Centurion: A Dream Come True

Anecdotal Reflections On the Beginnings Of Centurion Social Club Concerning Foundational Facts About Centurion Social Club Through Homecoming 1984

Participants: Carl Cates Danny André Dixon Danny Mann, Jr. Perry Sims Kerry Wilson Prepared Homecoming 1984 Tape and Notes Taken by Danny André Dixon


Contents Beginnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Perceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 First Plebes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 The Constitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Sing Song ―New Kids in Town‖ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 The Dream Lives On . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Club Song . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33


Centurion: A Dream Come True
Beginnings Danny Dixon And so how did it all start? Danny Mann It was the Monday after Bid Night (November 1979). Kerry Wilson and Carl Cates lived across the hall from me in Smith-Adams. And Kerry said, ―Let‘s all go pledge Galaxy.‖ We all pledged, and I can‘t speak for Carl, but I didn‘t work very hard at the rushes to get to know people. I just stood around. And Kerry was sort of shakin‘ hands and doing the stuff you‘re supposed to be doing to impress people at rushes. And as a result, when the bids came out, I didn‘t get a bid. And Carl didn‘t get a bid. But Kerry did. The Monday after bids had come out, I was walking through Moody Coliseum after chapel was over and Bob Hunter stopped me and said, ―Danny, what club did you pledge?‖ And I said, ―Galaxy. But I didn‘t get in.‖ And you know Bob. He seemed all upset and excited and everything. He said, ―You need to drop by my office a little later on.‖ So later that afternoon I went by his office. I really didn‘t know what he had in mind. I guessed he felt that I was upset or hurt or something. And I assured him that it wasn‘t Galaxy‘s fault that I hadn‘t gotten in, and all this kind of stuff, and that I hadn‘t tried hard. So anyway, we talked. Now Bob hunter is the best man that I have ever met for finding things for other people to do. He never, at any time in the talk that we had—which lasted about 25 minutes—he never said, ―Why don‘t you instigate starting a new social club. But we talked about how he had helped Kinsmen get started, and how he was always pleased to see new social clubs get started because he was a Frat (Frater Sodalis) himself. Anyway, I leaned forward and I said, ―Do you think that the time is right or feasible to start a new social club here at ACU?‖ He said, ―You know, Danny, that sounds like a good idea.‖ Well, I got pretty excited about it and walked straight from his office to Garvin Beauchamp‘s office. And I sat down. I told him about my discussion with Bob Hunter, and the idea of starting a new social club. I said, ―Beech, what do you think about that idea?‖ Now you‘ve gotta know Beech to understand this, but he leaned out slowly over his desk and got real soft and husky down in his voice, and he says, ―Oh! Isn‘t that a good idea! You and your buddies‘d be the good ones to get it started.‖ So I walked out of that meeting—and Carl [Cates], this is where your memory‘s gotta start comin‘ in—and I was pretty excited about that meeting because we had Bob Hunter‘s backing, though that was the last input he had into the formulation of the organization. That Monday night, Kerry was at a Nova meeting [Galaxy pledge meeting]. Kerry Wilson It was a meeting to get acquainted with what was to be expected of us during the pledge period. 3

Danny Mann Anyway, Kerry was gone, and I knocked on Carl‘s door and I said, ―I‘ve got something I‘ve gotta talk to you about.‖ And he said, ―What?‖ And we started talking about it. And he got pretty fired up about it too. But the thing that we agreed on was that we could not tell Kerry because we didn‘t want to cause a conflict of interest in his activity with Galaxy. We knew that he was pleased, and we were pleased for him, that he was in Galaxy. And none of us had anything against Galaxy. But we also felt like we wanted to talk to some other people about it. The next day, Tuesday, in chapel, Carl, Kerry, and I were all sitting together down in Section A that year, Row B. Perry Sims Kerry, did you quit Galaxy before this or after this? Kerry Wilson I knew nothing about this before I was approached later. Danny Mann Hear that, world? I was just getting to that. Kerry Wilson I swear upon my 35 mm pictures of long ago! Danny Mann So anyway, Carl and I were talking about it while we‘re sitting there. Kerry comes and sits down beside us. And I remember this just like it was yesterday, because he didn‘t have a suit on, and he also didn‘t have on his pledge pin. So I asked him, ―Where‘s your pledge pin? What‘s the deal?‖| And he looks pretty disgusted. And he looks pretty tired. And he says, ―Well, I de-pledged last night.‖ Danny Dixon Why? Danny Mann We‘re not going into any secret details. Danny Dixon Why not? Kerry Wilson ‗Cause it isn‘t right.


