Students have the chops to back Temptations


(Front row, from left) Abigail Kellogg, Ann Lawson, Mary Potts and James Nix. (Back row) Jordan Morris, Grayson Hancock, Cedric Dario, Geoffrey Driggers and Noah Hancock.

When the legendary Temptations perform a concert Sunday night in the Abilene Civic Center, its horn section will be powered by a considerably younger set of musicians, all of them Wildcats and most young enough to be Otis Williams’ grandkids.

Time stands still for no one, even Williams, now 73 and the only original member of the group still performing with it. But the Temptations’ iconic music – like “My Girl” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” – still proves timeless for fans who flock to hear them harmonize and see their velvet-smooth choreography, a testament to the beat that defined a generation of Americans more than 50 years ago and ushered in the era of pop music.

Temptations concert promoOriginally known as the Elgins, the Temptations were a product of Berry Gordy Jr.’s Motown Records label in Detroit, Mich., and one its flagship acts, along with the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, and the Jackson 5, among others. Motown’s glory days were the 1960s and 1970s when some of the world’s most popular music was recorded in a small house/studio on West Grand Boulevard.

The Temptations’ wide-ranging music styles – ballads, rhythm and blues, psychedelic soul, funk, disco, and rock and roll – provide a challenge for the nine undergrads and one alumnus invited to play such a key role in the concert.

“This is such a great opportunity,” said professor of music Dr. Steven Ward (’92), who helped choose some of the music department’s strongest students from among the Jazz Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. All but one is a music major and the other majors in biochemistry.

The group includes sophomore Mary Potts and senior Abigail Kellogg (alto saxophone); sophomore Anna Lawson and Guy D. Gamble (’73) (tenor saxophone); junior James Nix (baritone saxophone); juniors Cedric Dario and Grayson Hancock, and sophomore Jordan Morris (trumpet); and sophomore Geoffrey Driggers and sophomore Noah Hancock (trombone). Nix is the lone biochemistry major.

Potts said her parents didn’t believe the news at first. “They kept asking, ‘THE Temptations?!’ After the initial shock, they were so excited, especially my grandparents. That was their kind of music. I’ve always loved Oldies music and I never ever dreamed of having this opportunity so it feels pretty amazing. I still can’t really comprehend how cool this is.”

Driggers admitted his parents were “a little freaked out at first” to hear of his participation. “Playing in this gig makes me feel like an actual professional musician,” he said. “Of course, I’m very honored to be chosen, too. The whole thing is sort of a self-esteem boost.”

“My saxophone teacher played with the Temptations in 1969 when he was my age,” said Kellogg, “so when I told him that I’m playing for them he was floored because his career is coming full circle with me.”

“The students were mostly excited at first,” Ward said. “When the book of music for the show arrived, its size was a bit intimidating but we’ll have had four rehearsals by the time Sunday arrives, and they’re doing great.”

“The biggest challenge so far has been the music,” Driggers said. “It’s difficult, range-wise, in several places. It’s also been hard not to brag to everyone I know that I get to play with the Temptations. People tend to stop hanging around you as much when you do that.”

Kellogg said she liked how “hip” the Temptations’ music has remained through the years.

“It’s not like stuff you hear on the radio now,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong; I jam to Taylor Swift but there’s something about the vibe a funk or Motown group can get that a solo artist can’t create as easily.”

Ward said most of the students had not played all the styles of music involved in the concert but several can draw on valuable experience in the house band at Sing Song. Still, they will have just one rehearsal with the Temptations and their rhythm section on Sunday before the concert that night.

Ward said he played with some amazing jazz artists when he was a student, including Ernie Watts of the former Tonight Show Band, L.A. studio musician legend Steve Houghton and jazz trumpet icon Jon Faddis. “Those experiences changed my life as a musician, but I didn’t get to do anything with a group as internationally known as the Temptations,” he said.

The Temptations’ have charted 32 Top 10 pop and R&B albums, 23 Top 10 R&B singles, won three Grammys and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Rolling Stone magazine ranks them 67th among its 100 Greatest Artists of all time. Six members of the group – including Williams – were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

ACU’s director of orchestra and bands said the opportunity is remarkable but not unprecedented.

“It just continues a great history at ACU of giving our students the best possible experiences we can,” said Ward.

Purchase tickets here for the 7:30 p.m. Sunday concert by the Temptations in the Abilene Civic Center. 

