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Faculty, staff awards announced at ACU pre-session


Dr. Ralph Draper addresses ACU faculty and staff at the 2021 pre-session gathering.

Abilene Christian University faculty and staff attended a pre-session gathering Wednesday for a time of inspiration, vision and gratitude to begin the academic year. In addition, award winners were announced for various faculty and staff honors.

April Anthony and Dr. Ralph Draper spoke to the crowd, offering words of vision and challenge for the future of the university. Anthony, who has served on ACU’s Board of Trustees for 23 years and is currently chair, is founder of Encompass Home Health & Hospice and Homecare Homebase, LP. Draper, an ACU trustee for the last 10 years, served as a leader in the public school system for 21 years, including 12 as superintendent of schools in the Houston area. In his retirement, he supports and mentors others in person and educational growth and development.

Dr. Robert Rhodes, provost, and Dr. Phil Schubert, president, closed out the program by looking at what’s ahead for ACU strategically.

Staff Awards

The Outstanding Staff Award recipients exemplify what it means to fulfill the ACU mission and promise. Nominations are accepted from faculty and staff across the campus and then chosen by the Senior Leadership Team. The 2021 Outstanding Staff Award recipients are:

  • Hutton Harris, video production manager for KACU-FM
  • Cory Driskill, senior associate athletics director for sports performance, ACU Athletics
  • Lyndi Felan, assistant director of student advocacy 
  • Cindy Gravitt, practice manager, ACU Medical Clinic

The Unsung Servant Award honors a staff member who is a silent servant to the ACU community. This award includes input from students to determine the recipient. The 2021 Unsung Servant Award recipients are:

  • Kris Sutton, director, Office of Institutional Compliance and Risk Management
  • Lori Herrick, associate vice president, Office of Finance

The John C. Stevens Award is named for the late Dr. John C. Stevens, the ninth president of ACU, and honors a staff member with longevity of service, evidence of involvement outside their immediate department, outstanding service to others, and a servant heart. The 2021 recipient is Larry Henderson, director of the WorldWide Witness program in the Halbert Center for Missions and Global Service.

Faculty Awards

The co-recipients of the 2021 Provost’s Award for Scholarship are Dr. Cynthia Powell and Dr. Greg Powell. The Powells are both professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Cynthia is also the director of the Center for Pre-Health Professions.

The recipient of the 2021 Provost’s Award for the Advancement of Spiritual Formation is Dr. Amanda Pittman, assistant professor in the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry.

Two awards were also presented through the Faculty Senate. The Past Chair Award recipient was Dr. Bill Carroll, and the Faculty Senate Award of Excellence was given posthumously to the late Dr. Mark Riggs, professor and past chair of mathematics, and was accepted by his wife, Debbie Riggs.

— Wendy Kilmer

Aug. 20, 2021

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