June 2008 Posts
A thirty-two-year tradition brings together former HSU athletes, faculty, and staff as over 60 golfers plan to tee up for a shotgun start at the 2008 Lettermen Golf Tournament on Friday, 27 Jun. Golfers hope for a clear morning and lots of shade as they ride out to designated starting positions on the Fairway Oaks course.
Mulligans will be on sale for $5.00 apiece, and if last year was any indication, quite a few golfers will be checking their wallets for extra cash as the day wears on. Participants will unwind and talk about the "one that should have dropped" at the post-tournament luncheon where HSU Athletic Director, John Neese will announce the winners.
Proceeds of the tournament benefit the Cowboy Club, but the real value to participants is the fellowship they enjoy with old friends, many of whom they only see once each year at this event. HSU Golf Coach David Sherman still has openings for teams and within teams, so give him a call at 670-1374 to share in the fun.
New Champs proudly stand in front of their first-place trophy
at the Faculty Staff Golf Tournament
The annual Faculty and Staff Golf Tournament wrapped up after 18 holes at Diamond Back Golf Club on Jun 14th. Bragging rights were on the line for 48 duffers as they checked and rechecked scorecards (sometimes using all ten fingers). The results were close, but indisputable. As scores were announced, players were reminded of the impermanence of all things corporeal as Meredith Stone's defending championship team was displaced at the top of the leader board by the laser-guided putters of Leland Harden, Cameron Moore, Sharon Green, and Jeff Goodin.
The complete results follow:
Cameron Moore 62
Joe Alcorta 63
Shane Williford 63
Richard Garner 64
Melanie Orsak 65
Jason Koch 66
B. W. Aston
Steve Barrows 68
Cheryl Davis 68
Corby Flanagan 68
Wade Ashby 68
Chris Thibault 69
Trish Trifilo 70
The most beloved "Dorm Mother" in Hardin-Simmons University's storied history surprised the institution by leaving her entire estate (estimated to be in the mid six-figures) to HSU as an endowment for the maintenance and renovation of Behrens Hall, one of the dormitories where she touched so many lives.
For 59 years, Dorothy Aileen Culpepper, or Miss Cul as she was affectionately known, influenced the lives of countless students, faculty, and staff as dormitory director at Hardin-Simmons University. Although she had no children of her own, she was a mother figure to countless young girls, and served as counselor, nurse, chaperone, seamstress, and friend to generations of students who lived away from home for the first time. As frugal with money as she was mindful of her students, she managed her personal finances as a final gift of love to the University that had been so central to her life.
Dorothy Kiser, university registrar says, "Miss Cul gave her life to the university in every sense of the word. She lived for the students who studied here, and they were the central concern in her life for almost six decades. She truly led a selfless life to benefit others,"
Miss Culpepper arrived on the Hardin-Simmons University campus for the first time as a transfer student in 1938. After graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, she taught and served as principal in the Ira Independent School District, then at Spur ISD. During World War II, she helped fill the nation's need to keep aircraft rolling off the assembly lines as a "Rosie the Riveter" for Consolidated Aircraft in Ft. Worth.
At the end of the war, HSU President Dr. Rupert Richardson asked her to become Assistant to the Dean of Women at HSU. He had seen the loving, yet firm way she worked with students as a student floor chaperone, and wanted someone with her depth of commitment and Christian values taking care of HSU's girls.
Miss Cul was mentor, counselor, disciplinarian, and life coach to the 6,000 students who lived at HSU during her administration, first as Assistant to Dean of Women, and later as Dormitory Director. She listened to confidences, concerns, watched curfew times, and hem lengths, and even helped the girls cope with tragedy. One such incident happened just after she assumed her duties in 1944. A young woman in the dorm had three brothers in the war, and all were killed in action. "I got the messages and had to tell her three times," she recalled. Miss Cul had found her purpose in life, and was one of those blessed souls who made a real difference in so many lives.
