Published in People and Programs of the Past Decade, 1981-91, a review of the Teague administration accomplished at the end of his presidency in 1991
A mighty force of students has graduated from Abilene Christian University during the past decade. They are serving all over the world – many in leadership responsibilities. This is a remarkable reinforcement of the purpose of ACU and a challenge for its continuing mission.
As we began our work in 1981, Peggy and I had a dream of increased excellence for the university – a trend that was already well underway because of the perception, energy, and dedication of John Stevens and Don Morris.
We found people eager to endorse the concept of building a university that would serve our constituency. We found that teachers were more readily available than we had anticipated and that alumni and friends were more capable of making donations than we had ever imagined. We found a faculty with commitment and concern for each student. All of these have worked together to do more and more every year for the young people who will have the responsibility of leadership in the years to follow.
The programs of the past decade would have been impossible without the full partnership of my wife, Peggy, and the other members of our family. I have been rewarded with the unfailing support of an executive and professional staff and a faculty that have been unequalled in the history of Christian education.
The work done by Ron Hadfield, Clark Potts, Gordon Trice and others in developing this chronicle of some key things that occurred “on my watch” – to use a term I learned while serving in the U.S. Navy – is deeply appreciated.
At this “change of watch” the future is bright and Peggy and I are blessed to be part of ACU as we review the accomplishments of the past, the blessings of the present, and the challenges of the future.
May God continue to bless this university.
Signed, William J. Teague
The decade just past has been a time of planting, cultivation and harvest. Some of the reaping of the past 10 years was from seed carefully and lovingly sown by others in previous days. Like those who have gone before, many in this decade have shared both in the planting and the cultivation – the bounty of which will yield for years to come.
Midway in the decade of the ’80s, the university adopted the motto: “Caring, Serving, Excelling: The ACU Difference.” It is a fitting descriptor of ACU for many years, perhaps even from its beginning Sept. 11, 1906.
The future is full of challenge and hope, especially in view of the significant assets available – faculty, facilities, heritage, trustee vision, and a growing thirst for quality among members of the university’s primary constituency.
One of the milestones marking ACU’s growth from a college to a university was the implementation of departmental alignment into colleges within the university structure. The restructuring had just begun when Dr. Teague became president of the university in 1981. Only slight modifications in departmental alignments have been made through the years.
One of the major modifications was the forming of the College of Biblical Studies (1984) to add prominence to the departments in that college. This, and the construction of the Biblical Studies Building, have contributed to the nearly doubling of Bible majors (266 in 1981-82 to 491 in the spring of 1991). Additional contributing factors might also have been the establishment of the Center for Restoration Studies (1984), the Walling Chair of New Testament Literature and Language (1987), and the Art Carmichael Chair of New Testament (1990).
The Doctor of Ministry degree was initiated in July 1987 with 15 students. Ten of the first group graduated in 1990. The program is marked by a superior level of instruction, healthy collaboration between faculty and ministries in the pursuit of excellence, and a deeply supportive bonding among ministers.
Also contributing toward a growing interest in Biblical studies, a conscious effort has been directed toward employing Bible faculty who preach well while demonstrating scholarship. Likewise, the quality of the graduate students has been upgraded.
The Board of Visitors program was begun in January 1983, and has impacted all quarters of the campus. The concept was introduced at ACU by Dr. Ira Hill, a member of the ACU National Board of Trustees, who was familiar with a similar program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Each academic department has a cadre of skilled professionals from throughout the nation who regularly assess and counsel the department.
An important collateral benefit of the Board has been the reassurance of the individual quality it has given our faculty members.Too, the program has helped to identify and recruit several of our finest teachers who have left other and more well-known universities to serve here as a result of their contact with the ACU faculty.
The Board of Visitors, commonly referred to as Visiting Committees, have pinpointed crucial needs in each area, most often focusing on library holdings and materials for the serious student. In response, a conscious upgrading of the library has increased holdings from 544,878 items in 1981 to 1,139,345 in 1991, an improvement of almost 210 percent.
For ACU’s Margaret and Herman Brown Library the ’80s was an entrance into the computer era – a major move changing the concept of traditional libraries.
No longer is it necessarily important that a specific book or an entire section of printed materials actually be sitting on a library’s shelves. The book or reference work might be stored in one portion of a microfiche, on a computer disc, or on other compacting methods that greatly multiply storage capacity.