The Bookcase: The God Who Saves

The God Who Saves presents the powerful story, woven throughout the diverse texts of the Old Testament, of a God who is urgently and passionately in love, not just with Israel, but with all of God’s creatures, especially the poor and powerless. For the beginning university student, this textbook is an engaging and accessible encounter with the Old Testament from the perspective of ancient Israel. With captivating and rich content enhanced by maps, tables, biblical reading assignments, discussion topics, and further research prompts, the conversation within this book is deepened in its ability to reach academic and spiritual concepts. It also provides supporting materials available to instructors, such as multiple quiz and exam questions, course syllabi and schedules, and more.

  • Dr. Glenn Pemberton (’85) is professor of Bible, ministry and missions at Abilene Christian University. After serving in full-time ministry, he earned his doctorate from the joint program of the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology. He has authored numerous essays on Psalms and Proverbs, short commentaries on Proverbs in The New Interpreter’s Bible One Volume Commentary (Abingdon, 2010) and Leviticus in The Transforming Word: One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (ACU Press, 2008), and authored After Lament (ACU Press, 2014), Hurting With God (ACU Press, 2012), and When God Calls (21st Century Christian, 2007).

ISBN 978-0-89112-482-5 • $44.99

ACU Press and Leafwood Publishers serve Abilene Christian University through publishing scholarly work, faith-building resources, and regional books.  

Learn more about books by ACU alumni, faculty, staff, and students in The Bookcase in ACU Today magazine’s latest issue:


Abilene A to Z books to help needy children

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ISBN 9780891123965

A new children’s publication from Abilene Christian University Press is designed to acquaint youngsters with Abilene history and culture, and for a limited time, you can contribute to help put books in the hands of several hundred local kids from low-income families.

Abilene A to Z is co-authored by Glenn Dromgoole and Jay Moore (’94), two local writers who may know Abilene better than just about anyone today.

Dromgoole is a former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News who is co-owner with his wife, Carol, of the downtown Texas Star Trading Co. book and gift store at 174 Cypress St. He is founder of the West Texas Book Festival and the author of more than 20 books. In 2013, he was named Abilene Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

Moore is a native Abilenian who teaches history at Abilene High School. He is the author of Abilene History in Plain Sight and producer of a similarly named popular series of videos about local history. He was named Outstanding Teacher of the Humanities for the State of Texas in 2013.

Through partnership with local service providers, ACU Press is working to distribute Abilene A to Z to low-income families and kids in our area. The 64-page softcover book sells for $12.99.

“Through our Texas books, ACU Press celebrates and supports our local community. Abilene A to Z is a special to us because it allows us to promote our city to its youngest readers,” says Jason Fikes, director of ACU Press and Leafwood Publishers. “When the idea came to make Abilene A to Z available to low-income families, I knew – others would want to join us in promoting literacy across the area.”

For information about contributing to the program, call ACU Press toll free at 877-816-4455.

ACU Press and Leafwood Publishers are imprints of Abilene Christian University.

Doctor’s healing, help known around the world

The new issue of ACU Today magazine includes a profile of perhaps Abilene Christian University’s most accomplished professional from the field of medicine: retired Dallas gastroenterologist B. David Vanderpool Jr. (’52).

Vanderpool – whose career includes work on groundbreaking medical procedures and presidencies of the Texas Medical Association, Texas Surgical Society and the American Board of General Surgeons – received the 2014 Dale and Rita Brown Outlive Your Life Award in May 2014.

His longstanding philanthropic and medical missions work in Eastern Ukraine have been stymied since 2014 by Russian-backed separatists who rebelled against the central government and occupied several cities. More than 8,000 have been killed in the fighting and more than 1 million have fled to neighboring countries or are considered IDPs (internally displaced persons).

Read more about Vanderpool’s life and legacy as a Christian physician who heals and serves people in great need around the world, from Dallas to Donetsk.

Room at the Inn: Abilene hotels are booming

Abilene's two newest hotels are adjacent to each other, just north of Interstate 20 and near campus at Exit 288.

Abilene’s two newest hotels are adjacent to each other, just north of Interstate 20 and near campus at Exit 288.

More than one friendly joke about Our Fair City has been cracked during weeks like this, when the 109th annual pilgrimage of sorts takes place to the four-day Summit (or Lectureship, depending on your vintage).

It’s that time again, when large numbers of people arrive from across the nation and around the world, drawn to “Little Jerusalem” or whatever nickname by which you have come to know Abilene Christian University’s hometown.

