ACU stalwart James Muns to receive top alumnus award for 1999


For Immediate Release
Feb. 15, 2000

Former Plano mayor and successful business executive James Muns (ACU class of 1953) will receive ACU's 1999 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year award at a special noon luncheon in his honor Sunday, Feb. 20, in ACU's Teague Special Events Center. ACU's Alumni Association will present the award.

Muns has been president the past decade of his own investment company, but is probably known best for a 35-year career with Wyatt Food Stores-Wyatt Cafeteria Inc.

He retired as CEO of Wyatt Cafeterias in 1989 when the company had 122 units in nine states.

"James Muns' success as a businessman is only one aspect of why he deserves this honor," said ACU president Dr. Royce Money. "He is the epitome of a Christian servant. Whether it is serving in public office in his community, or in his church, or serving his alma mater, James is known for his capable and mature leadership."

After graduating from ACU, Muns went to work for Wyatt Food Stores and later transferred to the cafeteria division. He worked his way through personnel and operations to eventually be named president and CEO in 1978.

A spirit of determination and leadership has marked Muns' career since his college days. As a tight end from Sweetwater who played four seasons for the Wildcat football team, Muns was branded with determination when the Abilene Reporter-News interviewed him prior to the last game of his final season, quoting him as saying "[We've] just got to win!"

Muns said, "At that point in time, football was a great deal of my life. The athletic portion of my stay at Abilene Christian is the portion that I look upon as most enjoyable."

But, he said, "I'm not sure while I was there I was cognizant of what was going on. It wasn't until later, maybe much later, that I really became aware of the relationships and education I had received. It formed my life."

Muns has been a longtime Plano City Council member, and he has been very active with the Pitman Creek Church of Christ in Plano.

He met his wife, Betty (Bell) while at ACU. They have four children - all ACU graduates - Katharine Spencer, Marla Bandiera, Dr. James Gregory Muns and John B. Muns, and 12 grandchildren.

"James and Betty Muns are a great team, and they have become Christian role models for many of us," Money said.

Muns has served on ACU's Board of Development for 17 years and was chairman of the university's National Development Council before joining the Board of Trustees in 1981.

He serves as co-chair for ACU's "To Lead and To Serve" campaign.

"The positive influence created by James and Betty is felt far and near," Money said. "Their commitments and priorities are obvious."

About the honor, Muns said, "I'm deeply gratified the Alumni Association chose to give me this award, but I personally can look at 100 other people I would judge more worthy than I am. I prefer to be somewhat behind the scenes, but this is a much appreciated honor from the Alumni Association."

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Last update: Feb. 15, 2000
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