Electronics systems, too, give ready access to other libraries throughout the nation and world. Even on a local level, a consortium was formed between the university libraries in Abilene and the city library – increasing each school’s almost immediate local access by many percentage points.
The library adds to the cultural climate of the campus by showcasing faculty and student talent in noon hour music recitals, one-act plays, and art and photo
Incoming students at colleges and universities are required to take a certain spectrum of courses that are basic or common to all majors – English, history, math and the like. These courses become the Core Curriculum.
Periodically, as changing conditions or situations warrant, the Core Curriculum is reviewed and revised.
ACU’s Core Curriculum was studied twice in the ’80s, first from the standpoint of “outcomes,” defining the university’s goals with and for its graduates. The second study refined the goals and activated the revisions within the Core Curriculum itself. Significant changes were activated in 1990 with additional requirements and modifications to be phased in during coming semesters.
The Honors Program, begun in 1984, provides academic enrichment to undergraduate students in any major. The program offers highly motivated students extra academic stimulation in their coursework, opportunities to work with selected faculty members, and do independent projects in their major field. Program participants are given the academic challenge and professional preparation they want, all in a Christian environment.
Students who achieve a minimum of 30 hours of credit in the Honors Program receive University Honors, an achievement indicated on their transcript and diploma. Similarly, Departmental Honors can be earned with 12 hours of Honors classes. Dr. Chris Willerton of the Department of English is Honors Program director.
The student-teacher ratio, an indicator of individual time and attention teachers have available to spend with their students, continues to average in the 20 to 1 range (20:1 in 1981; 19.5:1 in 1989; and 20.6:1 in 1990).
Instructional outreach began to expand in 1988 with the introduction of the Overseas Teaching Program.
The Campuses Abroad Program offers students several opportunities to live and learn in an international environment outside the United States. A “short program” consists of three to six weeks of concentrated student abroad with an ACU professor – a business class in Japan and Hong Kong, a Bible class in Scotland, a Spanish class in Spain, etc. Full semesters of study abroad have been conducted in Toulouse, France, and Regent’s College in London.
The academic program also expanded beyond the ACU campus in 1989 with the introduction of the Three-Two plan in electrical engineering with the University of Texas at Dallas, followed in 1990 with the Three-Four plan in dentistry with the University of Texas at San Antonio. Additional cooperative agreements in engineering are being formulated with the University of Texas at Arlington.
Enhancing the academic spectrum in the mission of the Learning Enhancement Center (established in 1983). Located in the John and Ruth Stevens wing of Brown Library, the center provides ample professional staff and more than 50 peer tutors who have invested approximately 200,000 hours with students, enhancing their college experience. The Center helps two significant groups – (1) the under prepared who otherwise might be “lost” at tremendous cost, and (2) the gifted who seek greater challenge to excellence.
An adjunct program to the LEC is the Alpha Project, an intensive, individualized academic assistance program for 200 students who may be educationally, economically, or culturally deprived or physically handicapped.
The LEC owes much of its success to the ingenuity and dedication of the late Dr. C.L. Kay, vice chancellor, and Dr. Aubrey Green, coupled with a responsible and dedicated staff and highly supportive ACU faculty.
The Pope Fellows Program, honoring Judge Jack Pope, former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, was initiated in 1985 to encourage and inspire young men and women to participate in the American political system. Dr.
Mel Hailey, chairman of the Department of Political Science, leads this program as well as the Taft Institute for Two-Party Government, a summer seminar for public school teachers.
The Voice Institute of West Texas at ACU began in 1986 under the joint oversight of Drs. Jon Ashby of the communication department, Dr. Charles Nelson of the music department, and Dr. Austin King, an Abilene otolaryngologist.
The same year, 1986, the Center for the Study of Aging began under Dr. Rae Adams. Dr. Bruce Davis became the Center’s first full-time director in 1987.
The Center for Adolescent Studies with Dr. David Lewis as director began in 1990.
The Louie Welch Chair of Business Management, established in 1983, became the model for chairs that followed. Other academic chairs are:
- Caruth Chair for Owner-Managed Business, 1983
- Robert S. Bell Chair for Biblical Studies. 1985
- Dean and Thelma Walling Chair for Biblical Studies, 1986
- Burton Coffman Chair of Biblical Research, 1986
- Chair of Psychology and Intercultural Studies, 1989
- The Art Carmichael Chair of New Testament, 1990, is the largest of its kind at the university and the first to be funded at the $1 million level.
