While the specific events and overall themes have been in planning for many years, it’s important to remember that McMurry’s Centennial celebration has only been forward-facing since our Convocation last September. For students, faculty, and staff, it has certainly felt like the Centennial is an ever-present force imbuing our campus with the energy and vibrance that has shepherded us through this academic year. But the blistering pace of these past two semesters sometimes makes it difficult to remember just what happened, and when.
There are no two ways about it — McMurry is in a thriving era, with much to look forward to (and to look back on with pride). It all began with our 99th Convocation in late September, kicking off the lead up to our 100th year as an institution of higher learning. Messages of hope, resilience, and fortitude rang out across our campus, as students, faculty, and staff exited Radford, crossed the quad, and assembled into one of the most symbolically powerful messages in McMurry’s history — the “100 on the Quad”.
Homecoming followed in October. We invited our treasured alumni from throughout McMurry’s history to step back into the halls of their alma mater, witness the exciting improvements that have been made to campus, and to marvel at the largest improvement of all – our new Shirley L and Mildred Garrison United Methodist Campus Center.
Our message to the community during these fall events was one of pride in our history. We devoted time to producing a TV campaign — “McMurry Moments” — that took viewers on a weekly journey through the history of McMurry University — from our founding in 1923, to the people, places and events that have shaped us in the years that followed.
As we broke for the holidays, planning was already underway for one of those significant community events — the reveal of the McMurry 100 and All-Century Teams list. The names in each of these lists were selected after a months-long vetting process by McMurry’s administration, involving consultation with dozens of alumni, community leaders, donors, and others affiliated with McMurry over the past 10 decades. We celebrated their service to McMurry with a presentation at the historic Paramount Theatre in late January.
The success of “McMurry Moments” in the fall sparked interest in a new TV campaign. “McMurry Successes” debuted in March, highlighting nine standout graduates from our history — each of whom continues to work tirelessly in the Abilene community as a model for what McMurry’s servant leadership represents.
Spring Alumni Weekend was so full of activities, it felt like a second Homecoming. It also coincided with an enormous, campus-wide academic symposium. Students debuted research projects and pitched proposals, design ideas, and myriad other academic work to the rest of the McMurry community. We honored standout alumni at our annual Night of Distinction awards ceremony. Our “McMurry Momentum” initiative — visiting communities throughout Texas during the Centennial year — culminated in a McMurry Momentum event right here in Abilene. The entire community is positively buzzing with confidence and pride in how far we’ve come and where we’re headed.
As Commencement wrapped up last month and students left to travel back home to family, the energy generated by our Centennial celebration was finally allowed to lay dormant for a time. These short summer months will be spent planning the largest and most impactful events of anything we’ve ever done here at McMurry — the opening of our new campus center, our 100th Convocation, and most importantly, the upcoming McMurry Centennial Gala. We invite you to attend the largest celebration in McMurry’s history when it arrives in October.
Online registration for Homecoming and individual Centennial Gala tickets will open in late June.