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




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.



David Ramsey 125x175 96


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).

ACU Remembers: Dr. Donice Kelly Pruitt

Donice Kelly Pruitt 225x300 96Dr. Donice (Hawes) Kelly Pruitt, former longtime chair of the Abilene Christian University home economics department, died July 7, 2016, in Lubbock at age 94.

Pruitt was born April 21, 1922, in Benton, Kan., and graduated from high school in Whitewater, Kan., in 1940.

She attended Harding University before earning a bachelor’s degree in home economics education in 1943 and a master’s degree in 1951, both from Kansas State University; and a doctorate in home economics, sociology and higher education from The Ohio State University in 1965. She also did graduate studies at Penn State University, and became a Certified Home Economist in 1987.

Pruitt taught home economics in three Kansas public school systems before joining the ACU faculty in 1948. She left ACU to become associate professor of home economics at KSU from 1955-68, and professor and chair of the Department of Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising at Oklahoma State University from 1968-74. She returned to ACU in 1974, serving as chair of the Department of Home Economics and Family Studies before retiring in 1987.

She was a member of the National Council of Home Economics Administrators, American Home Economics Association, Texas Home Economics Association, and central region chair for the Association of College Professors of Clothing and Textiles. She also was a longtime member of Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene.

She wed Alvin Kelly on Aug. 24, 1969, in Stillwater, Okla. and they were married 28 years until his death in 1997. She married Walter Pruitt in 2000 and he died in 2005. She also was preceded in death by her parents, Will and Thurza Hawes, and her sister, Averil Henry.

Among survivors are her four stepchildren, Kathy (Kelly) Feuerhelm, Mike Kelly (’80), Celeste (Pruitt ’77) Thompson and Allen Pruitt (’82); 15 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

ACU Remembers: Erma Jean Loveland

Erma Jean Loveland headshot 200x250 96Longtime Abilene Christian University library archivist Erma Jean (Alkire ’58) Loveland, 79, died June 22, 2016, in Abilene.

She was born Oct. 2, 1936, in Greene County, Ind., and graduated from Kimberly (Idaho) High School in 1954. She earned a B.S. degree in education with special emphasis on business from ACU, a M.S. in education from College of Idaho in 1966 and a M.L.S. degree from the University of North Texas in 1989. She married Charles Ray Loveland (’60) on May 31, 1959, in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Loveland was a teacher at Buhl (Idaho) High School (1958-59); Trent (Texas) High School (1959-60); Western Christian College in North Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada (1960-61); Burley (Idaho) High School (1966-69); Noodle Horn (Texas) High School (1969-73); Draughan’s Business College (1973-74); and Jim Ned (Texas) High School (1974-80). She was a special collections librarian in ACU’s Brown Library, and archivist for the Center for Restoration Studies, from 1984 until her retirement in 2003.

She was a member of Hillcrest Church of Christ for 47 years, the Daughters of the American Revolution (John Davis Chapter), Texas Library Association, Christian College Librarians, and ACU’s Centennial Photography Archivists Team. She assisted with the Restoration Serials Index and the Stone Campbell List.

Loveland was preceded in death by her parents, Orval Lyman Alkire and Elsie Lenore (Stevens) Alkire.

Among survivors are Charles, her husband of 57 years; a son, Brad Loveland (’84); a daughter, LeAnn (Loveland ’87) Littlefield; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister, Norma (Alkire ’61) Harrell.

Alum finds kidney donor with heart for helping

Abel Alvarez 3 600x400 96Abel Alvarez (’82), the Abilene Christian University trustee profiled in this earlier blog post, is scheduled for a life-saving kidney transplant Friday, July 1, in San Antonio.

His successful search for a donor was boosted when the parent of an ACU student read our March 2 post about Alvarez’ need for someone with two healthy kidneys and rare O negative blood type. He responded within hours to the McAllen, Texas, minister.

In all, seven people came forward to volunteer shortly after the ACU Today post. A battery of medical tests of several prospects during the following weeks led Alvarez and his doctors to choose a 48-year-old North Texas man whose son was a freshman at ACU in 2015-16. He is not a graduate of Abilene Christian but was touched by watching a Moody Coliseum Chapel presentation on the internet and reading about Alvarez’ need.

A generosity.com web page allows friends to help with the $75,000 tab not covered by Alvarez’ health insurance.

Watch this blog for news of the two men’s transplant surgery and the inspiring story behind their providential pairing.