ACU Signs National Merit Finalist from Sugar Land

Unique ceremony emphasizes importance of academic achievement

for immediate release March 30, 1998

WHO/WHAT: Hilary Stirman, a Dulles High School senior who is a National Merit Finalist, will sign her contract accepting a full-tuition scholarship to Abilene Christian University during a signing ceremony similar to those usually done by student-athletes. Her parents are Greg and Peggy Stirman of Sugar Land. They are 1975 ACU alumni.

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, April 2, at 10 a.m. in Dulles High School library, 550 Dulles Ave.

WHY: To emphasize the importance ACU places on academic achievement and honor Hilary for her success. Many schools conduct formal signings for athletes, but few if any currently have ceremonies for top academic students.

HOW: She will sign her contract accepting the full-tuition scholarship ACU offers to National Merit Finalists and will be presented a certificate by ACU admissions counselor Aaron Ashford in front of friends, family and school officials. Former Houston mayor Louie Welch, a member of ACU's Board of Trustees, will also make comments welcoming Hilary to ACU.

ACU STATS: Last fall, ACU enrolled 12 new National Merit Finalists in its freshman class. Of the 2,244 four-year institutions in the United States, ACU ranked in the top 10 percent (142nd) for the number of Finalists enrolled. [Sources: The Chronicle of Higher Education and the National Merit Scholarship Corp.] ACU has also signed three other National Merit Finalists in Abilene earlier in March. The idea for the ceremony originated with the Abilene Christian High School administration, and ACU admissions personnel eagerly adopted it.

MORE ABOUT HILARY: Hilary is principal bassist in her school orchestra, a Varsity Group member of the choir, captain of the Academic Challenge and a member of the National Honor Society. She is involved with Peer-Assisted Leadership and Leadership High School and has been in the cast of "The King and I" and "Tommy." She played on volleyball and basketball teams as a freshman and sophomore and has been an active member of the First Colony Church of Christ youth group throughout her teen-age years.

ON-SITE CONTACTS: Michelle Morris of ACU or Martha Marrow of Fort Bend ISD.

If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Malissa Endsley, director of media relations, at or call 915-674-2692.

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Last update: March 30, 1998