The Return of the ACU AMA Chapter

Written by junior marketing and art major, Isabella Maradiaga

With over 30,000 members, the American Marketing Association (AMA) is “the essential community for marketers” that offers national conferences, events, and professional training. As marketing continues to play an integral role in the business world, the demand for a similar community has grown in educational institutions. For this reason, AMA now has 390 college chapters and 14,000 student members across North America. Students are joined in collegiate chapters by faculty and staff who share their passion to grow in their field. ACU’s College of Business Administration wishes for students to have the same opportunity to be a part of this association and has officially re-joined this professional association with our own student chapter.

Reagan Morgan (’08), Director of Marketing for PFSweb, discusses marketing and customer service with AMA members

Marketing majors have been looking for real-world experience in their field and the American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter is back on campus, looking to provide opportunities for students to learn and grow. A few years ago, this student organization was very popular for organizing events like branding workshops and working along with faculty to develop marketing plans for the annual AMA International Collegiate Conference where students traveled to join over 1,700 marketers in New Orleans. At this competition, students presented their marketing plans on a case study determined by AMA to compete with other universities. AMA also provided students with the opportunity to have hands-on experiences, participate in networking events, and meet professionals in their field. Last spring, the newly formed AMA officer team hit the ground running to launch the return of this organization. In April, a group of five students led by AMA sponsor and Enrollment & Student Development Manager, Lindsay Palmer, went on a field trip to visit companies PFSweb, LiveArea, and American Airlines. In visiting these organizations, students had the opportunity to learn about the internal procedures that lead to successful marketing decisions and to meet with ACU alumni who are currently serving marketing roles in these companies. Because of the time volunteered by our alums, our students were able to learn about different areas in their field, such as: digital channels, customer loyalty programs, global marketing, channel strategy and customer service.

AMA members meet with Kelly Lytle (’12), Senior Analyst for American Airlines Premium Guest Services

At their visit to the American Airlines office, students were briefed on all of the different loyalty and customer service programs that American Airlines offers as well as having the opportunity to visit the Admiral’s Club, where they were able to observe the importance of the smallest marketing decisions, including things like partnerships with hand soap and printer brands, and how those decisions impact the customer experience.

After such a significant networking and learning experience, AMA’s officer team is working on a plan to provide similar opportunities to all of its members. This student organization wants to encourage students from every major to consider the chance to set themselves apart in the marketplace, gain some digital marketing skills, and enjoy networking events with business professionals. AMA’s President, Kaman Turner, says, “Everyone should be a part of AMA, especially marketing majors. The vast network and real life experiences AMA provides is THE place for young professionals to grow and build their own brand; while also working with others to impact the community and make a difference right now.”

Make sure you check out the ACU student chapter for AMA this fall and start gaining some real-world experience! For questions, contact Lindsay Palmer at lindsay.palmer@acu.edu.

COBA is Saying Goodbye to Three Legends in the Classroom

The end of the academic year brings about the season of awards, recognition, and change whether it occurs in elementary school, high school, or college. While we celebrate our graduates and the next chapter of their lives, the College of Business Administration is not immune to transition, either. We are  saying farewell to three inspirational professors: Dr. Rob Byrd (Associate Professor of IT and Computing), Dr. Malcolm Coco (Professor of Human Resource Management), and Dr. Terry Pope (Professor of Finance) as they retire. Students, colleagues, friends and family joined to honor them at receptions on May 6th where tributes and well wishes were shared with each of the retiring professors.

Rob Byrd with SITC students Paula Berggren and Lauren Walker

Rob Byrd came to ACU in 2009 and was known for not only helping students dive deep into the world of Information Technology and Security, but also helping them develop a deeper faith and spiritual walk. Recent SITC graduate, Lauren Walker (’19) described Byrd as a passionate teacher who wanted to maximize students’ learning and push them to be their best selves. She said, “He never missed an opportunity to show us how the knowledge and skills we were gaining can transcend all areas of life. He never settled on just letting us ‘get by’ with our education. He constantly challenged us and pushed for excellence and innovation. As a mentor, he was a person who saw the best in his students. He wasn’t afraid to say the hard things, and encouraged us to go after the things in life we never thought we could achieve. ” Dr. Byrd baptized Lauren last October and she recounted that Byrd was “just simply himself”, never afraid to be transparent, witty, cynical, and show a genuine interest in his students. She said, “If anyone of us needed help with something school related, or even personal, it wasn’t a doubt that he was just one phone call or text away.”

