In the JMC department all eight of the full time faculty and one of the two part time faculty members graduated with some degree from Abilene Christian University. So I talked to a couple of them and asked, why come back to the place you started? What reason made you want to come back and work for ACU? First I asked Dr. Doug Mendenhall what compelled him to come back to Abilene after he attended school here. His response was “After 26 years of working for daily newspapers, it’s fair to say I was ready for a change. However, I was not actively searching for a new career in academics. I went to graduate school at night to obtain a master’s degree only because the JMC department head at the time told me that it would make me eligible if a position opened. So returning to ACU was my only plan when I began that journey. Another ingredient was that I had kept in touch with what the department was doing, and was impressed by how closely its plans were paralleling my own professional views of how mass media needed to be changing in order to keep up with technological growth. JMC was answering the questions that were being asked in my newsroom about what the future looked like. Finally, because of my experience at ACU and in JMC, I felt a pull to return and be helpful to a cause I believed in. So all of those factors played into my decision. Plus, it meant a return to Harold’s Barbecue, although that turned out to be a bad point on which to base a career change.” Dr. Mendenhall, after graduating, continued to keep in touch with ACU’s JMC department and it brought him right back where he started.
Next I asked the same question to Professor Joey Roberts who is a part time professor here at ACU. His answer was as followed, “I moved back to Abilene because of the job here at UCC. I was excited to get to use the skills God has given me for him and furthering His kingdom. Also, after expanding our family, I recognized this was a great opportunity for us to have more time together. I loved my job as an SID, and I’m not saying I will never go back to collegiate athletics, or to another job, but I enjoy what I am doing at this moment. If I was still in my former job at Tarleton, I would not have been able to take my family to Sea World this last week during Spring Break. Teaching at ACU is a bonus because I enjoy teaching and working with students. I also help at ACU and the other universities in town with sports information and get to continue to use those skills on various occasions.”
As you can tell if you graduate from Abilene Christian University you are a part of a tightly knit family and will always have a strong connection with the University. Some people, like Dr. Mendenhall and Professor Roberts, can’t even stay away.