Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2006 Page: 5
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Although the school was
founded as Childers Classical
Institute, by the early 1910s
many at the school called it
Abliene Christian College. The
name was formally changed in
John Charles McKinizie and
John Dixon McKinizie practice
their football stance. The
school's first intercollegiate
football game was played on
Oct. 18, 1919 against Midland
The school welcomed its fourth president,Jesse P. Sewell,
in 1912. The change in leadership also brought many changes
for Childers Classical Institute. Sewell declined to accept
a salary for his job as president, and his wife, Daisy McQuigg
Sewell, came to the school to act as dean of women
and teach Bible and art.
During Sewell's first year at the school, he stated the
school should be called a college, and the name Abilene
Christian College began to be used more often. He also
publicized the fact that every student who attended the
school would be required to take a course in Bible. Sewell's
recruiting efforts helped bring more students to the school.
Enrollment had tripled by the end of his first year.
By 1914, Sewell had helped lead the institute out of
debt, and the school received accreditation as a junior college.
During 1914, the campus also saw growth with the
construction of four brick buildings, six other buildings and
additions to the administration building. Five years later,
the school was accredited as a senior college. Along with the
new accreditation, the year 1919 brought the construction
of a new administration building on campus.
Many new traditions and organizations began during
the 1910s at Childers Classical Institute. A student council
composed of two elected members from each class was created
in 1912, which later would evolve into the Students'
Association. In 1913, the student-run newspaper, the Optimist,
published for the first time, and the first edition of the
Prickly Pear yearbook was introduced in 1917.
One of the school's longest-standing traditions, the
annual Bible Lectureship, took place for the first time in
January of 1918. The school had to cancel the final evening
service because of a blizzard, establishing another school
tradition of difficult weather during the annual event. In
1919, the school adopted the Wildcat as its mascot, and
played in its first intercollegiate football game.
Students publish the first
issue of the school newspaper,
the Optimist, in August.
Arthur Slater served
as the first editor.
Jesse P. Sewell is inaugurated
as the school's fourth
The first edition of the
Prickly Pear yearbook was
published. Bellah Philpott
was the publication's
The first Bible Lectureship
took place in January. The
last evening service on Jan.
11 was canceled due to a
blizzard, beginning a tradition
of bad weather during
Students vote to adopt
the wildcat as the school's
official mascot, and the first
season of intercollegiate
The college is also recognized
as an accredited
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Abilene Christian University. Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian University, 2006, yearbook, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth39882/m1/8/: accessed February 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Abilene Christian University Library.