Daily, throughout her life, she would write at least ten letters of encouragement, advice, counseling, congratulations, and good cheer to students, faculty, staff, and even those whom she didn't know. A letter from Miss Cul is many an alumna's most treasured gift. Kiser notes, "I was the recipient of many of her precious letters over the years. When I need a word of encouragement, all I have to do is pull out one of those letters."
One would be hard-pressed to find a more loyal alumna or former faculty/staff member. In 1986, Miss Culpepper was awarded the John J. Keeter Jr. Alumni Service Award, the highest honor given by the HSU Alumni Association. She was named Former Staff Member of the Year in 1993-94, and in 1998, the Aileen Culpepper Endowed Scholarship was established in her honor. In 2002 the University yearbook was dedicated to her.
In an expression of love and thanksgiving, Hardin-Simmons honored her in a way that may be unique for a dormitory director. The university awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree during commencement ceremonies in 2003. Astonished at the honor, Miss Cul insisted that she was as ordinary as anyone could possibly be, but the legions of women who grew up under her watchful eye disagree.
Miss Cul stayed active on the campus, since her retirement in 1985, with the University Women's Organization, the Former Faculty staff Administration Fellowship, and working where needed. She was an active member of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church.
"The intangible quality at Hardin-Simmons that engenders such love is sometimes difficult to put into words," says Leland Harden, vice president of institutional advancement, "but one has only to look at the life of Aileen Culpepper to see a true expression of this quality. This gift is something she would characteristically do because she believed, with every fiber of her soul, that students should be prepared for life with love, good manners, and solid moral values."
Hundreds of youth flock to the Hardin-Simmons University campus each summer to have fun, equip themselves as Christian leaders, and clarify their relationship with God. That much spiritual energy is hard to ignore, in fact, it's very uplifting. Campers arrive today for an action-packed week of learning, activity, and reflection.
Students study devotional selections to begin the first day of camp
The Texas Fellowship of Christian Athletes is holding its annual summer retreat at Hardin-Simmons University for the 23rd consecutive year, as over 400 student athletes from schools across Texas come to learn and to discuss topics critical to youth. Rodney "Fastball" Ashby, camp director, said this year he wants students to "'Get Focused.' Just as they focus on the critical elements of their sport, we want them to understand the need to keep a strong focus on their spiritual life, too. We hope to teach them ultimate reliance on God's Word."
Mornings begin with contemplative time as campers spread out over the expansive front lawn for individual reflections, devotionals, and inspirational selections from the Bible. Students participate in small group sessions, called "Huddles," compete in athletic activity and competitions, attend assemblies, and share perceptions during guided discussions called "Buzz Groups." Buzz group topics included: "Date or Wait" a discussion of dating considerations, "Garbage in, Garbage Out" referring to internet culture, and "Tattoos" the culture of body art and why it may not be a positive thing. He admits that the popular perception of today's youth isn't particularly positive. "It's me, me, me. I believe our youth leadership can help change that by serving others first."
Campers are already leaders at their local schools, and attend to enhance their understanding of faith, its role in athletics, and its influence on peers. "We teach the principle of influence," says last year's director, Ben Johnson, "The influence a Christian athlete can have as a leader extends far beyond wins and losses on the field." Organizers hope that students will return home with campus leadership activities planned for the coming year, and with the knowledge that being a witness for Christ is a "duty for life."
Texas churches send strongly committed youth to the annual camp to strengthen faith and leadership amid innovative themes, outlandish costumes, and enthusiasm you have to see to believe. Organizers put their hearts, souls, and imagination into the week-long event to keep it current and edgy, as Johnson says,"This is my eighth year as camp director and I spend months on my knees in the months leading up to camp seeking His presence at camp and His plan for camp. But I've witnessed so many students returning to their campuses in the fall inspired, equipped, and enthusiastic as they confidently serve Christ greater. That keeps me coming back!"