Truth is, Abilene has come a long way since Summit was held, in part, in a circus-like Big Top tent on the parking lot north of Edwards Hall, in Bennett Gymnasium and other spaces on campus. Moody Coliseum and the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building serve as the major venues for Summit these days. And the city whose population nearly doubled from 1950 (45,570) to 1960 (90,368) has grown to more than 120,000 in 2015.

Anecdotal evidence of the growth is everywhere, from sprawling housing developments north and especially south of the city; to six colleges, universities and technical schools; three nursing schools; two Wal-Marts and a third on the way; restaurants and a small growing army of food trucks; and a hotel building boom that startles even those who live here.

With the recent addition of a pair of new Marriott businesses near campus – Towne Place Suites and Courtyard by Marriott (a second in town) – Abilene now has 3,421 hotel rooms on any given night, and another 100 opening next year. No less than a dozen hotels and motels are at Interstate 20 exits near ACU, including Residence Inn by Mariott, Hampton Inn and Suites, and Holiday Express Inn and Suites, with more on the way.

Travel to Abilene each year generates $469.1 million in direct visitor spending, says Nanci Liles, executive director of the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Abilene hosts 3.5 million visitors a year, with the highest number of guests coming from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston and Lubbock. Sixty-eight percent travel here for leisure and 32 percent for business and conventions,” she says.

Summit and the West Texas Fair and Rodeo share top billing this week, but several of the other events generating significant tourism dollars each year include the Western Heritage Classic; Texas High School Rodeo State Finals; Texas 4-H Horse Show; Texas High School Powerlifting; ACU’s Sing Song, Summit and Homecoming; and the Texas Youth Bull Riders World Finals.

Abilene also is a frequent host for state high school regional playoff games in several sports, especially football each November and December.

The Village at Allen Ridge, a planned development announced by ACU this summer, could change the face of one corner of campus in the next couple of years, and add to the city’s bonanza of hotel amenities. Located at the intersections of Ambler Avenue, Interstate 20 and Judge Ely Boulevard, the 95-acre masterplanned, mixed-use development would be a super-regional shopping, leisure, hotel and residential village with an impressive amenity package including a cinema, a 50-acre park with trails, and waterfront outdoor dining on a small lake.

The site was previously the home of ACU’s historic Allen Farm and is just northeast of where the university has plans to begin constructing a new on-campus football stadium in 2016 as part of the $75 million Vision in Action initiative.

ACU chancellor Dr. Royce Money (’64) jokes that one of the major accomplishments of his 19-year presidency was helping lure Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant to build a franchise on Interstate 20 near campus. Based on the crowds gathered there at mealtimes this week, it would be hard to envision Little Jerusalem’s boomtown today without CB’s wooden rockers on the porch and biscuits in the oven, not far from yet another bright shiny new hotel.

Rhode runners cross country to ACU

Hackett sisters

The Hackett sisters – Alexandria (705) and Michaela (706) and – compete in ACU’s home meet Friday. Alexandria won, helping the Wildcats best Texas Tech University.

Let’s get one thing straight before I tell you the tortuous tale of how a couple of pencil-thin identical twins from Rhode Island saved a women’s cross country season at Abilene Christian University: there is only a 50-50 chance I’ll get right who said what. In other words, far more likely than it ever was that they’d be here competing for first place in the first place.

Boone is the radio-TV voice of the Wildcats

Boone is the radio-TV voice of the Wildcats

When I interviewed Alexandria (Allie) and Michaela (Mickey) Hackett, junior cross country team members from Cranston, R.I., I was only smart enough to make an audio recording of the conversation; not to note which one was talking when, which was a mistake. Because unlike the freckle mark on Mickey’s right cheek (mnemonic device: mark and Mickey begin with m), their voices have no such distinctions.

To hear them tell it, neither did their cross country careers after one season at ACU.

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Michaela and Alexandria Hackett

“I wasn’t serious about running,” says (I think!) Allie. “I was just kind of doing it for fun. Our performances weren’t that great.”

In fairness, neither were ACU’s expectations. Former cross country coach Chris Ward, having noticed their times in high school races, emailed the twins to invite them to campus. They’d never heard of Abilene Christian. But, incredibly, this lifelong East Coast family was relatively familiar with West Texas. Allie and Mickey’s aunt, Ellie, had married a Texan and settled in San Angelo nearly a decade ago. The Hacketts began taking annual trips there when Allie and Mickey were 11, having no idea the girls would eventually matriculate just 100 miles away at ACU. During one such pilgrimage, the family detoured to Abilene for an unofficial visit. Though they weren’t offered scholarships, Allie and Mickey fell in love with ACU and decided to leave the cooler climes and cozy confines of Rhode Island for life as an NCAA athlete in the wide open, flat-hot Big Country.

