8 tips for surviving freshman move-in day

The Carroll clan

The Carroll clan: Anne, Morgan (Sconiers ’12), Keith (’13), Carl Hooper, Caryn (Carroll ’08) Hooper, Kent Brantly (’03), Amber (Carroll ’06) Brantly, Donnie (’77), Lisa (Spann ’79), Kevin (’16), Jonathan (’13), Allison (Gervais ’04), Geoff (’04) and Jamie (Pittenger ’05). Photo by Tammy Marcelain.

Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose students will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

By Lisa and Donnie Carroll

Move-in Day is almost here!

We’ve gone through it six times now, with one more to go. With No. 6, it was like, “Bye, Son – have a good life.” (Poor dear. We love you!) 

If this is your firstborn, though, brace yourself for the emotions – they’re real. Your family life will never be the same – as each student leaves, a new family personality emerges. You are entering a new phase of life – the “Leaving the Nest” phase. That takes some getting used to.

After a couple of months, you’ll see that life really does go on. It might look a little different, but it’s good. Your student is grown, and you can relate on a new, more friendly level. So, embrace these “final” moments as you witness your student’s independence. Isn’t that our goal as parents? Well done! Let’s start moving!   

  1. Whether your student knows his/her roommate or not, they should have some contact with each other before move-in day. Girls, especially, like to coordinate their decor, and some communication can really help. They won’t need two refrigerators or TVs, microwaves, towel warmers or aquariums in one dorm room.
  2. Let your student pack their own “stuff,” and encourage them to keep it to a minimum when moving into a dorm. College students move a LOT, and dorm rooms are generally small. Less is more in the dorm. And besides, you’ll be storing their stuff for years to come anyway!
  3. Bring some cash and tools for last minute put-togethers and trips to Wal-Mart – or better yet, Goodwill.
  4. Help with the big stuff, and then allow your student to unpack and settle into their room on their own.
  5. Make (or purchase) a small First Aid Kit, and locate the campus doctor’s office, for that inevitable first illness or accident.
  6. Avoid hovering. Instead, expect your student to be responsible and independent. If something is forgotten, it probably won’t be life-threatening. (Consequences are great teachers.)
  7. Take a picture or two of this milestone, hug goodbye, and drive away. It’s certainly OK to have a lump in your throat – the tears are tears of joy! The college years are years of tremendous growth – let ’em go to grow!
  8. You’ve entrusted them to their perfect Father for years now – keep trusting and keep praying, and in this next phase, enjoy your relationship with them and watch admirably as they find their role in His great story!

If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college drop-off day, email robin.saylor@acu.edu.

Other posts in this series:


Thoughts on a transformative provost

DVR 2010 retirement receptionAbilene Christian University provost emeritus Dr. Dwayne D. VanRheenen, 72, died Aug. 11, 2016, in Washington state following an illness. Plans for a memorial service are in progress.

VanRheenen was provost from 1996-2010, leading the academic side of ACU with distinction and serving as champion over a number of new initiatives and innovations that have strengthened the university as a leader in Christian higher education. In an essay in the Summer 2009 edition of ACU Today magazine following his retirement, dean emeritus Dr. MaLesa Breeding (’80) wrote about the difference he made on the Hill for more than a decade:

As I write from a corner booth in the library’s Learning Commons, I’m surrounded by students and faculty engaged in conversations over coffee, laptops and iPhones. Thirteen years ago, in contrast, this spot would have housed the card catalogs, and the library was where you went if you wanted isolation. Life in the Learning Commons closely reflects how students learn in the 21st century. It is only one of the many ways in which Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen has changed academic life at ACU.

Thirteen years ago, Dwayne arrived on campus to assume the role of provost, a title that often leaves people scratching their heads. Simply stated, ACU’s provost serves as chief academic officer, overseeing all academic programs and working closely with the deans of each college as well as the deans and directors of programs such as the First-Year Program, the Honors College, Study Abroad and the Graduate School. The provost also oversees the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, the library, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Institutional Research, and Curriculum and Advising. The job is enormously demanding, but he filled the role with remarkable competence and grace.