Danny Mann ‗Cause he wouldn‘t . . . he doesn‘t need to . . . Perry Sims [Interjecting] Turn off the dad-gum tape recorder and let‘s get down to it! Danny Mann Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Perry Sims And take away Danny [Dixon‘s] notebook, and we‘ll never tell! Wilson [More seriously] Some of the things were not what I wanted to be subjected to. Danny Mann And there was something that you never told me about because you were sworn to secrecy. Something that happened on bid night that he didn‘t approve of at all. And he had struggled with it since then— Kerry Wilson —that I could not see participating in later. Danny Dixon What was it?! Kerry Wilson I can‘t say. The only significance of this discussion now of me de-pledging Galaxy is that it was not a club that I wanted to be a part of, even though I had personal friends in the club, and still do have friends who were long ago; it was not the type of organization that I wanted to be in. Carl Cates I can tell what I recall he told most everybody. He said, ―Danny Mann and I didn‘t get in.‖ And you‘ve got to understand—David Flow (a Centurion later) had pledged Galaxy and didn‘t get in. Carl didn‘t get in. And all my close friends are not in, and so— Danny Mann He couldn‘t see dropping fellowship? Carl Cates Right. Right. Kerry Wilson But most of all, you know, this type of thing happens in clubs. One person gets in and then he realizes, ―Well, next semester I‘ll go through the period and I‘ll get these things over and done with.‖ But I couldn‘t see staying there ‗til next semester. And though I wouldn‘t have gone


through it myself, I guess I made a judgment on their behalf that I didn‘t think they‘d want to be a part of what I‘d been through. Danny Mann And the importance of this part of the story is that Kerry knew nothing, absolutely nothing about Centurion before he de-pledged Galaxy. He de-pledged absolutely not encouraged by any of us. This is more important than the big reasons why he did de-pledge. Now I‘m going to just Start wandering: One of the very important things about what we did after that point was in recruiting. Kerry knew people that I didn‘t know. Carl knew people that I didn‘t know, and I knew people that neither of them knew. Danny Dixon We had one meeting, where a lot of people on campus came to express interest. Carl Cates It was like Curtis Carpenter and even Charles Pullen, and several guys who ended up being Moonies [Galaxy] members. Danny Dixon Jimmy Fagala. Danny Mann I‘ll remember the deal about Fagala. I‘ll never forget that. Perry Sims What was that all about? Danny Mann He wanted us to do weird things. Danny Dixon He wanted us to be a club club. I remember that previous to this meeting, there were several to whom we sent letters saying we wanted to be a club that was not like a club. A club made up of people who don‘t need club. And that was one thing that we pushed that night. In the Main Room. Perry Sims Yeah! He wanted the stuff like they did at LCC (Lubbock Christian College]. Danny Mann Yeah! He wanted stuff for bid night like the shaving cream in the mouth and that kind of thing. Carl Cates Yeah! He wanted to start a new chapter here of an LCC club [Koinonia?]


Danny Mann Let‘s keep this in chronological order, now. I don‘t remember that on this Tuesday we could do anything but ―P.R.‖ until the next Wednesday night. This was Tuesday after bid night that we talked to Kerry about it, and started talking to other people. It was the next Wednesday night that we had our first organizational meeting. Carl Cates We got together in your room Danny [Mann], and there were several people sitting, talking, and thinking through the logistics of it. I remember your room mate Paul Sloan being there. It seems like that was the time we decided that everybody was going to go out and talk to people about being at this meeting we were going to have. And then there was the first major interest meeting you‘re describing. Danny Mann And that happened in the Main Room. We talked to people, but it was all very ―hush-hush.‖ Nobody knew anything about Centurion until we had that Charters‘ Meeting in the Administration Building. But nobody talked about it. Galaxy didn‘t know about it. And if they had, |Kerry, they would have give you a hard time about Centurion. Kerry Wilson I really didn‘t even get much flack about de-pledging, ―Cause another fellow de-pledged. And they didn‘t bother him or me until— Danny Mann –Centurion became common knowledge. Kerry Wilson Right. Carl Cates But there was some pretty heavy duty stuff going on in that Main Room Interest Meeting. The tentative name came up. Before the meeting, nobody thought it would be a serious effort or that it would go through. Danny Mann I remember three meetings in the Main Room. Danny Dixon I remember before that big one, Danny, and your conversation with me. I wasn‘t exactly organizationally involved at the first. Perry Sims I remember that Jim Nutt was the one with the initial input that we be a different kind of social club, though he had other time commitments in basketball and didn‘t stay with us.