Conscious of community enrichment, some members of the music faculty performed at Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center in 1986. KACU-FM went on the air June 2, 1986, followed in 1988 by KUF-TV. The Walling Lecture Series began in October 1987, and through the years the Celebrity Speakers program has been enhanced.
Campus academic functions were enhanced with the establishment of the computing network linkage (1986) and the assimilation of a collegiate dean system. Significant, too, was the improvement in grade point averages for student-athletes in comparison with the student body average GPA.
Abilene Christian student-athletes have won all-America, academic all-America, and NCAA postgraduate scholarships, and gone on to star in professional sports.
ACU teams have been national champions in NCAA Division II in men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Teams have also ranked in the top 20 in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, and golf.
Former ACU student athletes Billy Olson and Tim Bright were members of the U.S. Olympic track and field team. Women’s basketball star Claudia Schleyer,
NCAA Division II career scoring leader, received the Olympia trophy from the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Southland Corp.
The decade of the 1980s saw more strengthening of the ACU athletic program than any previous period. For example, endowments were established for basketball, track, golf and tennis (1984), football (1985) and baseball (1990).
After an absence of 11 seasons, intercollegiate baseball was resumed in the 1991 season on a non-scholarship basis. The return was marked with the construction of a new facility – Crutcher Scott Field.
Special tribute dinners saluted Byron and Louise Nelson (1984) and Nolan Ryan (1990), with revenues benefiting special athletic funds. The Sports Hall of Fame has been recognizing outstanding former ACU athletes since 1986. To date, there have been 34 inductees.
Elmer J. Gray Stadium was refurbished in 1982 with aluminum seating, replacing a wooden-planked stadium. The running track was resurfaced with Rekortan in 1990.
Academically, ACU student-athletes are living up to their name – scoring a better GPA than the average non-athlete student. Increased emphasis began to be placed on academic aspects of student-athletes. A full-time academic advisor has been employed by the athletic department, and peer tutoring has proven an effective tool.
The quality of life on campus helps to shape student attitudes and the enjoyment of the academic experience. Therefore, ACU has improved the quality of dorm supervision as well as its security program and the training of officers.
An increased health services program for students included the installation of a Psychological Counseling Center (1984) coordinated by Dr. Steve Allison, clinical psychologist and director of the Center.
The tradition of daily assembly began with the university in 1906. Its mid- morning schedule was woven between classes, sometimes varying with the days of the week. A major change in the ’80s established the assembly hour at 11 a.m. each day.
The checking of chapel attendance, too, has varied greatly through the years – from assigned seating and student attendance checkers to photographing Moody Coliseum seating sections. With the advent of a campus-wide computer system (1986), the university initiated a magnetic-striped Validine card that permits electronic attendance checking and unassigned seating. Rules governing attendance were modified with stricter enforcement.
Attention was focused, too, on program content and student participation, which has yielded improved attendance, with 85 percent of the student body receiving a
grade of “satisfactory” or better for their chapel attendance. An experience initiated for freshman students was Welcome Week (1984), which immediately precedes the fall semester. The intense week, led by Dr. Gary McCaleb, familiarizes new students with campus layout, procedures, and a general overview and preparation for college life. Its success is due to the 350 upperclassman who lead the 700 to 800 freshman for four heavily scheduled days.
The ’80s saw a focus on summer camps in a variety of topics, appealing to all ages, from grade school students through Elderhostel. Athletic camps are popular with young people, while Camp Kadesh is filled to capacity two or three times each summer and is a spiritual turning point for many of its campers.
The primary focus has been on the endowment, portions of which have been converted to more productive investments, including the sale of the Oldham Country Ranch in 1984 and the sale of several sections of the Edwards Ranch.
These and other activities have seen the endowment grow from $18 million in 1981 to more than $56 million, including the F.O. Masten estate gift of $11 million, which came to ACU during the administration of Dr. John C. Stevens but was officially recorded in 1983.
Increasing the number of options for donors resulted in an increased donor base. This, plus a strengthened relationship with the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, resulted in a fund-raising total of $78,199,284 during the decade of the ’80s.
One of the first campaigns in the ’80s was for the much-needed expansion of the Brown Library. With the support of the Mabee Foundation’s $1 million gift toward the project, the library added 38,703 square feet of floor space.
The Zona Luce Building, long used as an elementary and high school, was assigned to the Department of Agriculture and Environment when Abilene Christian Schools moved to a new facility. Modifications and refurbishing of the Zona Luce building are estimated to cost $600,000.