Like the work of most dynamic leaders, Dwayne’s work has not been without controversy. In his first year here, he denied tenure or promotion to several faculty members. Supported by some, opposed by others, this action sent a message to faculty that a new day had arrived at ACU.

No longer would faculty be tenured simply because they were committed to the university or had served for a long time, though he saw value in those things. Tenure would require a substantial contribution to one’s discipline and to the integration of faith into each faculty member’s field of study. Today, faculty regularly present and publish at the highest levels, bringing national and international attention to ACU as well as improving their work in the classroom. Dwayne worked tirelessly to ensure faculty had the financial resources and time to accomplish these goals. He understood better than most that the quality of scholarship among faculty members significantly impacted the university’s ability to prepare students to think critically, globally and missionally.

Few people could have stronger intellectual and spiritual convictions than Dwayne. Shortly after his arrival, he began asking the faculty about how we integrated our faith and our teaching. In 1996, this was a new conversation but an exciting one. Faculty began to realize, in this regard, that being a professor in Christian higher education required more than simply being an active member of a local congregation.

Church participation was important to him, of course, but Dwayne pressed the questions that led us to reflect on how we can help students find God in poetry, in history, in the boardroom as well as in the classroom. Further, Dwayne believed openness to other opinions and ideas is an academic imperative, essential to one’s spiritual maturity. He knew scholars in Christian higher education must engage in conversations allowing them to create covenant with others – even those with whom they disagree. He welcomed voices from other cultures, races, ethnic traditions and even other religions. He knew that only through conversations such as these could we prepare our students to engage in a complex world requiring dialogue, not just monologue. His desire was for ACU to produce students who can think in terms of paradox and ambiguity in their search for truth.

During his time at Abilene Christian, Dwayne was a mystery to some people. He demonstrated personal power, yet his demeanor was largely understated. Those who didn’t work closely with him may not have known how hard he could laugh nor how he pastored so many of those with whom he worked. However, Dwayne was widely known as a person of towering work ethic and of high expectations – for himself and for the university. Certainly, the deans and others who worked closely with Dwayne knew he worked more hours in a day than most could imagine, and even after his departure, his expectations of excellence cast a long shadow over us.

Dr. Royce Money, ACU’s 10th president, once referred to Dwayne as a renaissance man and, indeed, he is.

Though his Ph.D. is in communication, he can discuss theological ideas as easily as he can talk about rhetorical analysis. He can engage in deep conversations about phenomenology or feminism, but he also enjoys discussing the latest sporting event. Dwayne lives broadly, modeling what genuine scholarship, teaching and discipleship are all about.

Not long ago in a conversation among deans, Dwayne was referred to as one of the most transformative figures ACU has known. During his time here we have seen the creation or the significant advancement of such initiatives as the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning, the Honors College, the Study Abroad program, the First-Year Program, the College of Education and Human Services, the School of Social Work, the School of Information Technology and Computing, the Graduate School of Theology, faculty renewal leaves, at least six external accreditations, the advancement of women and minority faculty, dollars for faculty development, rigor in tenure and promotion, and a new general education core.

For Dwayne, these things were all in a day’s work. For us, they represented the transformation of a university.

Dwayne’s departure from ACU and his move into retirement was not easy. I remember well the day he announced his plans privately to the deans. The news was met with tearful embraces and prayers – both for him and for us.

He hired each of us. He mentored us all. He prayed with us and, at times, cried with us. He dug us out of holes, both those we fell into and those we dug ourselves. He let us have a lot of fun at his expense. He made us think, and he allowed us to see him think, always without judging or placing blame. He loved us, and he led us – and it is no small thing to say that one has been loved and led by Dwayne VanRheenen. His fingerprints are everywhere.

Because of that, we are forever changed.

Among survivors are his wife, Joan; two sons, Nathan VanRheenen and Derek VanRheenen (’00); a daughter, Michelle (VanRheenen) Westerholm; and a brother, Gailyn Van Rheenen (’69). Watch this blog for a full obituary to come.


Freshman goodbye: Letting the arrow fly

The Andrews family (from left): Carson, Leah (Carrington ’90), Alaina (’20), Mason (’18), Kaden and Kirby (’90).

The Andrews family (from left): Carson, Leah (Carrington ’90), Alaina (’20), Mason (’18), Kaden and Kirby (’90).

Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose students will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

By Leah Andrews

“Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves the bow that is stable.”
– from “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

Leaving your children at college is a day of significance that is a complete and total mixed bag of emotions. As I prepare to entrust our daughter and second child to Abilene Christian University, I know the full spectrum of emotions that are about to engulf me like a tidal wave.

This is, after all, what I’ve have been working toward, right?!

I spent countless hours teaching her to read, sitting with her warmly snuggled in my lap. I wanted her to to be a successful student. She is successful! This is great! I am so proud of her! But quietly my heart aches – oh, what I would give for just one more hour reading to her in my lap.

I spent many sleepless nights, encouraging her to sleep in her bed, in her own room so that she could be a strong, confident young woman who could be capable of being away from us. And now she is a confident and strong young woman who is excited to take on ACU and this new challenge, I am so happy! But quietly my heart aches – oh, how I would treasure that girl climbing in bed with her daddy and me one more time in the middle of the night to calm her fears.

I had endless conversations about morality, decision-making and her faith as to how it translates into worldly actions so that on this day, when I send her out into the world, I can be confident knowing that she has the best guide with her as she meets this new challenge. And now she is an amazing young woman, and I am so thankful she is so prepared. But quietly my heart aches – oh, how I pray she will call me any time and any day she may need because I will miss these daily conversations. I learned as much from her as she did from me.

You’ll catch me with tears often these days. Sometimes it is the seemingly innocuous moments that catch me off guard and bring the most tears. A late-night laugh session, the smell of her hair as she bounces through the living room, the music coming from her room, tucking her in for one last hug at night, even the sight of her keys on the key hook in the hallway – I have treasured it all, and I am going to miss it so much. I know in my heart that she is off to do great things. I am excited for all she will experience and all the wonderful people she will meet. I know that she really is prepared to go. I know that she has the best guide in the Holy Spirit who will guide her steps. But my momma’s heart, will miss her.

I find comfort in the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

I am so thankful for the opportunity she has at ACU. I truly believe that she is poised and ready and she will go “swift and far.” My heart is completely filled, with love, joy, pride and excitement – all mixed in with some sadness for the time that is coming to a close. So, if you catch me on “move-in” day with tears rolling down my cheeks, let my tears be. It’s just my bending in the archer’s hand.

If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college drop-off day, email robin.saylor@acu.edu.

Other posts in this series:


Tim Bright, ACU’s most versatile Olympian

Tim Bright

Tim Bright

Of the dozens of current or former Abilene Christian University athletes to make an Olympic team in the past 60 years, two stand alone in terms of longevity. Tim Bright (’83) and Delloreen Ennis (’99) each competed in three Olympics – Bright in 1984, 1988 and 1992 for the United States and Ennis in 2000, 2004 and 2008 for her native Jamaica.

Delloreen Ennis

Delloreen Ennis

Ennis is the most accomplished female track and field athlete in ACU history. She was among the world’s best in her specialty, the 100-meter hurdles, and narrowly missed winning a bronze medal in 2000 in Sydney, Australia. In 2005, she finished second in the women’s world championships, third in 2007 and third again in 2009.

Bright, however, was a jack-of-all-trades and master of many as a decathlete whose strong suit was the pole vault. Decathletes compete across two grueling days in 10 events: 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump and 400-meter run on the first day, and 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500-meter run on the second.

He also was a world-ranked pole vaulter who set an Olympic decathlon vault record in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988. He did not medal in either of his three Olympic appearances, but to earn spots on U.S. teams across nearly a decade – as a decathlete in 1984 and 1988 and a vaulter in 1992 – remains a remarkable feat.

ACU’s Olympians and the nations they have represented (year of each Games in parentheses):

Tom D. Smith III is the only ACU Olympian in a sport other than track and field. The former U.S. military hero held world records in pistol shooting and competed for his country in the 1964 Games in Tokyo. Watch this blog for more on his accomplishments.

Tim Bright at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Tim Bright at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.


