Colleges greeting students with new programs, facilities

For Immediate Release
August 22, 1999

Senior Staff Writer
Courtesy of Abilene Reporter-News

The whack of hammers, the smell of paint, and the whir of new high-tech computer equipment will greet about 10,000 college students as they return to class Monday on Abilene's three campuses.

Hardin-Simmons, McMurry, and Abilene Christian universities are set to kick off the 1999-2000 school year with a variety of new facilities and programs.

At Hardin-Simmons, construction is in progress on two new buildings, one to house missions programs and the other to complement the music buildings on campus.

"Excitement is high as we see the construction under way on the Connally Missions Center and the Lee Hemphill Music Building," said HSU President Lanny Hall.

At McMurry, the Noel R. and Anita Chapin Art and Pottery Building should be completed this fall. The building is located south of the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Center and next to the Gypsy Ted Gallery.

McMurry also is boasting a new distance learning center in Jay-Rollins Library, funded by a grant from the Telecommunications Infra-structure Fund Board. Alicia Wyatt will head the center, which will serve 90 students at a time.

The center will provide classrooms and equipment for faculty use in developing interactive on-line course materials. The distance learning center also will enhance McMurry's ability to connect people to educational resources on campus and from remote locations.

McMurry also is expecting its largest freshman class in several years with 310 students.

"It's incredible - we're bulging at the seams," said Tom Jackson, dean of students.

New construction, big enrollments, and new offerings have school officials bubbling with enthusiasm over a new year.

"We are excited about the new academic year and being able to offer cutting-edge technology to our students and faculty," said McMurry President Robert Shimp.

At Abilene Christian University, students will be impressed by the new Campus Store in McGlothlin Campus Center. The facility more resembles a fine department store than the traditional campus bookstore, and for good reason.

"We're a lot more than a traditional bookstore," store manager Anthony Williams said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The store offers trendy gift items, Hallmark cards, housewares, Christian music and stylish clothing - but no textbooks. Those are in the basement of the campus center.

ACU also is boasting a new multicultural enrollment program, with Aaron Ashford, associate director of admissions, in charge. The program will specialize in outreach, admissions counseling, and transition to college for minority students.

ACU freshmen will receive more attention than ever with the new First Year Program, with Mark Davis serving as dean. The purpose of the program is to provide integrated learning experiences for new students inside and outside the classroom.

"The position of dean of the freshman year has been common in highly selective Ivy League colleges," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president. "They know that student success depends a great deal on building a strong foundation for learning during the first few months of college."

Other campus highlights include:

McMurry - The university's landmark building, Radford Auditorium, will undergo a $950,000 renovation beginning this fall. Three levels of new office space will house the university's admissions and financial aid offices.

Completed in 1951, Radford Auditorium previously housed the Student Life Center, but more recently has been used for concerts and graduation ceremonies.

Hardin-Simmons - In addition to new facilities, Hardin-Simmons students will find a new audio/visual foreign language computer lab located in Abilene Hall and funded by the Vernon L. and Elizabeth Kirk Haggerton Estate.

Using the language lab at Texas Tech as a prototype, the Hardin-Simmons lab contains 24 workstations to aid in teaching French, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish.


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Last update: August 23, 1999
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