Candlelight Devo

Many Memories. One Campus.

Time-honored traditions.

More than 4,500 students. Several hundred faculty and staff members. Tens of thousands of alumni. We’re all individuals, each with our own unique ACU experience, but what makes us all proud Wildcats is those shared moments -- the togetherness of tradition.

Sing Song
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A Capella: “The Singing College”

Abilene Christian was once known as “The Singing College,” thanks to the unbeaten 1950 Wildcat football team, which belted out heavenly tunes such as “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” on radio shows when it wasn’t smashing foes into the next county. Visitors to Chapel and athletics events are always taken aback by what must sound like the world’s largest glee club.

Candlelight Devo

Candlelight Devo: A Gathering that Glows

The sounds of thousands of voices praising God by the glow of just as many candles. The Candlelight Devotional, affectionately called Devo, is one of the highlights of Welcome Week. Just before Commencement each May, graduating seniors end their ACU experience as they started: gathering together for another Devo – often with faculty, staff and local alumni – to share one more memorable time together.


Chapel: A Time for Praise and Fellowship

The centerpiece of this daily campus gathering is a brief time of devotion, a cappella singing, praise and fellowship. Students also hear from guest speakers, share announcements, and generally take time to remind each other that ACU is not just a university: it’s family. Chapel lasts about 30 minutes, but the experience makes a lifelong impression.

Sing Song: A Campus-wide A Capella Production

On Thursday, Feb. 14, 1957, in Sewell Auditorium, Dr. Robert D. Hunter directed ACU’s first Sing Song. In a Chapel announcement, it was described as “the giant Sing Song contest which will be free and open to the public and is designed to encourage club participation and to demonstrate that we are truly ‘the Singing College.’ “

For years, students stood on risers in choral style and sang songs as they were originally written. Then they started wearing simple costumes, moving with the music, and, eventually, changing the words to songs to fit the times.

Now, of course, Sing Song is a major production featuring every club and class and several hosts and hostesses. It sells out nearly every year, with Saturday night finale tickets as hard to find as parking places within a block or two of Moody Coliseum.


Homecoming: Fun, Food, Friends and Football

This busy weekend in October is full of a whirlwind of traditions: a waving, sometimes weeping queen crowned at halftime at the football game; an early-morning parade, sort of a Sing Song on wheels; the Homecoming musical spectacle at the Abilene Civic Center; food and games for all ages. Alumni converge on campus to hug a friend, eat some barbecue, watch the leaves fall and wonder where the years went.

Freshman Follies: Trial by Talent

First-year students barely have time to learn the combination to their mailboxes before being thrust into ACU’s music-happy environment. They get an early chance to display their creativity in a free-wheeling performance called Freshman Follies each fall, showcasing their amazing talents and abilities during an ACU open house.

Freshmen Follies Performance
Open Ceremony

Opening Assembly: A Purple Processional

Cheers cascade during the Parade of Flags as each state and nation represented in the student body is announced. A student from each country and state carries his or her flag, often dressed symbolically in cultural attire. A time of devotion is marked by the traditional singing of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” the reading of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill, and prayer. After a special speaker, the university president/provost pronounces the school year to be “officially in session!” and the Big Purple sends everyone scurrying to lunch or class with “March Grandioso.”

All in all, it is 60 minutes of soul-stirring stuff to celebrate the start of another school year and reinforce why we do what we do. Guests will tell you that few universities do it better than ACU.

Purple Fridays: A Show of Spirit

What began in the mid-1990s as a Friday routine of employees wearing “game-day attire” has grown into an every-Friday tradition as more faculty, staff and students choose to show their school pride and Wildcat spirit by donning purple.

School Mascot
Summit Team 2015

Summit: Celebrating Servant Leadership

For the past 110 years, with the exception of 1945 when it was cancelled due to World War II, this major event previously known as Bible Lectureship occurred in February just after Sing Song. One of its best-known features was a giant Lectureship tent, big enough to fill a parking lot. Guests would spend hours there, looking for Christian books and videos, seeking shelter from the wind, and visiting with friends. Today, exhibitors sell their wares indoors in the Teague Special Events Center, and the event has moved to September. Major announcements and critical speeches that changed church history have been made at Summit, which focuses on preaching, equipping Christian servant-leaders, singing and fellowship.

“The Lord Bless You and Keep You”: One of ACU’s Greatest Hits

The most-sung piece of a cappella music on campus, often sung at the end of special events, including Sing Song and Homecoming Chapel.

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious, and be gracious;
The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.

W-C: A Gesture of Loyalty

The W-C is a quick way to show Wildcat pride. Just make a traditional “OK” hand symbol, the seperate the thumb and forefinger slightly. Voila! It’s the W-C -- used during the singing of “Oh, Dear Christian College” and other times to demonstrate school spirit and celebration.

Grads making the WC sign.

Be a Part of our Rich Traditions

We’re eager to see not only what you can accomplish with an ACU education, but how your unique perspective can enrich your fellow classmates and ACU as a whole.