Freshman goodbye: One more ‘last time’

Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose students will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

Scott (’91) and Melissa (Buse ’91) Warner with daughter Bailey

Scott (’91) and Melissa (Buse ’91) Warner with their daughter, Bailey

By Scott Warner

In a week I am dropping my firstborn off at college. For the last several weeks people have been asking the obligatory question of first-time college parents: “How are you doing with all this?” You’ve probably heard a variation on that question yourself.

Overall, my answer has been, “Pretty good.” I mean, what are you supposed to say? And I was doing “pretty good” until last Sunday when my daughter mentioned that she has one more Sunday at church with the family. Gulp!

When you’re talking months, weeks and days until she leaves, it seemed very arbitrary. But when you talk about concrete “last times,” it all of a sudden hit me hard. Going to church together as a family has always been a huge part of our lives, and now I realize I am seven days away from that changing! I know that there have been a lot of “lasts” this year, but most have not been as personal and meaningful as this.

I will mourn this “last time.” I imagine I will mourn many things that are over. But that’s part of parenting, isn’t it? You mourn many “lasts” over the life of your child – even the things that you sometimes wish would go away.

When she no longer needs the crib, when she no longer needs you to carry her everywhere she goes, when she loses that tiny lisp when she speaks, when she no longer needs you to rock her to sleep, when she no longer waits with a giant smile for you to come pick her up from her crib after a nap, when she no longer needs you for bath time, when she no longer needs you to walk her to class at school, when she no longer needs a ride to school or a friends house. I guess in some way I mourned all of those “lasts.”

But at the same time I celebrated the “firsts.” First night in a big-girl bed, first words, first steps, first day of school, first night away from home, first time to drive alone.

Parenting has been a mixture of mourning the “lasts” and celebrating the “firsts.” Those two emotional actions, mourning and celebrating, can seem mutually exclusive, but they aren’t. They run side by side like the two rails of a train track – parallel and leading toward the horizon.

So I will mourn the last Sunday at church together and celebrate my daughter finding her own church family for the first time. I will mourn the last time I get up early to cook her breakfast before school and celebrate that she will get a first breakfast at the World Famous Bean. I will mourn the last time we take that first-day-of-school picture before heading off to school and celebrate that she starts her first day, excited and independent at ACU.

Mourn and celebrate. That’s parenting, isn’t it?

If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college drop-off day, email robin.saylor@acu.edu.

Other posts in this series:


Parents of freshmen react with humor, tears

Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose students will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

Kaman and Regina (Price ’91) Turner

Kaman and Regina (Price ’91) Turner

By Regina Turner

Here we are, sending our baby of three off to college. Our first Wildcat! True to most days of motherhood, my emotions are all over the board. Excited and sad are battling in my heart, and I am managing the fight by escaping into hours of together time in 100-plus degree weather hunting Pokémon. Judge if you want, but I am soaking in every moment I get with this kind-hearted, strong young man who has been a bit sassy lately.

It has been like this with every one of my kids! In the months leading up to their departure for college, they seem to be easily irritated. I am guessing it is like this in most homes. I tell myself it is God’s way of making it easier to say “goodbye” – for both of us.

Instead of tissues on Tuesday, I’m bringing my phone. Why don’t you join me on campus? I hear the Pokémon hunting is great! Why let an opportunity to embarrass your freshman go by? (In case you don’t want to ask your sassy freshman how to catch the critters, use your finger to swipe up on the ball and smack the critter in the head. They can break out once you catch them, so be patient.)

And don’t worry about that extra attitude! Just tell them you will miss them too and then make them clean the bathroom because after next Tuesday, the house chores are yours!

Lex Ann (Wilburn ’90) Hood and Hayden

Lex Ann (Wilburn ’90) Hood and Hayden

By Lex Ann Hood

Hayden moves into the dorm a week from Tuesday. I’m excited and teary all at the same time. While shopping at Target today for XL dorm sheets, a gel mattress topper and a microwave (boys are so low maintenance), I couldn’t help but think, “Have I told him all I need to tell him? What if I’ve left out something really important?” Then it hit me … God’s got this, and God has Hayden in the palm of His hand. Have a blast at ACU, Hayden! Always stay humble and kind💜. I love you and am so proud of who you are!

If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college drop-off day, email robin.saylor@acu.edu.