Dr. Byrd

While some students might have been intimidated by a professor like Byrd, Walker said, “The last thing I guess I want to say is that like all of the SITC professors, Dr. Byrd is so special. Dr. Byrd is such a softy, but of course he would never say it. He has such a servant heart, and has touched so many students’ lives over the years, and of course I just happen to be one of them. He’s one of those professors I will end up telling my children stories about!”

Byrd is transitioning into a new career as Staff Technical Project Engineer with Collins Aerospace at their headquarters location in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said, “This position will be a challenging adventure for me-just what I was hoping for. Working at this level will allow me to be involved and responsible for both the design/development and the budgetary/systems aspects of the assigned projects and programs. The nature of the work will be classified, but will be in support of national defense and will draw from my education, experience and certifications. I thank my colleagues for their support.”

Coco with students Grace Smith and Dayle Hayes

Malcolm Coco arrived at ACU in 1989. Coco was well known for helping students find jobs through his internship class, mentoring students through Human Resource classes and the Student Chapter of the Human Resource Management organization, his love for the outdoors, and playing the Beach Boys loudly during office hours.

Coco said that when he came to ACU, he only intended to teach for 2 or 3 years and then planned to pursue a career as a pilot for an airlines. Thirty years later, he says, “I’m still teaching and enjoying every minute. Associating with great Christian faculty and staff and having the opportunity to shape young lives has been a blessing to me. I’m wondering where the 30 years went to!”

Dr. Coco with his family

When asked what the best advice he would offer to students would be, he encouraged students to be the best you that you can be. Always strive to be your bosses “go to” person, meaning when there is an important project with a short turn around and it needs to be done correctly, you want your boss to always think of  you as the person he or she trusts to get the job done. He said, “Winners make it happen and losers let it happen.”

To his colleagues, Coco said, “It has been a blessing to me to have the fortune of knowing so many God fearing, Christian faculty. Your example and support for me and my family for these past 30 years has been tremendous. Thanks for the memories.”

Retirement for Coco will be a mixed bag. He will continue to teach as an adjunct faculty member and will continue to manage the COBA internship program. Coco has no plans to slow down. He said, “My children and grandchildren all live in Abilene, so I’m planning for some serious grandchild time. Hobbies of hunting and fishing will continue. I have already joined several civic organizations and intend to do volunteer work for several non-profits.”

Pope with daughter Abby Pimentel and wife Gayla

When he wasn’t teaching a finance class like STAR (Student Trading and Research), you could find Terry Pope on the golf course, working on his new baseball podcast with Tim Johnston, or in his shop working on his next furniture project.

Terry Pope answered the call by Jack Griggs to come and teach at ACU in 1992. Pope said that teaching at ACU has been a great experience, “When I came to Abilene, having already worked for twenty-three years in industry and academics, I was thinking that I would teach for about fifteen years. However, teaching at ACU was so rewarding that I just kept showing up, year after year. ACU is a special place to our family, since Gayla and I, all three of our children, and three of our grandchildren have attended.  Our other six grandchildren will likely follow in these steps.” Pope went on to say that it’s been great to be a part of the ACU community.  He said, “I felt that everyone on campus strove for excellence in what they did and sought to be pleasing to God.  Being a part of that environment made me a better person.”

Terry, Gayla, Beth, and Don Pope

When asked if there was anything he’d like students to know, he said, without question that the favorite part of teaching at ACU was getting to know so many students.  Pope estimates that he has taught about four thousand students and tried to get to know each one of them saying, “I have many great friendships today with former students.  Every student was different – different backgrounds, different interests, and different personalities.  That diversity made our community better. I hope that I communicated to my students that being a Jesus follower comes before all else.  While I taught Finance, I said ‘the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing’.  Brilliance in Finance is not the main thing, but only a compliment to following Jesus.”

Pope said that his colleagues at ACU were great and continue to be his close friends.  He recounted, “I remember telling someone early in my career at ACU that I had underestimated the joy of being able to work daily in a Christian environment.  I felt a closeness and shared purpose with colleagues all over campus, even though we might not have been well acquainted. To all of these colleagues, I say ‘keep it going’.  Investment managers must communicate to their clients that ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future results.’  Every day is a new day that requires our best efforts and a continuing renewal of our minds.”

Pope plans on staying in Abilene and continuing to be closely connected to ACU while spending time playing more golf and tennis, doing more woodworking, taking piano, traveling, studying, and volunteering. “There are many more things that I will want to do that time will allow.”

Combined, the three educators have almost 75 years of experience teaching ACU students. Their dedication to students and peers as well as their example of excellence in the classroom and in their faith walks will truly be missed. The words “thank you” seem inadequate for what they have meant to the lives of thousands of students.

Click on the highlighted links below to view pictures and video messages in tribute to each of the retiring professors.

Pics from the retirement reception

Rob Byrd video

Malcolm Coco video

Terry Pope video

Au Revoir to the Class of 2019

The end of the school year brings about the season of awards, recognition and many changes, whether it occurs in elementary school, high school, or college. We’d love to share a recap of our celebrations over the last month as we honored our graduates and their transition into the next chapter of their lives.

MAcc Class of 2019

The Master of Accountancy program holds an annual luncheon honoring their graduates and recognizing an outstanding student. This year’s luncheon, sponsored by Ernst & Young, featured an inspiring speech from 2008 MAcc alum, Dustin Marshall who works as a Senior Assurance Manager with EY in Fort Worth, Texas. He encouraged the graduates not to make working their sole priority but to get involved with a church and develop a support system there, noting that the support of your spiritual family is invaluable in helping you navigate the difficulties that life will inevitably bring to each of us. Lexi Koon, from Arvada, CO, received the Outstanding MAcc Graduate Award for 2019 for her excellent grades, character, and integrity. Of her time at ACU, Lexi said, “The professors, the faculty, and the students have shown me what it is to look at those who are different from me and want to learn from them, to learn how to love them, and to be surrounded by a circle of people who have your back 100%. As I leave ACU, I feel completely supported and surrounded by an extraordinary amount of love and I am thankful.”

You can view and download or order pics of the MAcc luncheon by clicking here.

Business Graduates from the Class of 2019

The COBA Senior Dinner was held on May 10th, giving faculty, staff, grads and their families time to reflect on their years in the College of Business and to recognize outstanding faculty and staff. It’s COBA tradition to have students speak on behalf of their class and to have a parent speak on behalf of the families of the graduates. This year’s speakers expressed their gratitude for their experience in COBA and challenged their peers to integrate their faith into their vocation and personal life.

Dr. Kathy Crockett

Parent speaker, Dr. Kathy Crockett, mom to Calley (’19) an accounting major and Maddy, a sophomore marketing major, said she was, “Grateful for faculty and staff who strive for excellence and also love the Lord. That my daughter is taught by excellent professors living out their faith is incredibly important to us. My husband, Steve, and I are so confident in the curriculum of what Calley learned. She did well in her internship and was offered a full time position, which is another marker of the excellence of the program. We are grateful for the ways the faculty and staff also served Calley. They knew her name, said hello even off campus, assisted with resume and career advice, and also life advice at times when things may have been hard. We hope the faculty and staff will always remember the good you do – in and out of the classroom. We certainly will.”

Student speakers Hanna Roberts (’19), management/marketing major from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Kevin Pantoja (’19), finance/management/accounting major from Roscoe, Texas spoke on behalf of graduating COBA students. Hanna said, “We are grateful for the leadership and examples of character that have been set for us by professors and faculty who became mentors and friends. Most of all, we are grateful for the presence of Christ on this campus and in the Mabee Business Building that fills those within it. We are forever changed for the faith and life that has been poured into us during our time here.”

Kevin added, “It’s important to be thinking of the path you are currently on and asking yourself if it will truly make you happy.  In other words, asking, ‘Am I happy with where I am right now?’ and understanding that you can always keep learning and keep pushing yourself to higher standards even after college. I am so thankful to everyone at COBA for helping me to believe in myself and helping me find new opportunities that I would enjoy after graduation. COBA is definitely blessed to have some of the best professors in the business and their compassion has reached every student in more than one way.”

At the end of the academic year, students have the opportunity to show their appreciation for their professors by voting for the COBA Teacher of the Year for Management Sciences and for Accounting and Finance. This year’s winners were Dr. Dennis Marquardt (Assistant Professor of Management) and Dr. Jonathan Stewart (Professor of Finance). Dr. Marquardt said, “Every graduation is special and this one was especially so since several of this year’s graduates started at ACU the same time I did in August 2015. Many students at the senior dinner were in my Introduction to Business courses that very first semester and it has been such a unique privilege to walk alongside them each year until now. These graduates not only worked hard learning skills and abilities worthy of a resume, but it was inspiring to also see them grow in virtues worthy of eternity. Thank you for your hard work and for the ways you challenged and inspired me. As you go from here may you seek God and His ways with all of your being, you will not regret it!”

