Abilene Christian University Honors White Professor Who Condemned School for Not Admitting Black Students

Abilene Christian University’s annual Summit seems to outdo itself from one year to the next, with innovative programming and nationally recognized speakers, but 2018 will be hard to top.

“There’s lots and lots of things going on,” said David Wray, director of the event, which is in its 112th year.

A major event will be the opening Tuesday of the Carl Spain Center on Race Studies and Spiritual Action. A ribbon-cutting will be at 4:30 p.m. at the center, located on the first floor of the Biblical Studies Building. Spain, now deceased, was an ACU religion professor who delivered a blockbuster lecture during Bible Lectureship, the original name for the annual event, in 1960.

In his lecture, Spain chastised the university for denying admission to black students. Two years later, ACU admitted its first black students. Spain’s daughter, Claudette Rogers of The Woodlands, and grandson, Gavin Rogers of San Antonio, will take part in the ribbon-cutting and other events associated with the opening.

Jerry Taylor, a religion professor at ACU, will be the director of the center.

Royce Money, retired president and chancellor of ACU, was a senior at Temple High School when Spain delivered his address. But he heard about it after enrolling at ACU. Several years later as a graduate student at the university, Money had two classes under Spain.

Money learned that the practice of the time was to have speakers submit their speech for approval prior to Lectureship, but somehow Spain’s talk did not get reviewed.

“His presentation was never picked up,” Money said, and there was talk of whether “the hand of the Lord was in that.”

Money said the administration already was in the process of changing the admissions policy and that Spain’s talk sped up the process.

“What Dr. Spain’s speech served as was a catalyst, basically,” Money said.

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Source: Abilene Reporter News