Other posts in this series:


College drop-off day: Not just another chapter

The Durrington family (from left): Val (’92), Kendra (’94), Claire, Michal Kate (’20), Addie and Connor (’19).

Whether you’re sending your first child off to college – or your sixth, drop-off day is a bittersweet experience. Some of you will approach the occasion with hankies; others with humor. No matter your perspective, you can’t escape the realization that time passes far more quickly than you’d ever imagined and that life will never be quite the same. We’ve gathered a collection of thoughts of Wildcat parents whose freshmen will join the ACU family next week. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

By Kendra Durrington

Sunrise. Sunset.

“From sunrise to sunset let the Lord’s name be praised.” – PSALM 113:3

As a parent about to drop off my second child at ACU, I’m no closer to understanding how the sun seems to set so fast than I was the first time I did this. Seriously, what is up with that sun? One thing I do know, though, is that sending a child to college is definitely not easy, regardless of how many trite sayings people throw at you.

“Your child is ready to fly.” No! I just got used to them driving!

“Your job was to teach them not to need you one day.” That one kind of feels like a punch to the gut you somehow earned.

“Aren’t you glad to finally be getting that one out of the house?” Don’t we all have that one uncle who says things like this and never notices he’s the only one laughing?

And my favorite,“One chapter ends, another one begins.”

In an article for the Boston Globe, Beverly Beckham wrote, “Eighteen years isn’t a chapter in anyone’s life. It’s a whole book.”

This is the best way I have found to describe my feelings. I’ve reached the end of my very favorite book, and while I know there’s a new wonderful book waiting to be opened, it’s OK for me to be sad about this one ending. You should allow yourself to be sad, too.

But even in our sadness we can take heart knowing what exciting times lie ahead for our children. Not just all the ridiculously fun and life-changing experiences they’ll have at ACU, but – when we stop to think about it – this wonderful time in our life that we are mourning being over, is still in our child’s future waiting for them to experience. How amazing is that to think about?

Maybe sunsets aren’t so bad after all. I think I’ll dust off that chair I used to sit in to watch Saturday soccer games and plop down to soak up every last second of this quickly dwindling sunset. I have a feeling that just about the time the sun begins to rise again, and it will rise again, I may even be ready to crack open that new book I have waiting for me. Something tells me it might just become my new favorite.

If youd like to share reflections on dropping off an ACU freshman, or offer advice to parents on how to survive college move-in day, email robin.saylor@acu.edu.

Other posts in this series:


Four Wildcats on an Olympic mission in Rio

Cooper

Cooper

Thomas

Their assignments are certainly different, yet Wildcats Reyare Thomas (’14), Sayon Cooper (’98), Doug Ferguson (’83) and David Ramsey (’81) are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for at least one common purpose: experiencing Olympic history as insiders at one of the world’s greatest sports spectacles.

Thomas is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s track and field team, preparing to participate in a second Olympics for her homeland. A sprinter, she looks to compete in the 200 meters and in the 4×100 relay. Track and field events span Aug. 12-21, with preliminary rounds for the 200 on Aug. 15 and the 4×100 relay on Aug. 18.

She was a member of her nation’s bronze medal-winning 4×100 relay team at the 2015 world outdoor championships in Beijing, China.

Thomas is the sixth current or former ACU track and field star to compete in the Olympics for Trinidad and Tobago. Others were Ian Morris (1988, 1992), Julieon Raeburn (2000), Nic Alexander (2000, 2004), Robert Guy (1996) and Wanda Hutson (2004, 2008).

Cooper, twice an Olympian sprinter for Liberia (1996 and 2000), is the head Olympic track and field coach for his homeland.

Ferguson

Ferguson

David Ramsey 125x175 96

Ramsey

Ferguson, longtime golf writer for Associated Press, is covering men’s and women’s golf competition from the Olympic course near Rio. Follow his coverage here.

Ramsey is covering his fifth Olympics as an award-winning sports columnist for The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs, Colo., the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Olympic Training Center. Follow his coverage here.

Watch this blog the next two weeks for news about Thomas, Cooper, Ferguson and Ramsey, and some history about Abilene Christian University’s remarkable Olympic legacy.


