ACU Honored Nationally for Character Building

for immediate release Sept. 23, 1997

RADNOR, Pa. - The John Templeton Foundation's Honor Roll for Character-Building Colleges has again recognized Abilene Christian University for emphasizing character building as an integral part of the college experience.

ACU is one of only seven schools in Texas and 134 schools in the nation to be recognized during the Honor Roll's official national announcement Wednesday in the Cannon House Office Building of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Royce Money, ACU president, and Rep. Charles Stenholm will attend the event.

First annual and now biennial, the Honor Roll was established in 1989 to encourage character development in institutions of higher education, and ACU has been included in all eight honor rolls.

"Effective character education requires an intentional, proactive approach that plans deliberate ways to develop character, rather than simply waiting for opportunities to occur," said John M. Templeton Jr., M.D., president of the foundation. "The 1997-98 Honor Roll colleges and universities are committed to character education, and view themselves through a moral lens to assure that everything going on in their institutions affects the values and character of students."

The centerpiece of Wednesday's announcement will be the release of the special guidebook profiling the Honor Roll schools, which is distributed free to 34,000 high school guidance counselors and 16,000 public libraries across the country.

Each school was selected based on five criteria designed to evaluate the extent to which a college or university:

* Inspires students to develop and strengthen their moral reasoning skills
* Encourages spiritual growth and moral values
* Provides community building experiences
* Advocates a drug-free lifestyle
* Conducts a critical assessment of character-building programs and activities.

To become an Honor Roll college, institutions submitted nomination materials that addressed the five selection criteria in essay form. Each school also submitted a 200-word summary statement to confirm its commitment to character building.

ACU has exemplified the criteria through extracurricular activities as well as its curriculum and was honored for its students' involvement in such community service projects as Meals on Wheels, Spring Break Campaigns, homeless shelters, prison ministry and their own Habitat for Humanity chapter. Daily Chapel, Bible classes and the incorporation of ethics into all disciplines are also aspects of the ACU experience that teach students the importance of their spiritual life. Programs of the Center for Advancement of Community have focused on community-building issues. And students are encouraged to hone their decision-making skills through such opportunities as serving on disciplinary review boards and helping formulate campus policies.

Six leaders in the fields of student development, moral growth and campus life selected the 1997-98 Honor Roll institutions: Helen S. Astin, professor of higher education at University of California at Los Angeles; Arthur W. Chickering, visiting distinguished professor at Vermont College of Norwich University; Jon C. Dalton, vice president of student affairs at Florida State University; Nathan O. Hatch, provost at University of Notre Dame; Gertrude Himmelfarb, professor emeritus at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York; and David G. Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College.

The other Texas schools included in the 1997-98 Honor Roll are Austin College, Baylor University, Dallas Baptist University, Lubbock Christian University, St. Edward's University and Southern Methodist University. Other schools affiliated with the Churches of Christ included in the list are Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and LCU.

During the national announcement and luncheon, a member of Congress will announce a Joint Resolution on character development that was introduced into Congress in July. The Resolution states Congress' support and affirmation that character education is a crucial factor in America's cultural and social evolution. It also urges educational entities to increase their commitment to character-building activities for students.

The John Templeton Foundation, established in 1987 by international investment manager Sir John Marks Templeton, is committed to a broad spectrum of activities, including studies, award programs and publications promoting character development of young people in secondary schools, colleges and universities. For more information, please contact the foundation at 1-800-245-1285 or access its web site at

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: October 28, 1997