The most ambitions campaign since the completion of the massive, 20-year Design for Development was the $10-million campaign to build the Mabee Business Administration building. The national campaign, chaired by J. McDonald Williams, received a $2 million challenge gift from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation.
Following on the heels of the successful completion of the Business Administration campaign, a committee headed by Robert R. Onstead and H. Lynn Packer initiated a national campaign seeking a total of $23.75 million on behalf of the College of Biblical Studies including the building, furnishings, and other costs.
Based on the master plan for the campus, the proposed location of this showcase building would become a new “front door” of the campus. To do so, however, the Central Receiving and Maintenance building was relocated to the eastern edge of the expanding campus as proposed on the master campus plan. Additionally, Judge Ely Boulevard is being rerouted to eliminate through traffic on campus as it expands eastward in years ahead. The street rerouting project is to be completed in 1991.
The Biblical Studies Building with its various features instantly became a focal point for the campus – with Beauchamp Amphitheatre now the location for Tuesday night devotional, a tradition that began in the mid-’40s on the Administration Building steps and continued until 1990. The Tower of Light, made possible by a generous gift by Mr. and Mrs. Bob Gowens in Houston, is a visual marker for the campus by day or night. The tower chimes give the campus a distinctive academic character.
Within hours of the building’s dedication, the first wedding was held in the beautiful surroundings of the Chapel on the Hill with its excellent acoustics. Since then, many have been married in the Chapel and their receptions are held in the upper and lower rotunda – always near the World Missions Globe – or in the long Hall of Servants.
The 300-seat Hart Auditorium, provided by Mr. and Mrs. Randy Nicholson (Barbara Hart), is popular as a classroom or meeting place because of its comfort and instructional facilities. The intimate setting of The Quiet Place is equally popular for prayer or meditation. Artists have provided paintings to decorate entry areas and halls, depicting and establishing appropriate scenes or moods.
Part of the College of Biblical Studies program is the Marriage and Family Institute and the curriculum of family therapy. The building’s Marriage and Family study area is a tribute to the deep interest and generosity of James and
Betty Muns of Dallas. The missions program, too, has a major part in the building, from the slowly rotating World Missions Globe dotted with earth- girding dots of light indicating missions points to the world-wide study and outreach by faculty and students.
When friends of ACU acquired the Charles Umlauf sculpture Hope for the Future and presented it to the university, it was appropriately located at the focal point west of the Biblical Studies Building. The sculpture has become the theme for a five-year, $10 million campaign to generate student scholarships.
As the decade ended, the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation again responded to the need to renovate the 45-year-old Foster Science Building, again challenging alumni and friends to match a $2.5 million gift. With a successful campaign, the two-year project was begun in 1990 and will proceed in stages with minimal class interruption.
The Women for ACU was organized in 1969 and produced a cookbook as its first major fundraising project. Its widespread acceptance – along with the second volume, “Tasteful Traditions” – helped to spur national interest in the organization and the university. WACU has been responsible for a long list of campus improvement projects, but its greatest service has been providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships to students. Total WACU gifts amount to $558,939.
Abilene Christian streamlined its operations in 1983 as its Dallas operation became Amber University and in June 1987 as Abilene Christian Schools became an autonomous entity. Technical and internal streamlining has been achieved through the utilization of outside contractors for housekeeping, food service and the copy center.
The university has encouraged a larger role for women within its framework with women now serving on the Board of Trustees and the appointment of the first woman vice president.
Former presidents Don Morris and John C. Stevens worked toward the acquisition of the large block of farmland east of the campus, commonly known as the Miller land. With the 1981-82 acquisition of the property, doors for expansion were opened for the university.
First, a master plan for campus expansion was developed as a result of the friendship of Max Dillard of Houston, who arranged for the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture and Environmental Studies to provide this service in 1985.
Campus expansion was stymied, however, by Judge Ely Boulevard, a major street forming an eastern barrier. After months of study by highway engineers and city planners, approval was granted for the $1 million project currently underway and scheduled for completion late in 1991 or early 1992. The added acreage will permit further development of a new eastern “front door” of the campus.
Other property acquisitions included sites on Campus Court and at the corner of Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard. The university also traded property with the city for location of a large fire station to increase the safety of ACU.
Construction during the ’80s was highlighted with the completion and dedication of the Mabee Business Building (August 1986), the Biblical Studies Building (August 1989) and the Brown Library addition (1984). A new maintenance building was constructed in 1986 to replace the one removed from the center of campus.
