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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2004 News Archive > ACU to kick off 99th school year with traditional ceremony

ACU to kick off 99th school year with traditional ceremony

For immediate release
August 20, 2004

Abilene Christian University will begin its 99th school year Monday, Aug. 23, at 11 a.m. with its annual Opening Assembly at Moody Coliseum.  This ACU tradition includes the Parade of Flags, the Ceremony of Allegiance, and featured speaker Dr. Bob Hunter, ACU vice president emeritus and Texas state representative.

Hunter received his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from Abilene Christian in 1952. He was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree from Pepperdine University in 1974; a Doctor of Humane Letters from Texas Wesleyan College in 1979; a Doctor of Letter from the University of St. Thomas in 1983; a Doctor of Laws from ACU in 1993; and a Doctor of Laws from Hardin-Simmons University in 1997.

Hunter has served on numerous state, regional, and national boards in the field of higher education and serves on the board of numerous local organizations. As a state representative, he coordinated passage of the Texas Tuition Equalization Grants, which help Texas students attend private colleges or universities in Texas.

He and his wife, Shirley, have been residents of Abilene since 1956. They have three children, Kent, Carole and Les, and three grandchildren.

ACU's Opening Assembly ceremonies are steeped in historical significance.  The university begins each academic year with several long-standing traditions.

Conducted during the regular hour of the university's daily chapel service, Opening 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.

The devotional of the Opening Assembly is patterned after the first devotionals of every school year since the university was founded in 1906.

The hymn "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," and the apostle Paul's "Sermon on Mars Hill," recorded in Acts 17, have both been a part of the Opening Assembly each year the school has been in existence.

After introductions of educational, civic and government leaders, the combined ACU Big Purple Band and Grand Chorus perform "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  A guest speaker addresses the crowd of several thousand and the assembly concludes with the 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 99th Opening Assembly.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, Director of Public Relations.

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