Obituary: Teague remembered by legacy of expansion

(Photo courtesy of ACU Today)

The chancellor emeritus and former president of the university, William J. Teague, died Wednesday morning.

Teague attended ACU from 1948 to 1952, and was a member of Frater Sodalis men’s social club, the “A” Club men’s honor organization and – for a year – arranged student devotionals for Chapel.

He graduated with a B.A. in speech and immediately went to work for then-president Dr. Don H. Morris as assistant to the president and secretary of the Alumni Association, serving in those roles for five years.

He earned a master’s degree from Columbia University in administration in 1959, and a doctorate in college administration from UCLA in 1965.

William and Margaret, his wife, were wed in 1948. Together, they studied in 46 countries and taught various subjects.

Dr. Royce Money, the 10th president of the university, said the two were devoted to one another – a team.

“Pam and I received a lot of inspiration from them, and watching how they worked together,” Money said. “Dr. Teague unfortunately had a stroke in his 70s. Peggy was by his side right up until their death. They were a great example of faithfulness in a marriage.

“The most lasting memory is their unconditional love for ACU. He had many opportunities, but chose to spend the time of his professional life on campus at ACU. He worked tirelessly to make ACU a better institution.”

Money came to work at ACU in 1981, the same summer Teague became president, and worked with him briefly in 1988 as his executive assistant.

“He was a mentor of mine,” Money said. “Because we were together frequently, I learned a lot about leadership from him.”

Teague served as an administrator at Harding, Pepperdine and ACU (president from 1952-57 and 1981-91, 1991-2007 as chancellor and 2007-present as chancellor emeritus) for over 50 years cumulatively.

During his tenure, Teague oversaw the construction of the Bible and business buildings, and played a large role in moving Judge Ely to the east, causing controversy at the time.

In addition to his oversight of physical expansion, under his presidency the university endowment increased from $18 million to $56 million.

In academics, the ACU Press was begun and KACU became KACU-FM, Abilene’s first NPR station. The Honors Program was created, and short- and long-term study abroad programs were initiated in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

In 1989, an endowed scholarship program began in honor of Teague and his wife, known as the William J. and Margaret L. Teague Excellence Award.

Three years later in 1991, the Teagues were named Christian Educators of the Year by 20th Century Christian magazine.

Teague Boulevard opened in May of 1992 and was dedicated three months later. In 1999, the Margaret L. and William J. Teague Special Events Center was built and dedicated.

He is survived by a son, Tom Teague (’71); two daughters, Susan Reid (’74) and Helen Teague (’83); and grandchildren William Randolph Teague and Amelia Louise Wildman (’11).

“Every president is raised up in his time for a specific purpose and reason,” Money said. “Dr. Teague set ACU on an excellent trajectory for academics. The very fact that where we are today, quality of academic education or facilities or reputation of ACU, I think its a testimony to his wisdom and vision.”

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