Existing facilities refurbished or remodeled include McKinzie Hall, Bell Parlor in Gardner Hall, Sewell Theatre (1985) and various rooms in the Administration Building and the Science Building.
A major renovation project is underway in Edwards Hall. The 36-year-old dormitory is being remodeled to feature private bathrooms for residents.
The ground floor north entrance to Zellner Hall was renovated to include the Welcome Center – an attractive focal point for prospective students and campus visitors. The Center adjoins or is near offices for Student Recruiting and Financial Aid, providing a central and convenient stop for prospective students.
Zellner Hall also houses the campus telephone system, which has been refined and upgraded during the decade.
In an effort to improve “first impressions,” a master plan of campus signage and landscaping was developed and has been partially implemented including the installation of sprinkler systems in the campus mall area, south of Smith-Adams dormitory, and around Mabee and Edwards dormitories. Additional projects include the placing of utility lines underground (begun in 1983), the installation of a traffic signal at 16 th Street and Judge Ely Boulevard, the construction and lighting of an intramural field north of Edwards Hall. The concrete mall area was constructed for Morris dormitory.
Economy and efficiency of operation dictated the installation of a campus-wide energy management system.
Other Notable Achievements
Numerous “firsts” have their roots in the decade of the ’80s, such as the presentation of the first honorary doctorate to a woman (Mrs. Don H. Morris and Mrs. Helen Pepperdine, May 1982). During the decade, 26 individuals received honorary doctoral degrees from the university.
Other firsts include the first woman Trustee elected (1984) and the first minority Trustee elected (1988). The first community dinner for Abilene Christian School was held April 12, 1983, and the first observance of “Generation Families” was September 1987. Mrs. William J. Teague helped launch the “For Ladies Only” dinners in 1984.
A significant first was the initiation of the Christian Service luncheon (1984). Couples honored through the years for their Christian service are Ray and Kay McGlothlin, Trine and Malissa Starnes, Paul and Margaret Southern, Burton and Sissy Coffman, Wade and Thelma Banowsky, Chelsey and Cecile McDonald, Homer and Betty Gainer, and Joe and Janelle Baisden.
ACU Press was established in February 1984 with James Fulbright as director. The Press coordinated the revision and publication of Great Songs of the Church (February 1986), edited by Dr. Jack Boyd of the music department and Dr. Forrest McCann of the English Department. In addition to publishing works by university personnel, the Press coordinated the printing of The Light of the World, a collection of photographs by Lydia Clarke Heston, coupled with appropriate scriptures.
The ACU Bookstore, also under the direction of Fulbright but managed by Robert James, has shown steady growth and was expanded in 1990, connecting to a lower floor devoted exclusively to textbooks.
Programs begun to recognize individuals and groups include the motto and awards program “Caring, Serving, Excelling” in 1985 and the formation and vitalization of the Ambassadors program for emeriti (1981-82). The Board of Trustees, too, are distinctive in their special convocational robes, initiated in 1982.
Since 1987, parents have had the option of taking advantage of the prepaid tuition program.
The university’s image has been the focus of attention during the ’80s, with a conscious improvement in all areas of public presentation, such as publications.
The area of Communication Services has received numerous awards from the American Advertising Federation and Council for Advancement and Support of Education for the quality of printed materials emanating from the university.
Student publications – The Optimist and Prickly Pear – too, have excelled in quality and production, repeatedly receiving national All-American ranking and recognition.
One of the most colorful and impressive image-makers is the Parade of Flags at Opening Day Ceremonies each year (begun 1986). Traditionally, an ACU student from a particular country carries his or her native flag in the “parade” – indicative of the worldwide scope and impact of the university. Too, it depicts the successful international student recruiting program efforts of Clint Howeth and Ted Presley.
The following served faithfully as invaluable servant leaders during the Teague administration as vice presidents: Patsy Duncan, Dr. Bruce Evans, Dr. C.G. Gray, Dr. L.D. “Bill” Hilton, Dr. Robert D. Hunter, Dr. Gary D. McCaleb, Dr. Royce Money and Dr. Gaston Welborn.
Tuition and Fees (per semester credit hour)
Enrollment (Fall Semester)
Students Using Learning Enhancement Center
* Not including 1991 summer classes
Gifts Per Year
President’s Circle Membership
Plant Additions Per Year