Carl Cates When he stood up and said that, it weeded out the people who thought we were going to be a club that would meet and have a three-hour Bible study every Wednesday night. That gave an opposite perspective to work against some of the people at the interesting meeting.


Meetings Danny Dixon Well, Danny, go on with the substance of those first organizational meetings. Danny Mann Well, I was principally the mediator for discussion. All that meant was that I stood up in front long enough to recognize some speaker and then I sat down, and let the meeting go until it gout out of line. And then I‘d stand up and field another question, and we‘d discuss that. But we had a lot of discussing about what we wanted it to be. I think we made a big deal out of making sure everyone understood that we weren‘t against all the other clubs. But that we just like the idea of the opportunity to start from scratch. Danny Dixon I heard verbalized, ―Give the guys on campus another option for a different type of club.‖ Kerry Wilson Yes. Danny Mann It came up lots of times from a lot of the more fanatical people who said, ―We don‘t want to be like this or that of other social clubs.‖ And I remember we put down negative talk of badmouthing everybody else. If that was the only way that we could make what we were doing look good—by talking down others—our purpose was no good anyway. Kerry Wilson I remember us saying that if we‘re gonna start from scratch to build an organization, let‘s decided what we do want to do to unite social and spiritual—not to be anti-anything as best as we could. Carl Cates We discussed the name of the club in the second meeting when we were fed the concept of being a new chapter of the LCC club. If we did that we figured, we‘d have to adopt their principles. We wanted something original. And everyone was coming up with names like ―Boanerges‖ Greek for Sons of Thunder [It was being pronounced Bow AN er Jeez.] Danny Dixon I still wished we‘d had that name. If the Freshmen hadn‘t come up with that little group t that little radical Spirit group that went by that name . . . Carl Cates Some of the people liked the idea of an entity that was concrete, that stood for something historical. I was sitting down with an astronomy book looking for a name. Jody Dean had out his Bible. And Jody, with all his quiet nature, screamed out across the room, ―We‘ll call it Centurion!‖ And was sitting there staring.


Danny Mann Some people didn‘t like it because it was too much like Trojans. But we came back to it because of the rich Roman history behind it. Carl Cates Jody Dean had done research and presented most of that information in our next meeting. Danny Mann Well I know that sitting over in Smith-Adams with Carl and \Kerry that my concern was where would we get our traditions, and that‘s why the Centurion idea appealed to me. Carl Cares When you talked about the original Rome as original conquering city-state, it was rich in names and even in certain procedures that we could immediately incorporate into Centurion. For instance, it took a Senate vote to raise a Plebeian to Patrician status. Danny Mann What came next? Danny Dixon That meeting where we said midnight is the deadline for being a Charter Member. Danny Mann I would never have dreamed of some of the guys who came in as being ones who would even think of joining a club. Danny Dixon Time was winding down. We had to have a charter written. Danny Mann I remember talking to Ricky Kemp who was Vice President of the sTudents Association, and a very good friend of mine at that time. I remember him saying that all a charter needed to say was, ―This is what the club stands for,‖ and later on we could write the Constitution. There was no time limit on that part of it. Perry Sims That‘s how I remember Jim Nutt wrote the statement of purpose for the club, ―To properly unite our Christian lifestyle with our social lifestyle.‖ He had said in that original meeting that we ought to be a club that Jesus would be a part of if he were in a social club. And we said ―Are we gonna make Him to be a Greek dude!‖ [Laughter from All] Perry Sims That phrase in the Constitution wasn‘t changed until a couple of years later.


