Five Receive 1996-97 Distinguished Alumni Awards

for immediate release Aug. 15, 1997

ABILENE - The Abilene Christian University Alumni Board awarded the 1996-97 Distinguished Alumni Awards to five alumni for their distinctive personal and professional achievement. From more than 75,000 alumni, five recipients were chosen representing each college. A presentation was held in their hometowns to honor the recipients individually.

College of Arts and Sciences
Sharron Drury, a 1972 ACU graduate and president of Southwest Christian School in Fort Worth since 1990, has also been a secondary principal, vice principal, middle-school teacher, and coach for both girls' and boys' sports including football. As president, she helped raise funds for a $1.6 million facility expansion and has seen the school's enrollment more than double, also adding a complete high school curriculum. She also serves on the ACU Department of Education Visiting Committee.

Dr. David Hurley, a 1977 ACU graduate and pediatrician for Cottonwood Practices in Salt Lake City, Utah, also works as the Continuity Clinic Preceptor at the University of Utah School of Medicine and is Pediatric Department Chairman at the Cottonwood Hospital. For two years, he worked as a missionary and physician in Guatemala, where his impact was witnessed by ACU student interns. Seeing the Hurley family's departure, one student wrote that "a countless number of people came and gave gifts and shed tears while saying good-bye." Hurley has also served on ACU's Department of Biology Visiting Committee and Visiting Committee Coordinating Board.

College of Business Administration
Wilmer E. Hebbard, a 1943 ACU graduate and retired certified public accountant from Dallas, was nominated by his son Don, a 1979 ACU graduate, because "he represents the end product of what we are trying to produce at ACU - outstanding people with an exemplary faith." For more than 20 years, he devoted his spare time to Bible teaching and preaching in the Northeast. More recently, his courage and faith have inspired family, friends and health professionals who saw him survive a five-month battle for life against a rare disorder.

College of Biblical and Family Studies
Dr. Richard Hughes, a 1967 ACU master's graduate and professor in the Religion Division at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., served as chair of ACU's Department of History from 1984-86. He is considered one of the finest scholars in the churches of Christ. Specializing in the fields of American religion, Christian doctrine and the history of theology, Hughes has authored or co-authored several books which gained much attention including "The Worldly Church" and "Discovering Our Roots: The Ancestry of Churches of Christ."

At large
Dr. J. Leslie Wyatt III, a 1968 ACU graduate and president of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro since July 1995, is a respected academic leader with an outstanding record in program development, promotion of the arts, athletics certification, gender and race equity, and community relations. Previously, he served seven years as vice chancellor of executive affairs at the University of Mississippi and in other administrative positions at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Texas.


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Last update: September 1, 1997
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