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Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Rutter Nears 100 Wins, Grows NAIA Athletic and Academic Powerhouse

Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Rutter Nears 100 Wins, Grows NAIA Athletic and Academic Powerhouse

In the peaceful suburbs of north Phoenix, a southern California transplant has quietly been building a national powerhouse college basketball program at the NAIA level at Arizona Christian University. Jeff Rutter, a long-time assistant coach at Azusa Pacific and star player for Concordia University in Irvine, CA, made the move to Phoenix less than 5 years ago with his wife Kristen and never looked back. Taking over a new NAIA program in the desert at former Southwestern College, he has kept ACU in the top 25 in the nation for five consecutive years while also serving as athletic director for a growing University. “To be honest, I had no idea how good Jeff Rutter was going to be,” said Len Munsil, who after becoming President of then-Southwestern College in the fall of 2010 immediately set about building an elite Christian liberal arts university, for which athletics would be an important element. “I knew I liked him, I knew he understood and believed in the vision of what ACU could be, but I had no idea how good he would be at recruiting and coaching basketball, let alone how well he would build our athletic program. He has been a key part of ACU’s resurgence and growth.” This week Rutter is likely to surpass 100 career coaching wins, less than midway through his fifth season. Arizona has seven 4-year college basketball programs, and Rutter’s winning percentage of .726 (98-37) ranks him just a shade behind the University of Arizona’s Sean Miller (.743) and well ahead of Arizona’s five other college basketball coaches. [See chart below.] Arizona Christian University plays at... read more
Fall 2016 Commencement

Fall 2016 Commencement

Arizona Christian University celebrated 27 students on Saturday, December 10 as the graduates walked across the stage at the institution’s Fall Commencement Ceremony at the Phoenix, AZ main campus. Bachelor’s degrees were awarded in Behavioral Health, Family Studies, Psychology, Christian Ministries, Biology, Business Administration, Communication, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Music. More than 500 people were in attendance. The program of the ceremony involved many Class of 2016 graduates, including ACU veterans leading the Pledge of Allegiance, Invocation by Ryan Lashua, a reading from Scripture by Kathleen Slagle, and Benediction by Makenzie McKown. Class of 2017 music student, Kaylee Franks, lead both the processional and recessional on piano, and music faculty member Martha Irvine sang The Star Spangled Banner. ACU’s retiring Provost, Dr. Gary Damore, shared wisdom and encouragement with the graduating class before presenting the candidates to their proud friends and family members. After awarding the students their diplomas, ACU President Len Munsil delivered the “charge” to the graduates following a prayer of dedication by Campus Pastor, Tim Reed. The ceremony was followed by a dessert reception in the newly renovated Student Activity Center lobby, featuring live music by ACU’s Advance Band. If you weren’t able to join us, please watch ACU’s Fall 2016 Commencement Ceremony below.  ... read more
ACU Introduces New Provost and COO

ACU Introduces New Provost and COO

Arizona Christian University is proud to announce the hiring of Dr. Steve Adamson as the institution’s Provost and Chief Operating Officer. A seasoned corporate and academic manager, Dr. Adamson has more than a decade of experience working as Executive Director of an accrediting organization, a distance education dean, a Bible college administrator, and a professor all within Christian higher education. Dr. Adamson began work remotely for ACU this month and arrives in Arizona with his wife Von in January. “We are thrilled to welcome Steve and Von Adamson to Arizona,” said ACU President Len Munsil. “Steve’s unique experience in business and in Christian higher education as a faculty member and administrator with both traditional and distance learning, and with accreditation, are a great fit for ACU at this point in our history.” Dr. Adamson comes to ACU from The Bible Seminary near Houston, Texas, where he most recently served as Provost and Professor of Theology. He also serves as Executive Director of a theological accrediting organization. Dr. Adamson has served seasonal pastoral stints in Canada and Scotland, and his background includes a 20-year corporate career as a manager and director in a variety of communications technologies industries. He has master’s degrees in both Applied Mathematics and Divinity, as well as a doctorate in Theology and Apologetics from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. ACU’s retiring Provost, Dr. Gary Damore said, “I am grateful that Dr. Adamson has answered the Lord’s call to accept the position of Provost and COO.  The transition is going seamlessly and I am confident his leadership is just what ACU needs for the next stage... read more
Provost Dr. Gary Damore to Deliver Fall Commencement Address