The Hackett sisters celebrate being Wildcats in the snow back home in Rhode Island.

The Hackett sisters celebrate being Wildcats in the snow back home in Rhode Island, where the twins earned all-state and academic all-state honors in high school, and 12 varsity letters apiece.

“We kind of had culture shock freshman year,” Allie recalls. “It took awhile for us to get used to it. It was really difficult. We were tired. We visited our aunt and uncle a lot on the weekends.”

In those first few months at ACU, that extended family offered the Hackett twins a pat on the back; from a teammate came a swift kick that landed a little further down. Fellow freshman Diana Garcia-Munoz, a native of Aguascalientes, Mexico, who was on scholarship, performed like it, finishing as ACU’s No. 2 runner that season. And the Hacketts couldn’t help but notice.

“Diana definitely helped me,” Allie says, “because I was just chasing her during the runs. I made a decision that I want to be good. I found a new love and passion for it.”

With that old flame rekindled, the Hacketts hit the road and put their home track and field advantage to use in the summer before their sophomore year.

“Living in Rhode Island,” says Mickey, “we could run in the middle of the day because it’s perfect weather. And there are hills, which are better for training.”

Cross country is an eight-week sport that runs from the beginning of the fall semester through the end of October. That schedule demands athletes train on their own and return to school in shape and ready to hit the ground running. In 2014, head coach Keith Barnier could quickly tell the Hacketts had and others hadn’t.

“They saved our season,” Barnier says unequivocally. “As walk-ons, they came back in better shape than some of our scholarship runners, which elevated the whole team’s intensity and expectations. Now they’re propelling us to new heights.”

The 2015 season couldn’t have begun any better. Literally. At the Libby Invitational hosted by McMurry University in Abilene on Sept. 4, the Wildcats scored a perfect 15 points by taking the top five positions and, for good measure, had the next two fastest finishers, too. Garcia-Munoz was first, Allie second and Mickey fourth.

Then Friday, Sept. 18, on ACU’s home turf (Sherrod Residential Park) and facing Texas Tech University and teams from three other schools, Allie broke out in front from the opening gun and never trailed en route to her first collegiate victory. Mickey finished fifth.

Garcia-Munoz, whom the Hacketts credit with inspiring them to improve, has seen the favor returned.

“They make me better,” claims Garcia-Munoz, the 2014 Southland Conference Women’s Cross Country Student-Athlete of the Year. “Allie made a huge improvement last year. This year, it’s been Mickey. I see how hard they work as walk-ons, and I know I have to work at least that hard.”

Michaela (left) and Alexandria (right) with their parents, Bettina and Jim.

Michaela (left) and Alexandria (right) with their parents, Bettina and Jim.

The Hacketts are working hard, on and off of their feet. Their renewed commitment to running last season meant tightening up their schedules. Up each morning to train at 5:30 sharp, bed by 9 p.m. (or 9:30 if they’re at their part-time job at the ACU Calling Center). Each is getting a double major in accounting and finance and on track in the College of Business Administration’s five-year program to earn a Master of Accountancy degree. Like the sport in which Allie and Mickey compete, theirs is a daily routine built on self-discipline that somehow elicits in them a most unusual feeling.

“It’s fun,” Allie says, “because we’re enjoying track now.”

Almost any activity is more fun when you’re good at it. ACU’s women’s cross country team is good this year and has a chance to get better.

“We want to keep going,” Mickey says, “because we know the potential we have.”

“We have two new freshmen, Carnley (Graham) and Aubrey (Till), and they’re definitely up there helping us out,” adds Allie. “We’ve improved and Diana’s obviously improved, and she’s right with us. We’re all in a pack.”

Unlike most ACU teams during this four-year transition period into Division I, cross country can compete for the Southland Conference championship because the winners in those sports do not automatically advance to the NCAA playoffs. That gives the Hacketts and their Wildcat pack something significant to shoot for.

With confidence rising at an inverse proportion to their race times, the sisters believe the team will improve on its seventh and fifth place finishes at the last two conference championships, respectively. Will they go as far as to predict victory? For once, these twins who frequently finish each other’s sentences, don’t have identical answers.

Allie: “We can definitely be top three.”

Mickey (in a smiling whisper): “We can win!”