Danny Mann And really, the reason for that was that in two years we‘d lost and drifted from the idea of the original dream and we were very uncomfortable with the idea of that in our Constitution. So we took it out. I‘d like to see it put back in. Perry Sims It comes across weird. The way it‘s worded now, I think it says the same thing. It‘s just worded a little more eloquently. If people would look at the original document in the Dean‘s office, they‘d think we were a bunch of Bible-totin‘ Bible majors. Danny Mann Think of how much time we had. [Bid night was in the first of September]. October and November was when we were going through the chartering process. Danny Dixon We had to have something to present to the Students Associatin. And the one thing that we didn‘t have worked out was a statement on what our pledges were going to do. And all we wrote in the Constitution—and it stayed that way, and eventually caused the major conflict that arose in the club—was ―Pledges of Centurion shall be called Plebes.‖ Period. That‘s all it said. Carl Cates They didn‘t need to know everything about our pledging period. We‘re getting a little ahead of ourselves, though. We‘d decided on our club colors. Ron Armstrong, who‘d come from Arizona State, came up with them [Maroon and Gold]. Danny Dixon Do you remember the hole in the wall because of Ron Armstrong? Carl Cates Oh yeah! That argument over whether, because of his GPA, he could be in Sing Song. Danny Dixon Perry, you remember over at the Vanderpool Building, I was Keeper of Order [Name later chan ged to Parliamentarian, although the office of KO covered much more than mere administrative procedure in meetings]. That first year you were Sing Song Director, and you looked at me in an officers‘ meeting and said, ―Dixon, if the President of the University overrode the rules and said he could be in it would you approve? Tell me, now!‖ Perry Sims I just wanted as many people on stage as we could get. With our small numbers we were going to be pitiful anyway. Danny Dixon And I wanted to go by the Constitution which said he couldn‘t.


Perry Sims Joe Hardin wanted to beat David Flow to a pulp. Danny Dixon And David Flow was so scared, and he couldn‘t hit anybody, so he just ran his fist into the wall! Carl Cates We‘re deviating. But to talk about the colors and things like that is just to put credit where it‘s due. There are so many things. Who was on the first Constitution Committee? Danny Dixon Perry Sims, me [Danny Dixon], Tom Gritton, and Buddy Overton. Perry Sims And Buddy was there just for that first semester. He didn‘t even come back in January. Carl Cates And he was the one who designed the logo. Perry Sims We were one of the most argumentative groups because no one would conform to what anyone else wanted. That‘s why we wanted to start a new club. Danny Dixon This is true. Carl Cates It was the biggest group of non-clubbers that ever was in a club! Danny Dixon We believed that everybody should have his say in a meeting. Perry Sims And that everyone could do what he wanted and not have to conform to something else. Danny Mann But the thing that we did so well, was that when we walked out of those club meetings— Kerry Wilson —We were unified. Carl Cates Even in disagreement we were unified. Danny Dixon And that didn‘t hold true in the next couple of years all the time. 12

Carl Cates That‘s true. Danny Mann [Thoughtfully] But it did, that first year. We walked out agreed. Carl Cates We got all that ―jot and tittle‖ agreed upon at least by consensus. Danny Mann There was one club, and it was Centurion. It was not fragmented. Danny Dixon That was one of the main reasons that we said, ―Two-thirds vote for anything to pass.‖ We never wanted there to be just a 51-50 per cent decision. Kerry Wilson That‘d be pretty hard to do. Ha! Danny Dixon Forty-nine/fifty-one! Perry Sims There we go! Danny Dixon, Math major. Danny Dixon But I‘m majoring in Bible! [Laughter All] Carl Cates What about that charter ceremony. Danny Dixon There never was a ―CharterO mever wo;; fprget. Tjpigj. |State upir fi;; ma,e/|‖ ceremony, though the charters were all inducted. ―Grit‖ (Tom Gritton) made up the ceremony. I remember that I always that of it as a strange deal, especially where it was worded, ―Where you stand, all have stood before,‖ because on the first night in November, that was the first time it had ever been done. No one went before! That‘s why we were charters! Perry Sims Danny Dixon And, ―If you turn around, it will be on pain of death.‖


Perry Sims And we asked Mark Perry to pledge to the original ceremony about ―Your loyalty to the United States.‖ And he kind of went, ―But I‘m a Canadian!‖ [Laughter All] Danny Dixon We did take that out later. Carl Cates But let‘s face it: ―Grit‖ wrote most of that first ceremony. Danny Dixon He needs credit for that. Perry Sims I know that I about died laughing every time I did that part of the ceremony with the water poured on the hands and said, ―This is for your purification.‖ Carl Cates I remember that first ceremony. It was a unifying time without any doubt.