ACU Remembers: Randy Becton

Randy Becton 225x300 96E. Randall Becton (’71 M.S.), author, minister and founder of the Caring Cancer Ministry, died July 23, 2016, at his home in Abilene, concluding more than four decades of ministry to fellow cancer patients. He was 71.

Visitation is Friday, July 29, from 6-8 p.m. at Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home (542 Hickory, Abilene, Texas 79601). Services celebrating his life are planned Saturday, July 30, at 10 a.m. at University Church of Christ in Abilene with burial immediately afterward at the Dudley (Texas) Cemetery (F.M. 1178 off Highway 36).

Becton was born Sept. 17, 1944, in Nashville, Tenn. He grew up in Nashville and attended Lipscomb Academy where he was a basketball standout and pitched on the baseball team, beginning a lifelong love for baseball that included an extensive baseball card collection he shared generously with young players. He married Camilla Greer on Aug. 22, 1966.

After graduating from Lipscomb University in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in Bible, he began graduate studies at the Harding School of Theology but followed his major professor, Dr. George Gurganus, to Abilene Christian University where he earned his master’s degree in missions in 1971.

In 1969, he began a career with Herald of Truth, serving in numerous roles including executive director from 1991 until his retirement in 2006, though he continued to serve as minister-at-large. Under his leadership at Herald of Truth, the international radio and television ministry expanded to include multiple programs. He was instrumental in creation of the annual Saving the American Family Conference; as editor of UpReach magazine and as speaker for Caring Touch Radio; and numerous television specials. He was the author of 15 books.

In 1973, just months after the birth of his and Camilla’s third child, Becton was diagnosed with leucytic lymphoma, beginning a journey of treatment, remissions, surgeries, complications and side-effects spanning more than 40 years, defying his doctors’ predictions. The experience inspired the Bectons in 1978 to begin the Caring Cancer Ministry, an outreach of comfort and encouragement for patients and their families; publishing books and pamphlets for patients, caregivers and ministers; and personally corresponding with hundreds of individuals battling cancer.

For 16 years, Becton served as an elder at Highland Church of Christ, which honored him in 1994 for 25 years of service to many ministries. For the past several years he has been a member of University Church of Christ.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Myrna Becton; a brother, Harold Becton; and a son, Mark Becton.

Among survivors are his wife, Camilla (’67); daughters Stacia (Becton ’91) Looney, Shana Becton (’95) and Shara (Becton ’05) Wilson; eight grandchildren; two sisters, Myrna Williams and Lynda Kinney.


ACU Remembers: Gladys Faulkner

Gladys Faulkner 225x300 96pxGladys (Shoemaker ’52) Faulkner of Driftwood, Texas, died July 16, 2016, at her ranch home near Austin at age 86.

She was born April 28, 1930, in Fort Worth, where she graduated from Paschal High School in 1948. While a student at Abilene Christian, she began dating fellow Paschal graduate Paul Faulkner and the two married July 12, 1952, after earning their degrees. For the next 64 years Gladys devoted her energy and creativity to her family as the Faulkners ministered to churches in Kansas, North Carolina and ultimately Abilene where they lived for 39 years.

After Paul completed doctoral studies at Southwestern Theological Seminary and joined the Bible faculty at ACU, Gladys returned to graduate school and earned her master’s degree in education in 1976. She taught in Abilene’s Headstart program for many years.

Beginning in 1974, Gladys regularly traveled with Paul around the U.S. and to eight countries where he and his former ACU roommate, Dr. Carl Brecheen (’52), conducted Marriage Enrichment Seminars.

After Paul retired in 1996, the couple moved to Driftwood where they built the Cypress Springs Ranch on the banks of Onion Creek. There they continued to minister to families and couples in crisis and served together on the Ministers Support Network team blessing ministry couples.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Walton and Vivian Shoemaker. Among survivors are Paul, her husband of 64 years; four children, Debbie (Faulkner ’76) Clinton, Von Faulkner (’78), Brad Faulkner (’83) and Connie (Faulkner ’86) Brown; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Memorials may be made online to the Paul and Gladys Faulkner Endowed Scholarship or Ministers Support Network (or mailed to Gift Records, ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132), or the Community Enrichment Center (6250 N.E. Loop 820, North Richland Hills, Texas 76180).