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.
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.
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.
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.