Perceptions Danny Mann We need to mention the coverage we got. Danny Dixon I remember this much: Everybody laughed us off as a legitimate club. They said, ―You‘ll never last.‖ Danny Mann Let this name go down forever: Max Steward, in Galaxy, said, ―I hope they fall flat on their faces!‖ Carl Cates He was ―Mister Yes-I-Comb-My-Mustache.‖ He called Ricky Kemp, my friend who was a Frat. And he said, ―Is it true that Danny Mann, and Kerry Wilson, and Carl Cates and some guys are starting a new social club?‖ And Rick said, ―Yeah. But I think you need to talk to Danny about that. I can‘t give you any information on it.‖ And Max said, ―Well I hope they fall flat on their faces!‖ And the thing that we hadn‘t said yet is that a potential new club had to be voted on by the entire Senate of the Students Association. The day that we were to be voted in, Kemp calls me into his office down at the S.A. in McGlothlin Campus Center and says, ―Guess what I just found out? Greg Muns, Galaxy president, has been on the phone to the leaders of all of the men‘s and women‘s social clubs this afternoon trying to rally enough votes to defeat you all, and to keep you from becoming members of the Inter Social Club Council. Danny Dixon We knew that something like that was in the brewing. Carl Cates Well we thought it was going to happen at the Senate meeting, but we had in-house people there. Danny Dixon And they voted for us. No one voted against us. Carl Cates Kerry and I were both in Senate that year. And Kel Hamby wasn‘t gonna go against us. We had the senior class behind us. We had the sophomore class behind us, and the freshmen sure weren‘t going to go against us. And it was pretty well sealed, gone, and honed. Danny Dixon We had our ―stuff together.‖ No one voted against us. Perry Sims And as much as Galaxy was against us, Kinsmen were for us. Danny Dixon 15

And why was Galaxy against us? I think it was because with the leadership that was in this club, we were going to be a threat to take away the Moonies prestigious Number One position that they‘d held for so long. Perry Sims Which we did by the time we were seniors two years later. And if there was one club that we didn‘t agree with in the way they handled themselves, it was Galaxy. Danny Mann Kinsmen were very friendly. Their spring President helped us a lot. Sub-T was very friendly. The only club that Muns got to was Ko Jo Kai. And rather than vote against us at the ISCC meeting, they just didn‘t show up. Galaxy was there and they felt they had to vote for us when they saw everybody else‘s hands go up. Carl Cates In essence, we just marched right through. The Student Life Committee breezed us by. Senate wasn‘t a problem. Danny Mann ISCC wasn‘t a hindrance. Danny Dixon Our officers were: President—Danny Mann, Jr. Vice President—Glenn Purselley Keeper of Order—Danny Dixon And I should say that in the revision committee even, there was never a change officially of the title Keeper of Order to be called Parliamentarian. I don‘t know where that came from or why it‘s allowed even today. Secretary—Rick Flood Bouncer—Joe Hardin ISCC Reps (2)--? Spiritual Life Director—? Plebe Pop—Carl Cates In the creation of the Constitution we talked about the power we wanted the President to have. Danny Mann He had more power than any other President in any other social club. He had the authority to veto any action, and it was dead. Danny Dixon But he could be removed from office with a two-thirds vote. 16

Danny Mann I started to veto Sing Song that first year. Perry Sims I wish you had. Danny Mann But it was a good exposure. Danny Dixon You only used that power once. There was a close vote on some action the club was considering. Danny Mann I don‘t know if the present President, Kevin Gwin, even knows about that power. Danny Dixon He knows. Danny Mann What did I use it for? Carl Cates It had to do with some close vote the club had for what to do for spring social in 1980. Danny Dixon The vote was just at the two-thirds, but it was clear that a lot of people weren‘t comfortable with it. And so for unity of spirit, Danny, you vetoed it, and everybody respected the decision. Danny Mann I thought it was over Greg Melton. He wanted to play in intramurals, but he was inacactive because he had missed too many Wednesday meetings because he was a weekend youth minister. I wanted to veto the club decision to let him. Danny Dixon I don‘t think that‘s what it was. Carl is more on target about that. Carl Cates You were nubbed for not wanting Melton to be in intramurals. Danny Mann I guess that was when I began to go down in popularity. Danny Dixon The club has reaffirmed its position on inactive status in a recent meeting (1984).


