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News about ACU’s newest, oldest alumnae

Patterson waves to the crowd Monday morning at Opening Assembly.
Willa B Patterson honored at Opening Assembly
One of Abilene Christian University’s newest centenarians was on hand Monday morning at Opening Assembly in Moody Coliseum. ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91) introduced 100-year-old Willa B Patterson to the large crowd, explaining that the 1937 graduate became a teacher, and has spent her life dedicated to the mission and principles of Abilene Christian.
“She remembers working in the president’s office for 50 cents an hour – by the way, Willa B, we pay more than that now – and buying 10-cent sodas after Chapel with Jack Pope (’34), a member of the debate team who went on to become Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court,” Schubert said. “Willa B started giving $1 a month to ACU in 1937. Along the way, she’s helped support new buildings, the library, and scholarships for deserving students. Her total giving is now more than $125,000.”
Accompanied by vice president emeritus Dr. Robert D. Hunter (’52) and her daughter, Betty “Ann” (Patterson ’63) Little, Willa B waved to the audience and received a loud standing ovation. Both of her children graduated from ACU, as did six of her grandchildren – four on the same day in 1992.
Two of her grandchildren work at Abilene Christian: Medical Clinic director Ellen (Little ’92) West, M.D., and Andrew Little, J.D. (’92), assistant professor of business law who was recently named the university’s 2012 Teacher of the Year.
Willie Henry passes away at age 107
ACU’s oldest alumna, Willie “Nonnie” Henry, died Monday, three months short of her 108th birthday. Visitation for the 1923 graduate will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at Galbreaith-Pickard Funeral Chapel (913 N. Elm St., Weatherford, TX 76086) in Weatherford, Texas, with a funeral service at 11 a.m. at the same location. Graveside services are 4 p.m. Saturday at Amity Cemetery near Rising Star, Texas. A second memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday at Skillman Church of Christ in Dallas.
Survivors include a daughter, RuthAnn (Henry ’57) Cubstead; a son, Robert Henry; four grandchildren, Mark Cubstead (’80), Cathy Drennan (’82), Catherine (Henry ’97) Piepenbrink and Aimee (Henry ’90) Short; and four great-grandchildren.
We’d like to know about other centenarians among our former students and alumni. Drop me a line at