alumni Art (’81) and Susan (Roberts ’70) Green have a distinctly international flavor. On a recent Friday, 109 people from 24 countries – many of them students – gathered in the Greens’ backyard. Read more from the Abilene Reporter-News.

Gen. Paul SelvaThis story on CBS’ 60 Minutes includes an interview with Gen. Paul Selva (’84), vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who oversees the U.S. military’s program on autonomy – an amazing futuristic use of artificial intelligence technology. Selva earned a master of science degree from ACU while stationed at Dyess Air Force Base.

Landa Dowdy (’17) met the man whose life she saved as a bone marrow donor at a special Chapel last week. Here’s the FOX15 report.

Ally BeansAlly (Bonneau ’14) Beans was nominated by the Casting Society of America for a 2018 Artios Award in the category of “New York Theatre – Best Comedy or Musical.”

Bob Hunter gets ICUT awardThe Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT) has renamed its highest award in honor of Dr. Robert D. “Bob” Hunter (’52)ACU’s vice president emeritus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Lauren Day (’07) of Austin to the Texas Crime Stoppers Council. She is founder and president of GoodBuzz Solutions, a marketing consulting firm.

Jami AmerineJami Amerine (’96), popular blogger and author of the newly published Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior, is featured on the Fox News website with her post “Dear Big Bad World, You Can’t Have This Halloween.”

Dr. Doug Mendenhall (’82), assistant professor of journalism and mass communication, was a finalist in the 2017 RNA Awards for Religion Reporting Excellence.

Kristina CamposDr. Kristina (Campos ’99) Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Sociology, was chosen as a specialist in diversity issues at the national Junior League convention in October. She’s the first Hispanic president of the Junior League of Abilene.

Dr. Kent Brantly (’03), who was Time magazine’s 2014 Person of the Year, added another accolade Oct. 12 when he was awarded Indiana University’s highest alumni honor.

Sherry RankinSherry Rankin, assistant professor of language and literature, won the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger  competition for unpublished writers, with her mystery Strange Fire.

Darren Hagood“We want to show young people that look like us that you can do it.” A team of African-American Christians that included ACU students and recent graduates helped inspire youngsters in Swaziland. Enjoy this Christian Chronicle feature.

Norm Archibald (’76), who was the longest-tenured mayor in the city’s history, says being named Abilene’s 2017 Outstanding Citizen of the Year is a highlight of his life.

Charcandrick WestWill Charcandrick West (’16) be nominated as Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year? This writer for the Kansas City Star says West’s actions on and off the field make him worthy of the honor.

Katelyn Goodman in the ARNA pop-up Christmas card by art and design graduate Katelyn Goodman (’17) is featured in this year’s Museum of Modern Art gift catalog. She designed the card in a class taught by Dan McGregor (’97). Read a feature in the Abilene Reporter-News. 

Dr. Anton Vrame, a lifetime leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, was special guest for a Charis conversation sponsored by the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry and moderated by Dr. Douglas Foster of the ACU Graduate School of Theology.

Larry's Better Burger ARNWho remembers the quintessential ACU experience of eating a Larry’s Better Burger? Read this fun story about Larry and his son, who is taking over the business.

Research co-authored by Funmilayo Adebesin (’11) has been published in the prestigious journal Science.

Reviving Old ScratchDr. Richard Beck’s (’90) book Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted won the 2017 Academy of Parish Clergy’s Book of the Year.

Adam Dorrel NCAA.comLegendary Division II coach Adam Dorrel tells he’s ready for the challenges of leading Abilene Christian Wildcats on their journey into the FCS.

Tyler (King ’05) Hinton, an interior design graduate, was named K-12 Art Educator of the Year for the state of Nebraska.

Speaking out of his own tragedy, Brandon Holt Sr. is gaining national recognition as he educates churches and leaders on the realities of substance use disorders. Holt is pursuing a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Astronomers have made a new detection of gravitational waves and for the first time have been able to trace the shape of ripples sent through spacetime when black holes collide. Read how ACU played a part in this groundbreaking discovery

Award-winning children’s author Penny (Parker ’77) Klostermann isn’t waiting around to begin living happily ever after. That fairy tale phase of her life began the minute her debut picture book was accepted by Random House Books for Young Readers. Learn more

WFAA-TV in Dallas tells a touching story about Forerunner Zach Garza on WFAAMentoring, a nonprofit founded by Zach Garza (’04) and dedicated to providing support to young men growing up without an involved father. Learn more

Dr. Shaun Casey (’79) will become the new director of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Learn more

Tracey (Alcorn ’93) Ferguson was recently named editor in chief of both Ebony and Jet, overseeing the magazines’ online and print publications. Learn more

Midland Christian School superintendent Eddie Lee was presented with an honorary doctorate from ACU during a ceremony Monday in Midland. Learn more

Nil Santana (’00), director of the ACU Maker Lab, was accepted to the Adobe Education Leader Program, which includes top creative educators from around the world. Learn more


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