A record 943 degrees were awarded at the three 2001 Commencements.
ACU officially began its yearlong Centennial Celebration Aug. 22, 2005, with the Centennial Convocation. Events continued throughout the 100th school year as faculty, staff, students and alumni reflected on the university’s first century and looked ahead to a second.
Highlights of the Centennial included the unveiling of The ACU Century, a coffee-table book about the university's history; a Covenant Service; a Centennial Speaker Series that included Robin Roberts, Pat Summerall, Lester Holt and John Maxwell; the Centennial Historical Walking Tour, with exhibits around campus; a Centennial Pops Concert with the Abilene Philharmonic and vocalists featuring alumni professionals and students from the Department of Theatre; several academic conferences; presentation of more than 100 Change the World awards; an international Wildcat Week of Service at Spring Break; a Centennial Graduation Celebration with ACU alumnus and best-selling author Max Lucado as guest speaker; and the dedication of the Jacob’s Dream sculpture site.
Devices and Dedications: Investing in Innovation
In 2008, more than 900 entering freshmen received an Apple iPhone or iPod touch as part of the university's groundbreaking mobile-learning initiative. The students used the devices in and out of class to explore new ways of connecting learning to technology.
ACU's football team, led by head coach Chris Thomsen, won the Lone Star Conference championship in 2008 for the first time since 1973. Running back Bernard Scott won the Harlon Hill Trophy, the Division II version of the Heisman Trophy.
Dr. Royce Money retired in 2010 after 19 years of leading the university. Dr. Phil Schubert was inaugurated as the 11th president of Abilene Christian.
The 57,000-square-foot Hunter Welcome Center, named in honor of Dr. Bob Hunter and his wife, Shirley, was dedicated Feb. 21, 2009. In 2011, the 113,000-square-foot Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center opened, providing fitness and leisure equipment, facilities and instruction to students, faculty and staff.
Brown Library was reimagined in 2006 when the Learning Commons was created on the main floor, and again in 2011 when the 8,800-square-foot AT&T Learning Studio opened as a place where media, mobility and the future of the academic library could be studied while helping students and faculty use the latest technology and tools.
Brown Library was reimagined when the 8,800-square-foot AT&T Learning Studio opened.
In 2012, ACU became one of only a few institutions worldwide to be named an Apple Distinguished School, a recognition by Apple as an exemplary learning environment for innovation, leadership and educational excellence. That designation was renewed in 2013 and 2014.
The university opened ACU at CitySquare, a learning center on North Akard Street in downtown Dallas, in 2012, partnering with the poverty-fighting enterprise formerly known as Central Dallas Ministries.
In 2013, ACU athletics moved from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I, joining the Southland Conference — a respected league ACU helped found in 1963. Also in 2013, the first students enrolled in ACU’s new School of Nursing and the former Burford Music Center became the Phillips Education Building.
A $75 million Vision in Action initiative began in February 2014 to raise funds for three new science buildings and two stadiums. In April 2015, historic Elmer Gray Stadium was razed and a new Gray Stadium for track and field and soccer opened on the west side of campus. Bennett Gymnasium, one of the original structures at ACU when it moved to its hilltop campus in 1929, was renovated and opened in 2015 as laboratory space for the Department of Engineering and Physics.
ACU graduate Kent Brantly, M.D., in one of his first public speaking engagements since becoming the first American to be treated for Ebola on U.S. soil, spoke in Moody Coliseum on Oct. 10, 2014, joined by his wife, Amber. He was later profiled as one of “The Ebola Fighters” who appeared on the cover of Time magazine as 2014 Person of the Year.
On Oct. 30, 2015, the women's cross country team won ACU's first Southland Conference championship since moving to NCAA Division I.
Groundbreaking ceremonies took place Feb. 19, 2016, on Wildcat Stadium, the university's first on-campus venue for football games in more than 50 years. The first game on Anthony Field is scheduled to take place in Fall 2017.