On the first day of classes of Abilene Christian University’s 110th year, perhaps its most well-known graduate called more than 4,400 students to the kind of discipleship to which he also aspires.
“God wants you to be a disciple of Jesus Christ,” said Kent Brantly, M.D., (’03) during ACU’s annual Opening Assembly in Moody Coliseum. The family physician told students in the standing-room-only crowd that God’s calling on their lives is much bigger than career or occupation.
“Whatever else you’re studying, whatever else you’re learning, whatever accomplishments you’re pursuing, I urge you: take advantage of this time to learn what it means to be a follower of Jesus because the role of disciple will inform and change and impact every other role you will ever have in your life,” he said.
Brantly, medical missions advisor for Samaritan’s Purse, became the 83rd recipient of an honorary doctorate from ACU, which began the custom in 1938. Previous recipients have included actor Charlton Heston, Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, pro golf legend Byron Nelson, and a host of legislators, business leaders, educators, scientists and other accomplished professionals from all walks of life. Brantly’s degree was an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Kent and his wife, Amber (Carroll ’06), were honored in February 2015 as their alma mater’s Young Alumni of the Year. Earlier, Kent was Time Magazine’s 2014 Person of the Year as one of “The Ebola Fighters” who helped West Africa overcome an epidemic of the deadly disease that nearly took his own life last summer.
Before heading home to Fort Worth, Kent signed copies of his and Amber’s new book, Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us Into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic.