Alyssa Gonzalez ('10) | Communication
from Abilene, Texas
Answering the call
Going to ACU was not in Alyssa Gonzalez's plans.
The Abilene native had every intention of bolting town upon graduation from high school, but God had a different idea, and it took a trip to Nicaragua for her to realize it.
"Just being over there and seeing that I wanted to do what God wanted me to do," Alyssa said of the reasons behind her decision to stay in Abilene. "ACU was that, but I had blinders on for a while."
But the blinders came off, and Alyssa enrolled at ACU, where she found herself surprised by the university she’d heard about her entire life.
"It was a completely different experience in a good way," she said. "Experience is different from hearing about it."
A communication major, Alyssa wants to use her degree to enter the ministry, either overseas or by working for a nonprofit organization. She met her fiancé at ACU, and the couple plans to be married in May, shortly after graduation.
It's a life that would not have been possible without ACU's generous donors, whose gifts provided the scholarships that allowed Alyssa to attend the university.
"Whoever has donated money for my scholarships has changed my life because they opened up doors that otherwise would not be open," she said. "For people who don't think there's a way to get into college or do certain things that seem impossible, it's a sigh of relief to say, 'I can do this. Somebody out there really wants me to get an education.'"
A loving faculty
Alyssa has received more than an education, her future husband or a career advancing the kingdom of God. She has received encouragement and fellowship from her fellow students, as well as the love and support of ACU's caring faculty, which changed her life.
"The faculty has really shown Christ's love, no matter what they do," she said. "It's not just a job, or something they have to do. They want to get on a personal level with you. You're not just spending your money for books - you're building great relationships and becoming a better person."
The difference, she said, is ACU's unique dual commitments - academic quality with a focus on the truths of God's Word. That has led to an on-campus diversity Alyssa said she did not expect, as well as a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of the body of Christ.
"Education by itself, and spirituality by itself, is wonderful, but when you put them together, you learn more about yourself and community and what it is to be the body of Christ - one and not separate," she said. "It has encouraged me to grow and challenge myself, and to challenge others to be who God has called us to be."
With most of her college education now behind her, Alyssa can look back at a university experience she did not expect to have just a few years ago - and would not have had if not for the generosity of ACU's friends and alumni.
"ACU offered me awesome scholarships," she said, "and that's probably the only reason I'm here. I love it, it's a great experience, and it's home to me. … Every dollar changes people's lives - to be able to come here and experience a Christian setting with strong education."
Supporting ACU means supporting students like Alyssa, who depend on scholarships to receive an education here. That's why the Office of Advancement exists: to strengthen, renew and build the relationships that help fund the mission, Promise and 21st-Century Vision of ACU, thereby helping more students like Alyssa experience the life-changing effects of the ACU experience.