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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2003 News Archive > Opening Assembly

ACU to kick off 98th school year with traditional pomp, pageantry

For immediate release
August 21, 2003

Abilene Christian University will kick off its 98th session Monday, Aug. 25, at 11 a.m. with its annual Opening Assembly at Moody Coliseum.  This year's featured speaker will be Dr. Jay Kesler, chancellor of Taylor University in Upland, Ind.

A 1958 Taylor graduate, Kesler served Taylor University as president from 1985 to 2000. Kesler has a national reputation as an outstanding leader, promoting civic values, family relationships and higher education.

He recently was listed in "The Templeton Guide: Colleges that Encourage Character and Development" as one of the 50 college presidents who have exercised leadership in character development, and he was awarded the title of Distinguished Senior Fellow by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

The author of 19 published books and countless articles, Kesler is nationally recognized as an expert in the area of family studies, including work with Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family Institute.

Kesler and his wife, Janie, are parents of three children and grandparents of nine.

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

Opening Assembly, conducted during the regular hour of the university's chapel service, 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 Assembly 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, and the apostle Paul's familiar "Sermon on Mars Hill," recorded in Acts 17, is read by a member of the Bible faculty.

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 crowd of several thousand and the assembly concludes with the moving "Ceremony of Allegiance" and the presentation of the American flag, also a gift to the university from the Leonard family.

All people are welcome to attend ACU's 98th Opening Assembly.

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