Allie: “We don’t want to jinx it!”

Mickey: “We can win!”

Allie: “I think we have a shot.”

Mickey: “We’re gonna do it!”

Wherever the Wildcats finish, they will be better because of what the Hacketts have brought to the team. Garcia-Munoz rightfully remains the face of ACU women’s cross country. But if you look a little more closely at the program’s face – around the right cheek – you can tell that Allie and Mickey are making their mark.

Lytle to direct new ACU center, CEO Forum

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Dr. Rick Lytle

Dr. Rick Lytle, longtime business college dean at Abilene Christian University, has been named director of its new Center for Leadership and Faith Development and CEO of CEO Forum Inc. in a collaborative relationship with an organization focused on spiritual development of business leaders around the world.

The announcement was made last night at CEO Forum’s biannual meeting in Chicago and Wednesday to faculty and staff in the university’s College of Business Administration. His 16-year deanship will conclude in Spring 2016 and a national search for his successor will begin this fall.

Lytle has been involved with CEO Forum for a decade. The organization comprises approximately 225 Christian CEOs and senior executives who serve companies with at least $100 million in revenue such as P&G, Walmart, ExxonMobil, CitiCorp and Ritz Carlton, among others. His new role includes developing a mentoring program allowing seasoned Christian executives the opportunity to mentor the next generation of leaders.

Rick Lytle 2 5x5 96A portion of a major gift from alumni Mark (’86) and April (Bullock ’89) Anthony will fund COBA’s new center, through which Lytle will continue to direct the college’s Distinguished Speaker Series that brings top-flight business leaders and entrepreneurs to campus, and its popular Leadership Summit retreat for students each January in Colorado. He will continue as professor of marketing.

“While I don’t look forward to leaving the dean’s office, this new center and my role with CEO Forum opens a spectrum of additional opportunities for COBA to partner even more with the world’s best business leaders who also have a heart for Christ,” said Lytle. “I look forward to spending even more time with students and connecting them with some outstanding professionals who can make an important difference in their business careers and their lives.”

“This is an incredible honor for Rick, and it speaks to his Christlike character and reputation among the influential business leaders he has befriended through the years,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). “This innovative partnership will provide our students and alumni with unprecedented access to business executives who are advancing the kingdom in the marketplace.”

Lytle’s tenure as dean saw COBA earn accreditation in 2004 from AACSB International, placing it among the top business schools in the world. The business college also has led ACU in developing short-term, faculty-led study abroad opportunities in Europe, Asia, Australia and Central America. More than 92 percent of COBA graduates find jobs within 90 days – a stellar accomplishment in today’s economy, thanks to a robust internship and career development program. Under Lytle’s leadership, student enrollment in COBA increased from 650 to almost 900 students and the endowment grew from $5 million to $30 million.

He earned a B.B.A. degree in management from Harding University in 1980, an MBA from Oklahoma State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. in marketing from Arizona State University in 1994. A native of Detroit, Mich., Lytle joined ACU’s faculty in 1991.

Lytle posed with three of COBA's top graduating seniors in May 2015: (from left) Neely Borger, Allison Phillips and Ariel Santos.

Lytle posed with three of COBA’s top graduating seniors in May 2015: (from left) Neely Borger, Allison Phillips and Ariel Santos.

Nike swooshes into town for ACU partnership

Director of athletics Lee De Leon and president Dr. Phil Schubert at a press conference this morning about the ACU-Nike agreement.

Director of athletics Lee De Leon (left) and president Dr. Phil Schubert at a press conference this morning about the ACU-Nike agreement.

Branding in intercollegiate athletics can be a two-way street, Lee De Leon inferred this morning in announcing that Abilene Christian University has signed a five-year athletics footwear, apparel and equipment contract with Nike, only the fifth Texas university to partner with the famous Swoosh.

Clearly, that proverbial street runs along Ambler Avenue and Judge Ely Boulevard, near where many of ACU’s 16 athletics teams practice and play during the third year of their four-year transition to NCAA Division I. The Wildcats have been a quick study in their move to the Southland Conference, becoming the only member of the league for which Nike is the exclusive manufacturer of game uniforms, practice gear, sideline apparel and other equipment.

ACU joins Texas, Baylor, TCU and SMU as the only Lone Star State universities to team with the sports apparel and equipment giant.

De Leon, ACU’s director of athletics, said Abilene Christian’s brand was attractive to Nike as well. The Wildcats represent one of intercollegiate sports’ longest-running success stories: 64 national championships, 216 conference titles and the growing reputation of ACU graduates in the business world, such as Emmy Award-winning CBS Sports golf and football producer Lance Barrow (’78).