The First Plebes Carl Cates Well, let‘s step back some. We need to get into the first pledge period and Sing Song. I‘m going to insert something here because I froze half to death doing a bunch of this stuff. I was working in town over Christmas in 1979. I was trying to earn money for Spring tuition. There were only three of us in town. Danny Dixon Oh yes. That year we chose Sing Song Director. The candidates were Perry Sims and Rick Flood. We knew there‘d be no time after our return to do any preparation for Sing Song. We had only become a club in November 1979. It was December. Sing Son would be in February of 1980. And we had to have the pledge period set up too. Perry Sims We had to submit a name for Director just a few weeks after we started the club— Danny Mann —We did a lot of things like that. Carl Cates Yeah, we did— Perry Sims Because ―Highty Duty‖ (John Duty, Director of Special Events wanted the names by the end of the month). Danny Dixon I remember how in the officers‘ meeting we consciously said we were going to railroad through the Pledge Master. Carl Cates I think Grit had been Plebe Pop but he‘d decided not to come back in the Spring, and didn‘t tell us till the very end of ‘79. But I was going to be in town. I remember studying in the library. And I researched and wrote. That‘s when everything concerning traditions that got in the Pledge Book got written. Grit and I dreamed and schemed and bounced a thing or two off Kerry, and cooked chili, and got ill, and played ―42,‖ and all sorts of things to plan for the pledge period. Let‘s say some more about first bid night, skipping the part where Danny Dixon screamed at everything I‘d planned. Danny Mann And I wore a suit the whole night because I was so uptight about the whole thing. Perry Sims Ha! And that was the stupidest thing you ever did! 18

[Laughter from All] Carl Cates My favorite memory was when I shouted out that the Plebes had to do 200 pushups and 200 situps, and Al See pooped off, ―Sir! May I show my fellow Plebes how to do these, sir?‖ He drops and gives us 25 on each arm—after having done the 200 of each previous requirement. We left Al alone for the rest of that night. Perry Sims I was fixing to say, no one messed with Al! [Laughter from All] Danny Dixon I will say that we treated our pledges better than all the clubs. We began the night by taking them all to a steak dinner. Their pledge periods after that first night was primarily not in being put to shame by the club, but by them doing service for others on campus.


The Constitution Danny Mann What do we need to cover? Danny Dixon I think we need to cover the significance of the Constitution. Danny Dixon And I remember how all of us on the Constitutional Committee [Jody Dean, Perry Sims, Buddy Overton, Tom Gritton, Kerry Wilson and Danny Dixon] would meet in Walling Lecture Hall sitting there with a dozen constitutions spread before us from the various Christian Colleges. And we looked at them. The President of Kinsmen gave us the Kinsmen Constitution. He said, ―Call on us if there‘s anything we can do to help.‖ Perry Sims I wanted something that was very simple that we could look to, like the U.S. Constitution, that didn‘t tie us down to legalities. Danny Dixon And I wanted us to be legally tight, so there‘d be no questions as to what we were about in specifics that were significant. Danny Mann I wanted us to be legal too. I wanted everything to be obvious ‗cause you‘d be ―loose‖ if you weren‘t. Danny Dixon There‘s a lot that still is ―loose‖ in it as it stands now. Kerry Wilson The Committee had our own little ―Mini Knock-Down-Drag-Outs‖ working on that thing. But we all wanted the same thing, though—something that was going to be significant and last. Danny Mann We need to write a commentary on the Constitution, so that future generations can know our original intent, or else anything could come up in interpreting it. Danny Dixon If there was ever a Commentary on the Constitution, the only people who could ever do it would be the charter members. No one else could ever know our intention as we knew it. What compromise did we come to, Perry, for it to be a précised document as it is? Perry Sims One of those characteristic Centurion long, long, meetings, and I gave in. My will was weak! We looked at all the different constitutions, and our original Constitution was very similar to them.


