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Teague: University building blocks

This story by Kathie Henry appeared in the 1985 Prickly Pear.

Since his inauguration in 1982, president William J. Teague’s term has been characterized by the university’s continuous growth.

The addition to the Margaret and Herman Brown Library in 1983, the construction of the Mabee Business Building begun in 1985, and the plans for the proposed College of Biblical Studies building in 1985, were all distinct signs of this growth.
Teague’s friendly smile transmitted a positive, relaxed attitude, but a high-driving motivation could be found behind the outward appearance.

“All of the growth of an institution has an academic reason behind it, although the manifestations of it may not be seen as academic,” said Teague.

“Take the effort we are making now to increase the service, of say, our bookstore through more off-campus sales,” said Teague. “It has an academic purpose in reality. It will help us generate an income that can be translated into more scholarships for students.”

An increase of students is essential to continuing the amount of growth witnessed at ACU in the past year, Teague said.

“There needs to be a critical mass of students, probably – we estimate around 7,500 students – for us to offer the comprehensive services of a major national university,” he said.

Although 7,500 was no “magical number,” ACU needed a substantial growth in students to have enough majors in each department to justify expanding specialized programs, said Teague.

To attract more students and continue growth of the university, Teague said he would like to see “a constant improvement in academic and non-academic services.”

“There is a limited market for mediocrity … if we’re going to be of service to our young people who are increasingly going out to compete against the product of some of the nation’s most distinguished institutions, then we must do an increasingly better job,” said the president.

“Now this is not done without pain,” said Teague. Growth of the university would require extra efforts by the faculty and students in all areas. Students would be asked to put forth extra effort, and the faculty would be asked to put forth extra personal efforts to help those students grow.

“The faculty is absolutely the key,” said Teague. “They are the front line troops” to supporting students’ growth, he explained.

A second requirement for continued growth was the opportunity for more leadership opportunities, Teague said. Many students lead well, but not enough students have the opportunity to lead, said Teague.

Yet, ACU had qualities that had allowed it to produce leaders and grow in a time when many colleges had had trouble recruiting students.

“Service-motivation” is the main quality, said Teague. A high percentage of ACU students have a lifetime goal of serving others, and so do faculty members, said Teague. That combination produces students and teachers willing to work, he said.

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