A New Season

They say I was two years old the first time I ever sat foot on this campus.  For homecoming. 

My mother had gone to school here, so we came back regularly for homecoming and other special events while I was growing up.

And in the fall of 1979 the place became my own. 

Graduation day with my parents in May of 1983.

I have so many memories here. 

Sweet memories of people and moments in time that have shaped much of who I am today. 

Ten years ago I was as excited as I’ve ever been to start a new job – as a professor in the communication department at Abilene Christian University. 

My favorite professor called me on May 11, 2001, asking me if I’d consider leaving my job in Austin to teach at Abilene Christian.  Within a month I was on campus for a couple of days of interviews, and the deal was sealed when they agreed to take me to lunch at Harold’s Barbecue.  

The next month I was moving into my new office. 

When you’re a student at ACU, you gripe about going to chapel.  You argue about why it’s a requirement that everyone has to stop what they’re doing and gather in the coliseum at 11 a.m. for a thirty minute time of worship. 

But when I walked into the coliseum ten years ago, in borrowed academic regalia, the moment moved me to tears. 

What will I miss most? The opportunity to build relationships with students that last a lifetime. There's something magical that takes place in a classroom day after day, talking about things that really matter, and forging a bond that time and distant can't break.

To think that I had come home. 

To think that I had the opportunity to shape lives as mine had been shaped in that place. 

To know that God had brought me to this moment for a reason, and marching into that round space with heroes turned colleagues was the beginning of a new season in my life.

 And he has brought me to another new season today. 

I will miss walking into chapel with the faculty today. 

I will miss hearing Paul’s voice through the wall of my adjoining office. 

My mentors, my colleagues, my brothers in Christ, from left, Drs. Carley Dodd, Joe Cardot, Paul Lakey. The stories I could tell on these three - and vice versa! I love you dearly and I'll miss being with you.

I will miss being able to say I teach at my alma mater. 

And most of all, I will miss the joy of being around students. 

But just as the place never left me before, it will not leave me now. 

It’s a part of me.  And I’m most grateful.

 

 

 

 

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Erin L. says:

    Reading all these comments makes me wish I had gotten to have you as a professor! Sad I didn’t get the chance.

    You changed lives as a teacher. That won’t change now. I’m thankful for all you’ve done for my family.

    1. sallygary says:

      Thank you, Erin – and I definitely missed out by not getting to have you as a student.

  2. Kelvin says:

    Well congrats on your new adventure and ministry working with Center Peace. I have to admire you for trying new adventures. Here I am still working at the same place after 26 years. While other offers come along every once in awhile, I have never been able to leave. Well one thing I know about Sally Gary is that she is always up for an adventure and challenge. God’s speed and blessings as you take a new path on your journey through life.

    1. sallygary says:

      Thanks, Kelvin – and there’s a lot to be said about staying with something for 26 years! Blessings as you begin a new school year.

  3. Angie pittman says:

    And you will thoroughly be missed. The new students will miss the joy of being taught my the ever popular Ms Sally Gary. Love you,sister!!

    1. sallygary says:

      Awww, shucks, Angie – love you, too!

  4. Ed Allred says:

    Amen, Sally. It’s been 17 years (like yesterday!) since I worked at ACU, and I still miss that daily contact with students and colleagues. A wonderful place. We’ll have to plan a purple and white party in the “east-north” corner of heaven! Love you.

    1. sallygary says:

      We’ll do it! Love you, too, Ed.

  5. Philip Dosa says:

    You have been one of my favorite teachers of all time. Maybe one day I will teach here. That would be funny. Glad to still be friends.

    1. sallygary says:

      And YOU, my P-DOG, have been one of my favorite students of all time. I think it would be great if you taught at ACU one day. Phil, you and I will be friends forever.

  6. katunplugged says:

    Dr. Gary,

    You definitely left a wonderful impression on me! The class I took with you one summer (Interpersonal Communications) was definitely a class that I walked away with life lessons. Because of you, I decided to minor in communications – you made it so interesting for me. Of course, I had other communications classes, but I will always remember the summer I took Interpersonal Communications from you. Thank you for being such an inspirational woman. You have influenced us students more than you realize. ACU will not be the same without you.

    Katherine Bowen

    1. sallygary says:

      I can freely admit it now – interpersonal was ALWAYS my favorite class! And I loved having you in class as well – summer classes are especially fun, aren’t they? Thank you, Katherine – you made my day.

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