Danny Mann I had nothing to do with writing the Constitution. Carl Cates Nor did I. Danny Dixon The club voted on every single paragraph that the Constitutional Committee originated. Danny Mann That‘s why we had some long meetings at the first. That‘s where I get my everlasting reputation for being long-winded. I don‘t think I am, let the record show . . . Danny Dixon Notice how long, even now, it takes for him to get to his point. Danny Mann We had such long meetings because we had to write and ratify a Constitution. Danny Mann When I got the letter inviting us to Homecoming Breakfast this time, I sat down and read it and just got real reminiscent. I thought, ―Isn‘t it funny that all that had to happen on a point of procedural conflict was for Danny Dixon to stand up as Keeper of Order and say, ―YOU CAN‘T DO IT THAT WAY!‖ as if it were physically impossible to proceed the way we might have been thinking. And it was because of the Constitution. He would stand up and say it. And unlike what most other groups of college people would have done like saying, ―Oh, that‘s just a piece of paper. It‘s no big deal!‖ when he stood up and in that high-pitched shrill shout, ―Order!‖ and read why from the Constitution, nobody questioned it. Danny Dixon Mitch Mullhall, in my opinion, has been the only other person with a parliamentarian spirit who has realized the power and importance of his office of Keeper of Order. I remember in the creation of the Constitution that the Committee knew that first and foremost, this club had got to have a law that could not be changed on a whim. And as we were sitting down and writing out things, I remember pushing, pushing, pushing to make the parliamentary p0wer great in the office of Keeper of Order. Danny Mann Of all the things that I disagreed with Danny on, I agreed with him 100% on this, and I always backed up that Constitution. Sometimes I wanted to interpret it differently than he did. I remember that I could wait to read it as it would come along. The Committee would work on it, and Dixon would type on it until late in the night, and I‘d get it the next morning. I‘ll never forget that. Isn‘t it interesting that we became the second largest club on Campus in a year and a half? Second only to Galaxy, and I believe with all my heart—and you may choose to edit this out, 21

Danny [Note: I didn’t—D.A.D.]—that those people who were recruited in that time in that first year and later became members the next year, they were recruited when we were following that Constitution that we had very carefully worked through. And while all of the leadership that club had, their lives centered on God, and in trying to live like Jesus lived. Kerry Wilson I remember the prayer meetings. Danny Mann I remember prayer meetings. I remember getting up in chapel once when I led singing, Dixon spoke, Kerry led a prayer, and Karl gave the announcements—when everybody leading in the ACU chapel experience that day was a Centurion. And it wasn‘t because it was Centurion Day either. We were spiritual leaders on campus and we just happened to be chosen to participate that day. That was my proudest moment in club. And I remember it happening at Hillcrest Church too. Kerry Wilson Many of the L.I.F.E. Group leaders were Centurions [L.I.F.E. small groups at the Hillcrest Church of Christ. Norman Archibald, who was Dean of Students at Abilene Christian University at the Time, was also Hillcrest‘s University Minister during its period of greatest numerical growth with college students. His ministry schema organized the 1,000-plus students in the L.I.F.E. groups. The letters of the acronym stood for Love Involvement Fellowship and Evangelism.] Carl Cates Some nicknamed it Centurion Church of Christ. Danny Mann The point that I‘m making is that this club has come through a difficult time here recently. And it had the difficult time because of this: The Constitution was not held up. And because the club itself—and I don’t say this to put down individuals—but the club itself was not centered in the same spiritual atmosphere. Danny Dixon I always used to get peeved in reading through Contending for the Faith magazine when these guys would write these articles and say, ―Brethren, we‘re drifting!‖ And they‘d rant and rave about how we as a fellowship were leaving the Churches of Christ. And I can remember watching the club, after its second year. Decisions were made with the statement: ―These are things clubs do!‖ And I would think, ―We are drifting! How often there were times that we‘d make decisions precisely for the reason that we didn’t want to be like other organizations. Danny Mann Sometimes we went overboard.