Another ACU grad, former Wildcat pole vaulter Tobie Hatfield (’87), leads Nike’s design staff in the company’s Innovation Kitchen at its world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The Nike contract begins July 1, 2016, and follows a current three-year agreement with Adidas. Student-athletes, coaches and staff cheered De Leon’s announcement at the conclusion of their Chapel program in Cullen Auditorium this morning, and at a press conference afterward in the Teague Special Events Center.

Only UCLA, Stanford, USC and Division III swimming/diving powerhouse Kenyon have won more NCAA national team titles than ACU.

U.S. News: ACU a leader in innovation, value

ACU ranked No. 2 in the West in a new category of the nation's most innovative academic Institutions.

ACU ranked No. 2 in the West in a new category ranking the nation’s most innovative academic institutions.

It didn’t take long for Abilene Christian University to land on the newest – and perhaps most distinctive – portion of U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of top colleges and universities.

After being ranked first or second on the publication’s list of “Up-and-Coming-Universities” six of the previous seven years, ACU is No. 2 among regional universities in the West on the new “Most Innovative Schools” list for 2016. The ranking is the result of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans being asked to nominate institutions “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.”

ACU was one of just 18 regional universities and 61 in the nation to be recognized, joining others such as Harvard, MIT, Duke, Davidson, Beloit, Butler and High Point.

“We are extremely grateful for that kind of recognition. But in one sense, this new ranking only confirms what others, including our students, have known all along,” said ACU president Dr. Phil Schubert (’91). “We believe we’ve been innovators for each of our previous 109 years. Innovation is something we encourage and honor on our campus, from studying the science of teaching, to being leaders in technology-driven strategies, and to providing the best undergraduate research opportunities in the world.”

Overall, ACU was ranked 17th among regional universities in the West and once again was on U.S. News best-value list of “Great Schools, Great Prices” and “Best Colleges for Veterans.”

At No. 17, ACU is the highest-ranked NCAA Division I Southland Conference-member institutions among 89 regional universities in the West, ahead of Houston Baptist (73rd), Incarnate Word (63rd) and Stephen F. Austin State (87th). Three other Southland members – Central Arkansas (68th), and McNeese State and Nicholls State (tied for 87th) – are ranked in the South region.

Abilene Christian also stood out recently in other “Best Colleges” editions authored by research from Forbes and The Princeton Review.

The university enrolled the second largest freshman class in its history for Fall 2016: 1,070 students (a 9.9 percent increase over 2014) among 4,527 overall.  Forty percent of the freshman class was ethnically diverse and the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate was 80 percent, tying an all-time high for ACU.

Share your medical missions photos, stories

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Kyle Stephens, D.O. (’05 M.Div.)

It wasn’t by design that Kent (’03) and Amber (Carroll ’06) Brantly became Abilene Christian University’s best-known alumni couple. In fact, they will be the first to tell you “we are just regular folks seeking the Lord’s will for our lives,” as Amber said in an interview for the new Spring-Summer 2015 issue of ACU Today magazine.

We know countless other students and alumni may consider themselves “regular folks,” while they serve in extraordinary ways as the hands and feet of Jesus throughout the world.

The current issue of ACU Today spotlights several of these, among them: Lesca Hadley, M.D. (’92); Randy (’94) and Anda (Adams ’94) Brown; Taylor Tidmore, M.D. (’99); Kyle Stephens, D.O. (’05 M.Div.); Ray (’80) and Star (Light ’82) Ferguson; David M. Vanderpool, M.D. (’82) and his wife, Laurie (Stallings ’81); David Jr. (’10) and Devin (Anderson ’11) Vanderpool; Shepherd Mbumwae (’95) and his wife, Ruhtt Jaime (’96); and Danny Sims (’85) and his wife Suzanne (Michna ’89).

Lesca Hadley, M.D. (’92)

Lesca Hadley, M.D. (’92)

We’d like to spotlight others.

Whether you serve as a full-time medical missionary or devote your vacation days to volunteer, we ask you to share your favorite photos online with the hashtag #ACUmissions. Include a sentence or two telling us about the photo and why it is meaningful to you.

Or you can email your favorites to Robin Saylor,

We will share the best images with our readers on this blog, in the next printed issue and via our social media channels. We look forward to seeing the ways you are working to bring healing and the Gospel to others in need.