Tim Johnston, Outstanding COBA Staff Person of the Year

Dean Brad Crisp gave the Staff Person of the Year Award for COBA to Assistant Dean, Tim Johnston. Dr. Crisp said, “Tim offers great mentorship to our students, both professionally and personally. His fingerprints can also be seen in our efforts at professional development and external connections.” Johnston added that, “Each year it is a privilege to meet and thank the parents of our graduating seniors.”

Dr. Katie Wick

The Weathers Fellowship for Outstanding Junior Faculty recognizes an untenured faculty member who shows outstanding potential for the classroom and for research. This year’s recipient was Dr. Katie Wick, who Crisp said, “Has in a very short period of time, re-established a strong stream of research and become a valued colleague.”

Dr. Monty Lynn

The Dean’s Award for Research was awarded to Dr. Monty Lynn, who has recent publications in outlets as diverse as the Journal of Business Education, Journal of Biblical Integration in Business, and Journal of Development Studies in his distinguished research career.

Dr. Andy Little

The Dean’s Award for Service and Leadership was given to Dr. Andy Little for leading the charge of COBA’s accreditation efforts as we successfully navigated another re-accreditation process with AACSB International.

Dr. Terry Pope gave a blessing to the students through scripture, encouraging them to stay close to the Lord and lean on Him as they go through life. Dr. Crisp concluded the evening saying, “Students, as you prepare for graduation, know that your relationship with ACU and COBA does not end. We want to continue to be a part of your life, and we want you to be a part of ours. We want to hear from you about your experiences, to encourage you in exploring additional learning opportunities, to provide opportunities for you to financially invest in COBA, to invite you to mentor current students, and most importantly, we want to support you as you discover the places where your faith and business converge.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2019. Go change the world, Wildcats!

Click here to view pics from the dinner.

 

COBA Receives AACSB Accreditation Extension

We’re excited to announce that we received official confirmation from AACSB International that the accreditation of our business programs has been extended for five years. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network. The accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools and only nine other private schools in Texas have received this honor.

aacsb-logo

 

“This accreditation extension affirms ACU’s long-standing commitment to quality residential business education and for the first time endorses the quality of our recently launched online business programs. We have once again shown that ACU belongs among the best business schools in the world,” said Dr. Brad Crisp, dean of the College of Business Administration at ACU. “While this recognition is gratifying, the most important comment we heard from our peer review team is how clearly they could see our commitment to the university’s Christian mission in all that we do.” Our mission is to glorify God by creating a distinctively Christian environment in which excellent teaching, combined with scholarship, promotes the intellectual, personal and spiritual growth of business students, and educates them for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. Our commitment to faith is what drives our desire to curate excellent programs that inspire and grow our students.

Not only does this distinction confirm the quality of our programs, but it also benefits our students when they are competing for jobs and internships. “The caliber of the education I have received has certainly made me competitive,” said Hanna Roberts, a senior management and marketing major from Corpus Christi, TX. After spending the summer interning in corporate citizenship at Texas Instruments, Hanna accepted a job as a marketing associate at Texas Instruments upon graduation. “I felt more than prepared in terms of hard skills when it came to contending with the other interns for a job. But beyond that, I felt that I had something more than just an education. The mentoring and close relationships I have developed within COBA have pushed me to become a better, more whole person who is defined by strong values and a focus on faith, which I believe speaks more to employers than textbook knowledge ever will.”

Students like Hanna are a testament to the fact that not only will students receive an excellent, high-quality education in the College of Business Administration but they will also be equipped to enter into their vocation inspired to be world changers who share their faith and feel connected to their alma mater. In the next five years, we look forward to inspiring the next generation of business leaders through the competitive academic programs and Christian mission that enabled us to receive this accreditation. We would like to thank all of the faculty, staff, and students that contributed in many different ways to our accreditation extension and for their commitment to developing our community.

