Written by special contributor Lance Fleming

Each day, students across the ACU campus display the university’s mission to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world through their actions and acts of service on the campus. Each year, students like those are nominated by their academic departments. From those nominations, 50 scholars are selected by the ACU Faculty Senate to receive the University Scholars Award for their graduating class.

Among those 50 scholars who demonstrated outstanding scholarship by maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher, earning 90 hours towards their degree, and continuing the pursuit of knowledge in their research field, seven are students from the College of Business Administration. The COBA students who received this year’s University Scholars Award are Kathryn Crawford, Gracie Isham, Matthew Roberson, Will Harris, Diego Lozano Welsh, Ben Blackmon, and Garrett Powell.

We will highlight each of the seven over the next month, starting with Gracie Isham, the youngest of the four Isham siblings to attend ACU. A native of Decatur, she is a member of Ko Jo Kai, has served on the Executive CEO Leadership Board and the Executive Philanthropy Board, and sang in the Foundation and Grace Note a capella groups.

A double major in accounting and finance, she has already accepted a job offer at Weaver, an accounting firm in downtown Fort Worth. She is in the process of applying to schools across Texas so she can work toward getting her MBA.

Gracie recently answered a few questions about her time at ACU and in COBA, covering everything from her most influential class to the most unique thing she’s been a part of while at ACU:

Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself at ACU?
Isham: “The most important thing I have learned is that we all need community, and that community looks different for each individual. As I’ve gone through the troughs and peaks of college, my community has kept me stable and looking toward my purpose: to be a good steward of God’s gifts. With this being said, my definition of community has changed throughout my time here. I would have used to say that community looks like being plugged in with a vast group of people across all areas and interests in my life. Still, as my time in college ends, my definition of a true community has changed to this: my caring roommate that sews the hole in my shirt, my lifetime friend that walks my dog while I’m sick, my friend that offers me a prayer whenever I need, and my family who constantly supports all of my future ideas. Community isn’t about quantity but the quality of people who know you best.”

Q: What professor or class has impacted you most and why?
Isham: “The class that had the most impact on me was the strategic philanthropy class I am currently taking (The why behind this answer is located in the last question!).”

Q: What has been your experience in COBA?
Isham: “COBA has been a great experience overall. It has offered me many opportunities to grow by presenting me with leadership opportunities, networking events, and an overall supportive environment with people who want to see me succeed!”

Q: Of all the things you’ve experienced at ACU, what do you believe will have the most impact on your life?
Isham: ACU’s constant push toward turning its faculty and students toward God will have the biggest impact on my life. I have grown spiritually through all the big chapels, small group chapels, the professor’s daily class prayers, and constant spaces of worship. The things I gained through these experiences are things I will implement into my life forever.”

Q: What is the most unique thing you’ve been a part of or learned at ACU?
Isham: The most unique thing I have been a part of at ACU has been sitting as the chairperson of the Strategic Philanthropy Board. I have had the opportunity to visit various non-profits in Abilene and witness God’s good work through the people of each organization. Through this, as a board, we have chosen several non-profits to allocate $50,000 for their use. This has challenged me to engage in more philanthropic endeavors in my life and home community.”