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With input from faculty, staff and the Board of Trustees, the Senior Leadership Team establishes broad direction and casts the vision for ACU’s future.

Dr. Phil Schubert, President

During his tenure as president of one of the largest private universities in the Southwest, ACU has experienced remarkable growth in facilities and enrollment. ACU is nearing completion of a $95 million expansion that includes a new science complex and an on campus football stadium. The university is in year three of a four year reclassification process to Division I athletics as a member of the Southland Conference.

The most recent freshman classes have been some of the largest in the university’s 110 year history, and graduate enrollment has grown dramatically through the launch of a new ACU Dallas campus. Forty percent of this year’s freshman class is racially and ethnically diverse, representing a new hallmark for ACU. Over the past three years, the university has experienced its two highest retention rates ever, and this year’s graduating class represents the highest four year graduation rate in the school’s history.

Prior to becoming president, Schubert served as executive vice president at ACU and was responsible for university wide strategic planning as well as the oversight of operational areas. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Barret, the school’s founder and its first president, dreamed of establishing a Christian college in West Texas and saw his dream come true. Barret grew up in Covington, Tenn., and attended West Tennessee Christian College and Nashville Bible School. In 1903, he and his wife, the former Exie Carroll, came to Oklahoma and Texas where he held gospel meetings. He taught at Southwestern Christian College in Denton before establishing Childers Classical Institute, which would later become ACU. He resigned in 1908 to become the president of Southwestern Christian.

Cox was elected as president in 1911, but never served in the role, as his wife became seriously ill. Cox, acted as an interim president for the semester. As Mrs. Cox remained ill by the beginning of the spring semester, James Cox resigned as president. He later served as head of the education department from 1919 1923, then dean of the college for eight years. In 1932, he returned as president and served until 1940. After resigning a second time, he served as a Bible professor until 1951.

During Sewell’s first year as president, the school offered college level work for the first time, and its graduates were junior college graduates. The annual Bible Lectureship officially began under Sewell, and 12 campus buildings were built, remodeled or enlarged during his administration. He and his wife, Daisy McQuigg Sewell, invested a great deal of their own money into the school. In Fall 1919, the school became a senior college, and the name officially changed to Abilene Christian College in 1920.

Baxter, who had taught at ACC since 1919, was appointed to the presidency at Jesse Sewell’s recommendation. He relaxed some of the rules about students’ social privileges, and student activities and organizations gained importance on campus. Baxter was renowned for his sense of humor and ability to laugh at himself. During his presidency, the college moved from its original North First Street location to its present location on the Hill. He resigned in 1932 to become president of David Lipscomb University.

Dr. Don H. Morris earned his education degree at ACC. As a student, he served as president of his class; edited the school yearbook, the Prickly Pear; and participated in intercollegiate debate, never losing a decision. After graduation from ACC, Morris taught and coached debate at Abilene High School. He returned to Abilene Christian in 1928 as a speech teacher. In four years, he rose to the vice presidency. From 1932 1940, he was vice president and head of the Department of Speech.

Morris was the first former student to become president of ACU. He served 29 years, and in 1969 ranked as the dean of college and university presidents in Texas, having served the longest in the chief executive’s position. He received three honorary doctorates from other Christian colleges before his retirement in 1969.

Stevens came to ACU in 1934, where he was president of the Students’ Association in 1937 38, president of the A Club and a member of Sub T 16 men’s social club, Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and Phi Alpha Theta honorary historical society. He also lettered three years in debate. He graduated cum laude in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible. Army as a chaplain with the rank of first lieutenant. During his three years in the army, he received many awards for his work in France and central Europe. He also was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters. In 1946, he was discharged with the rank of major.

He began teaching at ACU in the fall of 1948 as an assistant professor of history, becoming dean of men in 1950, dean of students in 1952 and assistant to president Don H. Morris in 1956. Stevens was inaugurated as president of ACU in 1969 and became the university’s chancellor in 1981. He served as chancellor emeritus from 1991 until his death in 2008.

Dr. William J. “Bill” Teague received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and speech from ACU in 1952, a Master of Arts degree in administration from Columbia University in 1959 and a Doctor of Education degree in administration and labor law from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1965.

From 1952 57 he served as executive assistant to ACU president Don H. Morris. He became vice president for development at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., in 1957, then served as vice president at Pepperdine University from 1959 70.
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