Worship Services Will Welcome Students at ACU, HSU, and McM


New faces and new surroundings will greet students as they gather for their first worship services at Abilene’s three universities the week of Aug. 29.

Classes begin Monday at Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons, and McMurry universities. All three are church-affiliated and have regularly scheduled chapel services. 

At ACU, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, students will return to Moody Coliseum and the traditional Opening Assembly for the first time since 2019. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29. For the past two years, the grand opening ceremony with its ceremonial Parade of Flags was on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and renovation at Moody Coliseum.

“We’ve missed this ceremonial start to our academic year for the past two years,” said ACU President Phil Schubert, “so being able to experience this event in a beautiful, upgraded facility is particularly exciting.”

Guest speaker for Opening Assembly will be April Anthony, chair of the ACU Board of Trustees. 

ACU President Phil Schubert speaks to students on campus.

McMurry University students will gather underneath a huge tent on the quad for opening chapel at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30. McMurry, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has a new assistant chaplain, Russell Miller. Following the opening ceremony under the tent, Tuesday chapel services will be held in Matthews Auditorium in Old Main.

 It is a fitting place for students to worship as Old Main was the original building on campus when McMurry opened in 1923. The university will begin centennial observances this fall.

“It’s a return to our centennial roots as it were,” said Chaplain Marty CashBurless. 

The move was necessary because of major renovations to the campus center, which includes Carleton Chapel and the Mabee Room, where students traditionally worship. 

Marty CashBurless, McMurry Univesity Chaplain

At Hardin-Simmons University, affiliated with the Baptist denomination, Fall Convocation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, in Behrens Auditorium. Convocation speaker will be George Newman, a retired HSU biology professor. Following convocation, a dedication of the Dr. George and Caroline Newman-Sid Richardson Science Center will be held in Room 100 of the center. 

George Newman retired from teaching in 1992 following a 25-year career. He was named Professor Emeritus of Biology when he retired and was chosen in 2002 as the Outstanding Former Faculty Member of the Year. He has served on numerous boards at Hardin-Simmons and in the community. In 2003, he was appointed to fill an unexpired term as County judge of Taylor County and then was elected to the position in 2004 and 2006. 

George Newman

The following statement was issued when Newman was inducted into the HSU Hall of Leaders:

“As a Christian gentleman, devoted family man and cherished friend of the university, George Newman has consistently aided the cause of HSU. It is a high honor for Hardin-Simmons University to recognized one of her own and to formally induct George A. Newman into the HSU Hall of Leaders.”

Abilene Christian University students, faculty, and staff will have three opportunities beginning Monday to participate in events in the newly remodeled Moody Coliseum. After Monday’s Opening Assembly, the traditional “first chapel” will be held at Moody at 11 a.m. Tuesday. A Praise Day and Moody Grand Re-Opening event will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2. 

Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene

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