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New celebration to kick off ACU’s centennial-year graduation; 590 to graduate during special Centennial ceremonies

May 9, 2006

A new graduation event destined to become a tradition at Abilene Christian University will be introduced Friday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m. with West Texas collegiate fanfare: the Centennial Graduation Celebration. Cavernous tents have already sprouted on campus where 590 graduates, and more than 2,000 friends, family, faculty and administrators will be honored guests at this new celebration.

The celebration will begin with the Graduation Festival Dinner for graduates and families at 5:30 p.m. Each college will have a designated tent on campus, providing ample opportunity for students to fellowship and take pictures with each other, their professors and administrators. Friday's events are designed for graduates and their guests only.

Tents for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing will be located on the lawn behind the Zona Luce Building. Tents for the College of Biblical Studies and the College of Business Administration will be located on the lawn between the Foster Science Building and Zellner Hall.

At 7 p.m., live entertainment will start in the Campus Mall area. The Big Purple Band and Steel Grooves, the ACU percussion ensemble, will perform.

At 8 p.m., the Grand Processional and program will begin in the mall area of campus and will include a processional with graduates and faculty in academic regalia and brief speeches by deans of each college.

During the program, Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of the College of Business Administration, will offer a prayer of blessings for the graduates. Max Lucado, ACU alumnus and minister of the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, will address the graduates, parents and guests.

Senior awards will also be presented. The awards to be presented include Trustees Awards, Dean Adams Achievement Awards, B Sherrod Scholarships, V.W. Kelley Scholarships, Honor Man and Honor Woman, and Mr. and Miss ACU.

The evening will culminate with a grand finale kept secret for dramatic effect.

Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, and his wife, Pam, conceptualized the Graduation Celebration event, presenting the idea during the planning process for Centennial year activities. ACU's Alumni Association is coordinating the event.

"Dr. and Mrs. Money attended a similar event at another prominent school several years ago, and they were very impressed," said Amber Peck, director of alumni relations. "The Centennial seemed like the perfect time to enhance the events surrounding graduation and start a new tradition."

Graduation Celebration takes the place of the Senior Dinner, which has taken place the Friday night before commencement in past years.

"If all goes as planned, it will be a memorable and festive evening to celebrate this milestone occasion for our grads," Peck said. "It will be a time of family and friends, and a celebration of good times at a special place!"

Graduation ceremonies will take place Saturday, May 13, in Moody Coliseum in two ceremonies, the first at 11 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m.

At 11 a.m. graduate and undergraduate ceremonies will take place for the College of Biblical Studies, College of Business Administration and the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing.

At 3 p.m. graduate and undergraduate ceremonies will take place for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Within the two ceremonies, 490 undergraduate degrees will be conferred, 92 master's degrees will be conferred, and eight doctorate of ministry degrees will be conferred.

Dr. Tony Ash, professor of Bible, missions and ministry, will deliver the "charge to class of 2006" at both ceremonies.

Graduates will receive diplomas with a unique design to commemorate their graduation during ACU's Centennial year.

If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact ACU's Public Relations Office.