First "Change the World" awards at ACU to be given at Lectureship

For Immediate Release
Feb. 19, 2001

For more information contact:

Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations

The first four "Change the World" awards will be presented Tuesday at Abilene Christian University by President Royce Money during the university's major event, Lectureship.

The awards will be presented at the conclusion of Tuesday morning's keynote lecture in Moody Coliseum. The lecture starts at 11 a.m., and the awards will be presented at approximately 11:45 a.m.

The recipients are Matt Brewington, senior biology major from Texarkana; Jody Reese, 1976 ACU alumnus and Taylor Elementary School kindergarten teacher; Dr. Jerry Drennan, 1959 ACU alumnus and professor emeritus of industrial technology; and Johnny Stallings, son of ACU board member and former pro football coach Gene Stallings and his wife, Ruth Ann.

"These individuals touch lives and change the world using their own special talents," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. "They're not looking for recognition or fanfare. They just quietly make a difference on this campus, in this community and throughout the world."

ACU launched the "Change the World" theme university-wide in the fall. The purpose of the award is to:

  • Recognize individuals or groups who are touching lives in a positive way and making a difference, in large ways or small.
  • Tie directly to ACU's mission of educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.
  • Allow ACU to demonstrate in a visible, consistent way that we want our employees, students, graduates and others connected to us to Change the World in a positive, Christian way - and not simply let the world pass them by.

Brewington has served as chair of ACU's Habitat for Humanity program for the past two years. He helps raise the money, coordinates all the volunteers, and spends many hours on site helping to build the homes for families who need a decent place to live, said Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life. Brewington is changing the world by helping to provide homes to the homeless in Abilene, Barnard said.

Reese was named the AISD Elementary Teacher of the Year for 1999-00. She serves as a role model for her young students as well as for other teachers, said Dr. Jane Coates, ACU professor emeritus of education.

"Jody Reese is shaping young minds and changing the world one child at a time," Coates said. "She is an amazing Christian wife and mother and an exceptional teacher. Jody is loved by her students, their parents, her colleagues and the community. "

Drennan has made a lifelong commitment to ministering to deaf individuals, said Dr. Jim Cooke, chair of the industrial technology department. He brought sign language to Kenya, and he takes ACU students on annual trips to teach sign language and serve as an interpreter in other countries - most recently, Croatia.

In addition, Drennan is involved locally in an organization that provides interpreters at the courthouse when needed to assist deaf individuals. He is changing the world for deaf people in Abilene and around the globe, Money said.

Johnny Stallings has touched lives in many circles, Money said. For years, he was his dad's greatest fan and the players' favorite person as Gene Stallings coached at the University of Alabama, Texas A&M, the Dallas Cowboys and the Phoenix Cardinals.

"As a young man with Down syndrome, Johnny has been a shining light of love and joy to his family and friends, professional football players, fans and national viewing audiences," Money said. "Whether he was with his dad in a United Way TV ad, serving as the most excited fan on the sidelines or just demonstrating great determination in every task, Johnny has changed the world of everyone he has met."

Any ACU student, faculty or staff member, board member, alumnus or friend of the university may receive the Change the World Award. It also may be awarded to a group, team, organization or church.

Recommendations may come from anyone, off or on campus, Money said. To nominate someone for an ACU Change the World Award, send a letter to Dr. Royce Money, Abilene Christian University, ACU Box 29100, Abilene, Texas 79699-9100 or email him at


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Last update: Feb. 19, 2001
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