ACU students to be greeted by new theme, 34 new faculty as opening session kicks off 95th school year

For Immediate Release
August 22, 2000


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

As students return to Abilene Christian University for the fall semester, two obvious changes from the previous spring will catch their attention: a new central theme featuring "Change the World" and 34 new faculty members.

"'Change the World' is more than a marketing theme," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. "It ties directly to our mission. We challenge students to make a positive difference - to change the world in large ways and small."

The concept will be visibly demonstrated through new campus signage, special focuses during Chapel and awareness campaigns that tell stories about faculty, staff, students and alumni who change the world in a variety of ways.

"Our mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world," Money said. "We see our students live out this mission as they build Habitat for Humanity homes and tutor children in the community. We see it every day as our faculty and staff volunteer thousands of hours in the community. They change the world for so many people."

A new "Change the World" award will be presented to individuals or groups when they are identified by the President's Office as catalysts for positive changes in their world.

"'Change the World' is very interpretive," Money said. "We want ACU people to be known for making a positive difference in this community, in the nation and in the global marketplace.

New faculty

The addition of 34 new faculty also is a significant enhancement for ACU. This is the largest influx of faculty in recent years, said Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU provost. Last fall, 28 new faculty came to campus. before that, the number of new fall faculty generally averaged about 15.

Raye Lakey, director of faculty development and instructional development, said the 34 new full-time faculty members represent a 30 percent increase in faculty compared to the previous school year.

"There is more diversity represented in this faculty group than in any other faculty group I've worked with," Lakey said. "Along with cultural diversity, most of these faculty members are new to ACU coming from as far as Botswana and from all over this county. Some are coming from industry and others are coming from schools such as Harvard.

"This kind of diversity offers fantastic richness to students and colleagues."

Opening session

ACU's Opening Session will kick off the 95th school year. Opening Session is Monday, Aug. 28, in Moody Coliseum. It will start at 11 a.m., and (Ret.) General Howard Graves will speak. Graves is the chancellor of the Texas A&M System and former superintendent of West Point.

The traditional highlight of Opening Session will be the Parade of Flags and the Ceremony of Allegiance. More than 100 flags from across the United States and around the world will be featured in the ceremony, representing the states and countries of ACU students, faculty and staff.


Abilene Christian University
New Faculty Additions • Fall 2000

  • Dr. John Barton, professor of mathematics and computer science
  • B. Cole Bennett, instructor of English
  • Laura Blake, instructor of English as a Second Language
  • Orneita Gray Burton, instructor of management science
  • Samuel L. Cook, associate professor of music
  • Laurie Couch, instructor of student success program
  • Margarita Decierdo, instructor of sociology
  • Dr. Nick Fessler, assistant professor of accounting and finance
  • Jesse E. Galvan, assistant professor of theatre
  • Dr. Shirlean B. Goodwin, assistant professor of biology
  • Dr. Mark W. Hamilton, assistant professor of theology
  • Melissa Johnson, instructor of library sciences
  • Dan McGregor, assistant professor of art
  • Dr. B.J. Michael, instructor of Bible, missions and ministry and instructor of family and consumer sciences
  • Dr. Dana McMichael, instructor of English
  • Julie McQueen, instructor of academic advance
  • Dr. Steven T. Moore, assistant professor of English
  • Dr. Larry J. Morely, professor of mathematics and computer science
  • Dr. Virginia Mosier, associate professor of education
  • Dr. John D. Neill III, associate professor of accounting and finance
  • Rachel Perkins, instructor of academic advance
  • Dr. Don N. Pope, assistant professor of management sciences
  • Jeanene Reese, instructor of Bible, missions and ministry
  • Dr. Jeff Reese, assistant professor of psychology
  • Sean Ridge, instructor of student success
  • Dwight Robarts, instructor of Bible, missions and ministry
  • Nil Santana, instructor of art
  • Deonna Shake, instructor of exercise science and health
  • Gregory Brian Straughn, instructor of music
  • Norah A. Thurman, assistant professor of communication
  • Dr. Jack E. Tucci, associate professor of management sciences
  • Dr. Jonathan D. Wade, associate professor of English
  • Wimon Walker, instructor of Bible, missions and ministry
  • Dr. Paul Wertheim, professor of accounting and finance


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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 or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).

Last update: August 23, 2000
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