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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2003 News Archive > Gilbert Tuhabonye

ACU grad featured in magazine

Reprinted from the Abilene Reporter-News
August 24, 2003
By Loretta Fulton , Reporter-News Staff Writer

The dramatic story of an Abilene Christian University graduate who survived a civil war in his native Burundi is featured in the August issue of Texas Monthly magazine.

In the early 1990s Gilbert Tuhabonye was attending a boarding school in Kibimba, Burundi, when the school was attacked by a mob of Hutus during a civil war with their rivals, the Tutsis.

Despite being set afire during the attack, Tuhabonye escaped, survived burns that covered much of his body and went on to become a track star at ACU. He now works for an Austin store that caters to runners, and he coaches long-distance runners.

In 1999, Tuhabonye was winner of the national Giant Steps Award as the nation¹s most courageous male student-athlete. The honor included a trip to the White House where he met then-President Clinton.

The award wasn¹t given until February 2000 during a banquet in Orlando, Fla. A CNN video about Tuhabonye that was shown during the ceremony prompted a standing ovation.

Tuhabonye came to ACU in fall 1997 and graduated in 2001 with a degree in agricultural business. At ACU he was named an all-American runner three years. He was a member of seven NCAA Division II national championship teams that ACU fielded in indoor and outdoor track during his days at the university.

Contact Abilene Reporter-News learning staff writer Loretta Fulton at or 325-676-6778.

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