Two weeks from today we’ll hold our final in-person classes for this semester, and our students will move online to complete their final week and exams. I’m filled with gratitude to all of you for doing your part to ensure we stay face to face until Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful to our students’ families for entrusting them to us during this unusual semester. I’m also grateful to our trustees and our alumni for their continued prayers and their profound faith in our ability to meet these unexpected challenges and rise above them. As a reminder, our administrative offices will remain open through the calendar year, excluding holidays.
As we turn our attention to the spring semester, we already look forward to having our students back on campus. It just isn’t the same without them here. Our spring calendar will remain the same with classes scheduled to start January 11 and end April 30. Unless the COVID landscape requires a shift, we will hold March 8-12 for Spring Break.
In facilities news, we closed on the Taylor Elementary property October 28 and are leasing the space back to the Abilene Independent School District (AISD) until February 13. We are excited about the possibilities this presents to grow our campus footprint as we continue to raise our national profile. Some of you may have noticed we’ve been making preparations to play basketball this season at the Teague Center. We are raising money to begin extensive renovations to Moody Coliseum over the next 18-24 months. With physical distancing measures allowing only minimal attendance this year, it made sense to lay some preliminary groundwork for these renovations to occur. This past weekend, the Board of Trustees approved for the renovation to begin during Christmas break. We anticipate a soft opening of Moody next winter, with a grand opening in summer of 2022. Our Allen Ridge development on the north side of campus continues to take shape. Two restaurants, Fuzzy’s Tacos and Phoenix Pho, are scheduled to open in the next few weeks with the rest of Phase I set to open in January. Phase II of the project will open next spring.
ACU is blessed this year to have eight National Merit finalists enrolled on our campus. Three new finalists joined us this fall – Madison Chedester, a Spanish major from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who plans to attend medical school; Morgan Wade, an accounting major from Amarillo, Texas; and Victoria Cheshire, a nursing major from Flower Mound, Texas. We continue to attract bright students from across the country and internationally. Take a look at the most popular majors for this year’s incoming freshman class: Nursing, Biology, Engineering, Management, Psychology, Marketing, Finance, Communication Science and Disorders, Early Childhood / Elementary Education and Biochemistry.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I hope each of you will have the opportunity to gather with your family and friends. The unprecedented challenges of 2020 have illuminated for me how special it is to be in community with each other, and how very blessed we are to be surrounded by those who love and support us. I know some of you have faced adversity this year during the pandemic, making the holidays a difficult season. We pray for your peace and comfort.
Phil Schubert, Ed.D.