ACU to kick off 95th school year with pomp, pageantry

For Immediate Release
August 25, 2000


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

Abilene Christian University'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 Lt. General (Ret.) Howard Graves will speak.

Graves serves as Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. He is a 1961 graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He was a Rhodes Scholar and holds graduate degrees from Oxford University in England. A native Texan, Graves graduated from Amarillo High School in 1957.

From 1989 to l99l, he served as assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and worked for Adm. William Crowe and Gen. Colin Powell. More recently, he has been a visiting distinguished professor for leadership and ethics at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin.

On Aug. 1, 1999, Graves became chancellor of The Texas A&M University System - a vast network of nine universities, eight state agencies and a health science center touching all corners of the state. As chancellor, Graves oversees more than 23,000 faculty and staff members and an annual budget of approximately $1.8 billion.

ACU's Open Session ceremonies are steeped in tradition. The university begins each academic year with several long-standing traditional activities.

Opening Session, conducted during the regular hour of the university's Daily Assembly, begins with a procession of the administration and faculty. Immediately following the academic procession, the Parade of Flags, with students carrying the flags of every U.S. state and nation represented in the student body, creates a spectacular array of color and pageantry.

The flags were originally furnished to ACU through the generosity of the O.P. Leonard family of Fort Worth and are maintained by the family of James and Jane (Leonard) Anthony of Fort Worth.

Acknowledging the omnipotence of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ, the university conducts a daily devotion for all members of the ACU family. The devotional of the Opening Session is patterned after the first devotionals of every school year since the university was founded in 1906.

The stirring hymn "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" has been the first song of every school year. The chairman of the Board of Trustees leads the first prayer every year, and the apostle Paul's familiar "Sermon on Mars Hill," recorded in Acts 17, is read by a member of the Bible faculty. The closing prayer is lead by the chairman of the Faculty Senate.

After introductions of educational, civic and government leaders, the combined ACU Big Purple Band and Grand Chorus perform the stirring "Battle Hymn of the Republic." A guest speaker addresses the assembly and the Opening Session concludes with the moving "Ceremony of Allegiance" and the presentation of the huge American flag, also a gift to the university from the Leonard family.

All people are welcome to attend ACU's 95th Opening Session.


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Last update: August 25, 2000
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