On Tuesday, March 26th, many gathered at the annual Ruth Allen Griggs Honor Luncheon, founded by Jack Griggs and Ann Griggs Berger in honor of their mother, Ruth Allen Griggs. They wanted a way to commemorate the spirit of generosity that Ruth Allen Griggs had in abundance and did so by creating an opportunity for student scholarship recipients and donors to interact. Around the room, stories about times at ACU were shared as well as stories about opportunities that demonstrate the importance and impact of giving back.
Two students were invited to speak about how the scholarships they received allowed them to experience a wide and unique variety of opportunities during their time at ACU. Kevin Pantoja, a senior finance and accounting major and first-generation college student from Roscoe, TX, spoke about the ways he has been able to live out Proverbs 27:17. “My time in the College of Business has allowed me the opportunity to grow not only as a man but as a man of God,” said Kevin. “Because of the interactions with my fellow students or with the amazing faculty and staff that we are blessed with, I can honestly say that I would not be standing here if it was not for the generosity of those in the room.” While at ACU, Kevin has studied abroad in Germany, attended Leadership Summit, been involved on campus, and most importantly has intentionally strived to build up the communities around him as others have built him up.
Elisabeth Danelski, a senior accounting major from Burleson, TX, also shared her story at the luncheon. Elisabeth spoke of goals and plans, but mostly the opportunities she has been able to have at ACU that were not in her plan. Studying abroad twice, serving on short term mission trips, attending conferences, and immersing herself in many other experiences unique to ACU was not in her plan but was made possible through Elisabeth’s hard work and the generosity of others. “In my time here, I have learned a lot of things,” Elisabeth explained. “I have broadened my horizons, I’ve cultivated a wider worldview, I’ve shared my story and had the pleasure of hearing so many others. But the one thing I will cherish the most is learning that the incredible experiences I had that weren’t in or didn’t go according to ‘my plan’ happened because it was never supposed to be my plan in the first place.” Elisabeth looks forward to making it a priority to pay the opportunities she has had forward once she graduates and urged her peers to do the same.
David Shewmaker (’92), a member of the Dean’s Council, also spoke at the luncheon. He reflected on times at ACU and shared his heart for the students and the community they experience here. All of the speakers were inspiring and reminded all attending of the value and importance of generosity. Dean Brad Crisp said “the Ruth Allen Griggs luncheon was once again a highlight of the year. Kevin and Elisabeth did an impressive job of sharing their stories as first-generation college students and expressing their gratitude to our donors. I am grateful we have the opportunity to bring our students and donors together for an event like this.” We were proud to be able to host this luncheon, honor Ruth Ann Griggs, and to once again see the effect that a spirit of generosity can have on generations.
We are pleased to introduce you to Daniel Garcia (’04), who will be moving to a full-time faculty role within the College of Business Administration this fall. Garcia is from Cancún, Mexico and came to ACU as an international student. He graduated with majors in management and marketing, a certificate in missions, and a minor in global studies. Soon after graduation, Garcia began working in admissions as a multicultural marketing specialist to help recruit a more diverse student body across the U.S. and internationally. He has a masters degree in intercultural communication, a certificate in conflict resolution, and is finishing his M.B.A. through COBA’s new online program. He is currently the Director of Multicultural and International Enrollment and also teaches International Business (BUSA 419) and Principles of Marketing (MKTG 320). His wife, Yukari, is from Japan and they have two little girls and a one-month-old son. Garcia and his family attend the bilingual service at University Church of Christ.
Q: What drew you to teaching?
A: I never considered teaching as a career until fairly recently. Several years ago, I was in Hong Kong on a recruiting trip and met a COBA study abroad group lead by Dr. Phil Vardiman. I was flying to Shanghai to recruit students at a university and invited Dr. Vardiman to come along, as students like to hear from faculty during the recruiting process. After watching me give a presentation to the prospective students about ACU, Dr. Vardiman started a conversation with me about teaching. Many more conversations later, I started teaching part-time for COBA last semester and am excited to move to full-time in the fall.
Q: Why do you enjoy teaching and working with college students?
A: A large part of my job in admissions and recruiting was talking up ACU and describing why it is such a unique university. One of the biggest factors that set ACU apart from other universities is our faculty. They are remarkably caring, intentional, and truly make a difference in students’ lives. After talking with Dr. Vardiman, I realized that I did not just want to talk about that difference, I wanted to make that difference. I am excited to help students learn how to hold a more global worldview. The more we learn about other cultures, the more we learn about our own and discover peace as we begin to understand each other. I believe in not just teaching content, but presenting it in new and innovative ways that emphasize a continually expanding worldview.
Q: Outside of teaching, what passions/hobbies do you have?
A: I have traveled internationally for ten years for work. Traveling is one of those professions that when people hear what you do, they assume you are just on a glorified vacation. There are also different perceptions of some places over others and the idea of glamorous travel wears off very quickly. To continuously travel for work for so long, you have to have a passion for what you do and a passion for other cultures. I love learning how those different from myself think, why they do what they do, and watching people solve the universally same problems in different ways.
Q: What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?
A: I play on the “Sunflowers of Death” soccer team with Dr. Jessup and have a superhero alter ego, Chido Man, who represents the idea that God has given us talents to make a difference in the world.
Garcia will continue to teach International Business and Principles of Marketing as he assumes his full-time position in the fall. We are excited to see what he does in this role and to welcome him further into the COBA family.