Provost Dr. Gary Damore to Deliver Fall Commencement Address

Arizona Christian University is proud to announce that Dr. Gary Damore, the school’s Provost who is retiring at the end of this year, will deliver ACU’s 2016 Fall Commencement address. ACU’s Fall Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 10, 2016 in Fultz Memorial Gymnasium at Arizona Christian University, 2625 E. Cactus Road in Phoenix. This will be ACU’s second Fall Commencement, this year featuring a total of 26 graduates from the traditional and Degree Completion Program who will receive bachelor’s degrees from Arizona’s most selective University. “Dr. Gary Damore has been at the heart of ACU’s resurgence during the past decade,” said ACU President Len Munsil. “His dedication to academic excellence, his leadership skills, and his heart for faculty, staff and students at ACU have been absolutely essential during ACU’s huge transition from Bible college to Christian liberal arts university. I’m so grateful for his friendship, and I know he will continue to be involved at ACU and as a leader in the body of Christ for years to come.” Dr. Damore has worked in the field of education for more than 40 years. He has been a teacher, principal, superintendent, college faculty member and Provost. Dr. Damore holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, a Master of Science in English as a Second Language and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, all from Northern Arizona University. As ACU’s Provost, Dr. Damore has been a strong spiritual leader to the staff, faculty and students as well as a gifted academic leader. He is passionate about quality, biblically-integrated instruction with a love for higher education. Dr. Damore also serves on... read more
Teaching Millennials #connections

Teaching Millennials #connections

by Linnea Lyding, ACU Education Department Chair Millennials, it turns out, are on track to becoming “the most educated generation in American history” (Pew Research Center, 2010, p. 2).  As the ACU Education Department Chair, I decided it was time to learn as much as I could about this unique and passionate group of students that fill our university classrooms. Using a quick, informal survey of friends and family, I came up with six key words that relate to the activities of a Millennial.  The words are: selfies, snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, emojis, and hashtags.  At first glance, these words can give the impression of self-absorption.  However, I work with Millennials, and because of this, I see something deeper.  I see connections.  By staying connected in real time, they are able to share whom they are with, what they are doing, and how they are feeling with the world around them. Always curious and ready to act, Millennials enjoy reaching out with hashtags to find people to connect with on similar topics of interest. Millennials are often referred to as the “connected” generation, implying that they are constantly connected to technology.  I agree that they are “connected;” however, I would say their connections are much more personal than technological. According to the Pew Research Center (2010), Millennials “get along well with others, especially their elders” (p. 8).  Millennials are not only connected to their peers, but they also connect with and care about non-profit causes.  This is evidenced by the fact that “84% of Millennial employees made a charitable donation in 2014” (Achieve, 2015, p. 9), and they volunteered as... read more
ACU Adds New Transfer Agreement with Cochise Community College

ACU Adds New Transfer Agreement with Cochise Community College

Arizona Christian University has added a new Articulation Agreement in southern Arizona to its previously established relationships with Central Arizona College and Maricopa Community College. Dr. Karl Sterner, ACU’s Vice President of Professional, Adult and Online Studies Division, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with Cochise County Community College District to facilitate the transfer of its students directly to ACU. Students who have earned their Associate’s Degree and meet the established admissions requirements set by ACU are able to transfer in and finish degrees as traditional or Degree Completion Program students. This program provides a great opportunity for community college students to maximize their prior coursework and credits to match with courses required at ACU. Both of these institutions mutually recognize each other as quality institutions of higher education, dedicated to providing greater educational opportunities and services for diverse students from all walks of life. ACU, founded in 1960 and located in north Phoenix, is the most selective university in Arizona, the best value Christian university in Arizona, and the only Arizona university ranked among the nation’s top Christian colleges and universities. ACU’s curriculum is set to meet the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) requirements, which aligns the institution with the curriculum standards of state schools. “The establishment of this relationship enables ACU to be a viable option for transfer students from Cochise County,” said Dr. Sterner. “Combined with our existing agreements, ACU continues to open doors for all our programs to expand and continue to grow in enrollment, both now and into the future.” Dr. Sterner is now working on additional articulation agreements with other community... read more
What’s missing in American politics? Our Founders would say virtue and religion

What’s missing in American politics? Our Founders would say virtue and religion

I’m in the classroom every day with college students, most of whom will be voting for president for the first time in less than a week. As a political science professor, I am curious to hear what the next generation is thinking about the current state of American politics. What I hear consistently is what they don’t like about politics. They point first to the most obvious—the lack of character and integrity in the candidates and more generally in elected officials. They harbor an abiding distrust of politicians, who they see as fundamentally dishonest, willing to say anything to get elected. Like many Americans, they believe politicians are inherently self-interested, more concerned about their own power than the common good or the needs of the average voter. They are disgusted with the corruption they see in American politics. They want authenticity in their candidates. But more troubling, they are deeply suspicious of American institutions. They don’t trust the government at any level. They generally believe the economic system is “rigged” against them. And they are particularly disillusioned with the news media. As they prepare to vote, they are desperate to know where they can go for accurate information to inform their decision. They instinctively recoil at the “spin” of the news media, and distrust any political news, no matter the source. These concerns expressed by the next generation are spot on, mirroring those of the American electorate at large. Polls show that trust in government and other institutions is at an historic low. An extensive Pew Research Center poll from 1958 to 2015 shows trust in government in a free... read more
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