The History of Robert and Mary Ann Hall Chair of Psychology & Intercultural Studies

The Hall Chair was approved, in concept, by former president Bill J. Teague on August 25, 1988. The chairperson of the department of psychology was Dr. Edwin Headrick. The first meeting of the Steering Committee, chaired by Robert and Mary Ann Hall and Dale and Rita Brown was February 18, 1989 (Campaign planning was initiated in September 1988). President Royce Money announced on February 19, 1995 that the campaign goal of $1,000,000 had been met. An additional amount of approximately $250,000 was raised to cover campaign expenses and professional services to missionaries and churches.

In addition to the eighteen families on the Steering Committee, 13 families served on the National Advisory Committee. There were presentations at 12 dinners, luncheons, and dessert functions involving 464 attendees. Personal solicitations led to contacts with more than 300 individuals. Additional presentations were made to officials and faculty at five Christian universities (n=105 persons) and selected congregations (n=1,325). More than 12,000 letters were written.

During the time frame of the campaign, Dr. Clyde Austin, often accompanied by his wife, Sheila, made more than 35 presentations on missionary care to professional and church groups across the United States. They also served 453 missionaries in Argentina, Brazil, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Personal and group requests for information directed to Dr. Austin exceeded 200 per year. Scores of missionary psychological assessments were conducted. Post-1995, missionary-related activities took them to Chile, Guatemala, and Russia.

Dr. Thomas G. Patten succeeded Dr. Austin in September of 1997. Tragically, he served only a short period before his untimely death in February of 2000. After a distinguished career as the Director of the Counseling Center at ACU, Dr. Stephen Allison was designated the chair holder of the Hall Chair in 2002.

Dr. Steve Allison is a licensed clinical psychologist.  His degrees include the B.S. (psychology) from Abilene Christian University, two Masters degrees (psychology and theology) from Fuller Theological Seminary, and the Ph.D. (APA-approved clinical psychology program) from the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Seminary.  His two clinical internships (also APA approved) were at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and V.A. Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dr. Allison is a National Health Service Provider in Psychology and is a member of the American Psychological Association.  He has been on the (national and regional) Board of Directors of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) since 1986, and was recognized with the CAPS Distinguished  Member award in 2010.  He has also served as the CAPS Southwestern Regional Director for 16 years, and has been the CAPS International Conference Coordinator since 2004.

For his first 18 years at Abilene Christian University, Dr. Allison served as the (founding) Director of Counseling and Health Services.  In the Fall of 2002, he was appointed to the Robert & Mary Ann Hall Endowed Chair of Psychology & Intercultural Studies.  He has been a tenured, Full Professor in the Department of  Psychology since 2007.  His teaching emphases are in clinical and applied areas such as: psychological assessment, team-building, stress management, group therapy, and practicum supervision.  Dr. Allison has done assessment and training with missionary candidates and mission teams for 20+ years, primarily in partnership with ACU and two missions organizations, the Continent of Great Cities and Missions Resource Network (MRN). He has served on the Missionary Care Task Force for MRN, is a member care consultant to the Board of Worldwide Youth Camps, and has been on the Board of Trustees for the World Bible School.  Dr. Allison has also done missionary/member care work for Pioneer Bible Translators, the Independent Christian Church, and the International Mission Board of Southern Baptists.  He has conducted workshops and retreats, provided furlough and re-entry care, and done on-field counseling with missionaries and expatriates in 50 countries in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Oceana, and Latin America.  Dr. Allison is a frequent speaker at both stateside and international conferences, and is actively involved in research, writing, and training to promote better expatriate and missionary/member care.  He has served on church staffs as the youth and/or singles minister at congregations in Kansas City, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Dr. Allison is married to Anne, a graduate of Pepperdine University and a music/piano teacher.  They have two grown daughters, Melody and Noel, and son-in-law, Randy and a grandson, Noah.  The Allisons are members of the Highland Church of Christ, where Steve is an active member of the Missions committee. You may contact Dr. Allison at