 

 

Student Spotlight: Colton Powell

Meet Colton Powell, a senior finance major from Nashville, TN. While at ACU, Colton has been a part of the Griggs Center, Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, the Fraternity of Galaxy, the Honors College, on the executive council for the American Enterprise Institute, and served as the Executive Treasurer of the Student Government Association. After graduation, Colton will be working for Enexor, a bioenergy startup in Nashville. Enexor is launching this summer after four years of research and development and has one of the first systems in the world that creates clean energy from waste. Colton will be working in business development for Enexor and finding clients who will benefit from their services, working closely with numbers to demonstrate how Enexor can save clients money, and expanding the business as a whole. Before moving to Nashville, Colton will spend the summer in Germany working with an investment company and staying in ACU’s villa in Leipzig. Colton will also use his time in Germany to begin working for Enexor and creating relationships with potential clients there.

Some of the most impactful moments during his time at ACU came from the experiences Colton took advantage of outside of the classroom and the faith-based relationships that are a cornerstone of the campus. “In terms of just education, ACU is obviously elite and I have learned a lot,” said Colton. “But I could have gotten a similar education at other places. ACU’s relational aspects have truly made the difference for me and transformed me into someone who holds my values high, prioritizes faith, and has learned how to bring that into life after graduation.” Two of his favorite experiential learning opportunities were Leadership Summit and studying abroad with COBA. Leadership Summit taught Colton about what it truly means to be successful in business and to work at having an impact that is greater than just a role in finance or a bottom line. The interactions he had with faculty, staff, and speakers gave Colton a perspective that connected faith with business in a way that impacts him today and will continue to influence him the rest of his life. Colton also studied abroad in Asia with COBA, where he was able to meet with different banks, businesses, and other companies. “Seeing everything that I had studied about business being applied in such a different cultural context definitely expanded my horizons,” he said. “It was incredible to see how similar many things were despite being in a culture so unlike my own.”

Colton will be graduating in May but wants to encourage underclassmen to take full advantage of what ACU has to offer. “You can have such a different experience from someone, even someone in your same major, by getting involved on campus beyond just going to class,” Colton shared. “What I have done outside of the classroom is what has shaped my four years the most. All of the different organizations I have been a part of, the mentoring I have received, and the programs I have participated in have prepared me for my future and I feel I have gotten the most out of ACU for having participated in them.”

Mackenzie Dalton, Fulbright Scholar

Teaching English in Malaysia was never part of the plan until Mackenzie Dalton received word that she had received the Fulbright Scholar award. In January, Mackenzie, a senior pre-law accounting major from Little Rock, Arkansas, will be deferring law school and moving across the world to Malaysia where she will work as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in a local school. “I had always thought about maybe teaching English abroad,” said Mackenzie. “This seemed like a good opportunity but even though I have an English minor and am working to get my TESOL certification, I thought that I might not get the award since I am a business major and do not really have a teaching background.”

The Fulbright Award was started in 1946 after a bill introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright was passed to use surplus war property to began an international educational exchange program. It has grown to become one of the largest educational exchange programs for students and young professionals and awards 2,000 grants each year in over 140 countries. Mackenzie started the long and intensive application process in August. She began having conversations with her parents and Dr. Jason Morris, Dean of the Honors College and two-time Fulbright grantee in August. She spent hours deciding which country to apply to, writing personal statements, and perfecting her application before submitting it in October while also applying to law schools at the same time. “The waiting was the hardest,” she reflected. “And then I made it to the next round and still did not know what was going to happen.” She received the award for teaching in Malaysia, which she chose because of their reputation of valuing the Fulbright program and hosting their grantees well.

Mackenzie will not know exactly where she is placed until she arrives in January nor what age level she will be teaching. She will work 30 hours a week teaching English in a school at a secondary level or below and will also be encouraged to guide community engagement projects for the students. On her application, Mackenzie suggested starting a business club for the students but is also interested in other activities, like sports, and is excited for the opportunity to interact with the students outside of class. “I am the most excited to get to know the kids that I will be working with,” she said. “I am also looking forward to learning about the culture and having a different post-grad experience than many of my peers.”

Teaching English abroad may be new to her, but being abroad is not. While at ACU, Mackenzie studied abroad through COBA in Europe and has also traveled internationally on her own. “I do think that my study abroad experience will help with the immersion,” Mackenzie noted. “I will not know the language in Malaysia well at first, but I did not know the languages when I studied abroad. I learned how to travel and be okay in an unfamiliar culture.” Beyond study abroad, Mackenzie is certain that college and COBA have prepared her – and every other student – to be adaptable, hard-working, and critical thinkers, which will serve students well no matter their post-grad plans. We are extremely proud of Mackenzie and excited to see the good work that she will do in Malaysia.