Candlelight Devo

Many Memories. One Campus.

Time-honored traditions.

More than 5,200 students. Several hundred faculty and staff members. Tens of thousands of alumni. We’re all individuals, each with our own unique ACU experience, but what makes us all proud Wildcats are those shared moments – the togetherness of tradition.

A Cappella: “The Singing College”

Abilene Christian was once known as “The Singing College,” thanks to the unbeaten 1950 Wildcat football team, which belted out heavenly tunes such as “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” on radio shows when it wasn’t smashing foes into the next county. Visitors to Chapel and athletics events are always taken aback by what must sound like the world’s largest glee club.

Students sitting in the amphitheater during the traditional Candlelight Devo

Candlelight Devo: A Gathering that Glows

The sounds of thousands of voices praising God by the glow of just as many candles. The Candlelight Devotional, affectionately called Devo, is one of the highlights of Welcome Week. Just before Commencement each May, graduating seniors end their ACU experience as they started: gathering together for another Devo – often with faculty, staff and local alumni – to share one more memorable time together.

Dr. Steven Moore leading students in singing at chapel

Chapel: A Time for Praise and Fellowship

The centerpiece of this daily campus gathering is a brief time of devotion, singing, praise and fellowship. Students also hear from guest speakers, share announcements, and generally take time to remind each other that ACU is not just a university: it’s family. Chapel lasts about 30 minutes, but the experience makes a lifelong impression.


"Oh, Dear Christian College” School Song 

The words to ACU’s school song were penned by educator/innovator Dr. G.C. Morlan and music department chair Dr. Leonard Burford (’25) arranged the music in 1934:

Oh, dear Christian College, we love you,
Our dear Alma Mater, today;
Like the stars shining brightly above you,
Your fame shall shine brightly for aye.
To you we’ll prove faithful and loyal
While ever upholding the right,
And gladly we’ll give forth the royal
Three cheers for the purple and white.

Then we’ll pledge our love to Christian,
To her is honor due;
While we gaily sing let praises ring
For our Alma Mater true.

Listen Here

Opening Assembly: A Purple Processional

Cheers cascade during the Parade of Flags as each state and nation represented in the student body is announced. A time of devotion is marked by the traditional singing of “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” the reading of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill, and prayer. After a special speaker, the university president pronounces the school year to be “officially in session!” and the Big Purple band sends everyone scurrying to lunch or class with “March Grandioso.” 

All in all, it is 60 minutes of soul-stirring stuff to celebrate the start of another school year and reinforce why we do what we do. 

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“The Lord Bless You and Keep You”: One of ACU’s Greatest Hits

The most-sung piece of a cappella music on campus, often sung at the end of special events, including Sing Song and Homecoming Chapel. 

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious, and be gracious;
The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.


Freshman Follies: Trial by Talent

Within your first few weeks as a Wildcat, you'll get a chance to display your creativity in a free-wheeling performance called Freshman Follies. Follies is a freshman-only lip sync competition hosted by ACU each fall as a part of Family Weekend. This production showcases the amazing talents and abilities of our new students. 

While Follies has changed many times since its first incarnation in 1970, it remains one of the highlights of the semester for the ACU community.


Homecoming: Fun, Food, Friends and Football

This busy weekend in October is full of a whirlwind of traditions: a waving, sometimes weeping queen crowned at halftime at the football game; an early-morning parade, sort of a Sing Song on wheels; the Homecoming musical spectacle at the Abilene Civic Center; food and games for all ages. Alumni converge on campus to hug a friend, eat some barbecue, watch the leaves fall and wonder where the years went.


Sing Song: A Campus-Wide Extravaganza

As a rich Abilene Christian University tradition since 1956, approximately one-third of ACU’s student body participates in Sing Song each year where a top fraternity, sorority and mixed voices group (usually a class) are crowned for having the best song medley. The medleys compile popular songs with humorously rewritten lyrics to reflect the act's theme. Thousands of ACU alumni, students, parents and future students attend Sing Song each year, with the final show on Saturday typically selling out in advance.


Purple Fridays: A Show of Spirit

What began in the mid-1990s as a Friday routine of employees wearing “game-day attire” has grown into an every-Friday tradition as more faculty, staff and students choose to show their school pride and Wildcat spirit by donning purple.


Willie the Wildcat

ACU’s mascot was chosen in 1919 when the intercollegiate sports of football and baseball – plus intramurals – needed a place to play. The A Club challenged others on campus to join a fundraising contest for the privilege of naming a new proposed playing facility near the North First Street campus. The West Texas Club won, so 14 years after Abilene Christian was founded, the college became known as the Wildcats. Today, the Wildcats are represented by Willie at games, parades and special events.


W-C: A Gesture of Loyalty

The W-C is a quick way to show Wildcat pride. Just make a traditional “OK” hand symbol, then separate the thumb and forefinger slightly. Voila! It’s the W-C – used during the singing of “Oh, Dear Christian College” and other times to demonstrate school spirit and celebration.


Be a Part of our Rich Traditions

We’re eager to see not only what you can accomplish with an ACU education, but how your unique perspective can enrich your fellow classmates and ACU as a whole.