The 2008 edition of the Abilene Summer Music Festival gets underway June 8th as top junior high and high school musicians take performance to a higher level on the Hardin-Simmons University campus. The festival is dedicated to enriching the lives of West Texans by bringing quality chamber and orchestra concerts to the Abilene community, while providing educational opportunities to young musicians through advanced instruction in a supportive environment.
A camper makes notations on the day's music lesson
A premiere regional summer music program now in its eighth year, the 2008 festival spotlights students from California, Illinois, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, Wichita Falls, and Midland/Odessa, as well as many talented performers from Abilene. The curriculum features three symphony orchestras, chamber music, composition, conducting, world music ensemble, music history, music theory, technique class, performance class, master class, camper mixer, recreation, and a grand finale concert at the Abilene Civic Center.
Campers treat the Grand Finale audience to a performance of Respighi's "Pines of Rome," often referred to as a "visual feast for the ears." Those who think classical music isn't exciting will travel on the notes of one of Respighi's most famous compositions from the gardens of Villa Borghese, to the catacombs of Rome, to the Janiculum, to the Apian Way. The dramatic imagery of the piece will leave the audience wanting to hop the next plane to Italy to see it for themselves.
One of the larger ensembles rehearses for the Grand Finale
The Grand Finale, scheduled for 3:00, Jun 14, is one of four performance opportunities open to Abilene residents. The music begins with a faculty concert June 11th at 7:00 p.m. in the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall on the HSU campus, and continues with the ArtWalk Student Concert at the Civic Center June 12th at 6:00. The Student Chamber Music Recital follows on June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Woodward-Dellis. There is no charge to the public for any of the performances.
The ASMF has enjoyed generous support in the form of grants from the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, the Community Foundation of Abilene, Dian Graves Owen Foundation, the Downtown Revitalization Program of the Tax Increment Finance District, the City of Abilene, Taylor County, the Gamma Phi chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota, and the Theta Lambda chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
A very resourceful Coronado High School senior earned a huge financial head start to college when the learned his submission for the Hardin-Simmons University/KRBC,"Free Ride" scholarship competition was chosen as the winning entry. Raul Diaz, a future accounting major, beat out over 31 extremely creative entries from as far away as Kailua, Hawaii.
Raul Diaz learns that his was the winning entry
The judges, representing HSU's Enrollment Services and Marketing departments, announced the selection live on a remote KRBC broadcast on the HSU lawn. Diaz receives a one-year full-ride scholarship to HSU valued at $17,400 for his inspired production. Diaz was shocked when his name was announced, and said, "This is wonderful, I've always wanted to be able to make my own way, and this lets me get started on my degree without putting a burden on my parents." It was a long ride from Lubbock for Diaz who said, "I couldn't stop thinking about the possibility of winning on the way down here. Then I remembered what my dad always told me, to 'let go and let God,' and I did that."
Raul gives his father a hug as emotions take over
Graduating high school seniors were given the challenge of crafting a 60-second video with the theme, "What I'll do with my HSU Diploma." "Raul's video created a compelling atmosphere to show how he would make use of his diploma from HSU," said Leland Harden, HSU's vice president for Institutional Advancement and one of the judges, "He displayed thought, focus, and wit in his presentation that made him stand above the rest."
"What an honor," says Coronado High School principal Eric McKnight, "Anthony is one of the most dedicated individuals I know. Whether it's academics or football, he pays close attention to detail. He has continued to workout in the weight room since the end of football last November, even though it is not required of seniors. He is committed to work hard, in the classroom and on the football field."
"This is a great collaboration with KRBC and an awesome opportunity for high school students to contribute to the energetic atmosphere of our campus," says Amanda Etter, HSU marketing director, "Incoming students begin to feel connected, be a part of the creative environment that makes our University unique, and show us what they want to do with their degree. Above all, these students truly want to make an impact on the world, all with an education enlightened by faith."