Dr. Rex Kyker to be honored posthumously with ACU Distinguished Alumni Citation

For Immediate Release
July 19, 2000


Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations
(915) 674-2692

Abilene Christian University will honor Dr. Rex Kyker posthumously with a Distinguished Alumni Citation to be presented to his family Sunday at 6 p.m.. in the College of Biblical Studies Hall of Servants on campus.

Chris, Kyker, Dr. Kyker's wife, and their children and grandchildren will receive the award. All are invited to attend the presentation.

Dr. Kyker was a longtime ACU professor, gospel preacher and Abilene civic leader. He died December, 12, 1996.

"Dr. Rex Kyker was a living legend in his own time in the history of ACU Communications and Theatre," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. "We thank God for his distinguished career and the thousands of students who benefitted from his excellent teaching and his Christian life."

Born in 1921 in Texico, N.M., Dr. Kyker was a 1938 graduate of Farwell High School. From there he came to ACU where he graduated cum laude in 1943 with a bachelor's degree in speech, drama and Bible. He received his master's degree from the University of Iowa in 1946 and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1957. He married Christine White in 1946.

At the time of his graduation in Florida, Dr. Kyker was initiated into the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi graduate scholarship society, open only to the top 10 percent of the graduating class at the University of Florida. He was also a member of Phi Kappa Delta, a forensics club, Theta Xi, a social group, and Alpha Psi Omega, a drama club, and a member of A Club.

Dr. Kyker was a member of the ACU faculty for 38 years. He began as an instructor in 1944 and was promoted to associate professor in 1949. He served as director of Summer School and as a dorm director. From 1954 until early 1957 he was the director of the Graduate School. In February of 1957 Kyker was appointed head of the Department of Communication, a position that he filled for more than 20 years. He also coached debate teams, which several times received invitations to the National Debate Tournament at West Point.

He served as "The Voice of the Big Purple" during band performances at half-time shows and in ACU's traditional opening ceremonies. Dr. Kyker directed dramatic productions, including six musicals, and used his personal flair while portraying Mark Twain and other roles on stage. During a two-year leave of absence from ACU, he was a visiting professor at Southwest Texas State University. He also authored five books. He retired as a professor in 1982.

In addition to his service in the ACU community, Dr. Kyker was a civic leader. He was a longtime member of Kiwanis International, serving as local club president, lieutenant governor and governor of the Texas-Oklahoma District. He was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1973. During Rex P. Kyker Day in Abilene in September 1996, he was honored by more than 20 past and present district governors and received the Tablet of Honor - the highest award given by Kiwanis International.

He also spoke throughout the United States and served as chairman of the speakers bureau for the National Polio Foundation. Upon request by Bill Clements, Dr. Kyker led the Pledge of Allegiance at Clements's 1980 inauguration as governor of Texas. He also served as president of the Taylor County Heart Association. He was a member of the Texas Speech Association, Southern Speech Association, and Speech Association of America and used to make more than 100 speeches annually.

Dr. Kyker was a strong church member and leader. He served in preaching posts in Ballinger, Thalia, Abilene, Austin, and Del Rio, Texas, as well as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Gainesville, Florida. He had served as an elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ in Abilene. During his retirement, he was an associate minister of University Avenue Church of Christ in Austin and Baker Heights Church of Christ in Abilene.

Dr. Kyker was honored as ACU's Teacher of the Year by the Board of Trustees in 1975. He and his wife, Chris, were recognized for their dedicated service to ACU by the establishment of the Rex and Chris Kyker Endowed Scholarship for the Theatre Arts Achievement.


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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at craigt@acu.edu or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).

Last update: July 19, 2000
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