Danny Dixon True, we did. But we had a certain consciousness of our own valid uniqueness that attracted people. Danny Mann I wanted us to be pro-active, not reactive. But I agree. I wanted us to chart our own course, not based on what others were doing. Perry Sims That first year, half the stuff we talked about centered around being unique—even if it meant hanging our President from the bell tower— Danny Mann —Which as President, I was always against! [Laughter by All] Danny Mann Let me say this: I would like this history to include a prediction from us as original officers: As long as Centurion goes by that Constitution and keeps at its absolute center ―God as the basis for everything they do,‖ God will bless them. I don‘t believe we became the second largest club on campus and became a real force on campus that everybody talked about by our own merit. I believe with all my heart that God blessed what we did. And that‘s the reason that the club grew. And that‘s the reason that it was so dynamic you couldn‘t even put a handle on it. Danny Dixon Kevin Gwin reaffirmed this at the breakfast this morning. So at least we knew where the desire of the club is. We just have to have people with the will and the fortitude to be tenacious about following through with that reaffirmation for a spiritual focus. Danny Mann Put that in there! Danny Dixon Danny, what are your feelings about the current revisions in the Constitution? Danny Mann I‘m not comfortable with them. Because until we put together some kind of commentary, any revision may really go off the track of what we originally intended for it to be. And we don‘t have any control over that. Perry Sims Well, what we originally wanted it to be and what it‘s become over the last two years is different. It‘s their club and what they want it to be. Danny Dixon 23

Now, you see, that‘s one thing I didn‘t like about Kevin‘s speech this morning, which reflects what you‘re saying, Perry. Carl Cates What was said? Danny Dixon He said, ―I really appreciate the guys in past years that let go and let it become our club.‖ Perry Sims The older guys, 24 years old, need out. Carl‘s in there. But they‘re returning to the the dream. Danny Mann But don‘t you think they‘re getting back because of Carl Cates‘ influence, and because of Danny Dixon‘s influence? Carl Cates I was casually active until this Fall when they asked me to come back. Danny Dixon Let me say something. I‘ll tell you one of the reasons I think the present leadership wanted to go back to the old was the big hullabaloo that came over C.W. and K. B.. They wanted to get into club in the Fall of 1982. Jim Brown was Spiritual Life Director. Jeff Conner was President. Kerry Wilson I was never aware of this since I‘d already begun my family. Danny Mann Are you gonna put this on tape? Danny Dixon Well no. [Substance: The two individuals initialized above wanted to join Centurion. Their qualities were such that they met all the high standards of character specifically outlined in the Constitution. Derogatory remarks were made bid night concerning their not having some of the more socially recognized qualities such as athletic prowess, which would make the club more attractive and a more significant force in intramurals. Dixon made efforts to get the Constitution amended to more precisely represent the initial spirit of the document that would not ―black ball‖ the entry of people in to Centurion because people may have found them inept by worldly standards when they really represented the highest of godly qualities and would be an asset to the club in those ways. The proposed amendment was not to forbid a vote to keep any individuals out of club, but was designed so that if a person did not get a bid, all voters would be required to state their reasons for not desiring particular candidates. The spirit of the move would be to make sure that illegitimate intent, as powerful as it might be, could not function under cover of darkness and intrigue. All would be exposed, although the vote might stand anyway, if these voters wanted to 24

stick with their intentions. The proposed amendment of which three sentences were read was never fully allowed to be read to the club for the members‘ consideration due to certain perceived parliamentary irregularities.] Danny Dixon The original intent of the organization was that good people could be in the club and that people would be openly responsible for their action in rejecting individuals. Danny Mann That‘s such a subjective thing. Kerry Wilson This would keep them out of pledgeship, not club. Danny Dixon In our haste in leaving out until later the Constitutional statement on pledges, we never defined how one could become a pledge. We merely said, ―Pledges shall be called Plebes.‖ Until 1982, there was no statement on how to decide who could get in or on how to vote people into the organization. It was a fundamental error. And we never did it the same way twice up until that time. Nor did we anticipate a problem like the one that happened between the two guys mentioned above. It was finally voted that year that any person who would vote would have been in quality contact with the prospective Plebe. If a member didn‘t attend the retreat that potential Plebes were invited to, he could not vote. It was felt that rushes and teas were inadequate to get to know these people. But when the next election year came around, and the next pledges were up for bid, the process for a retreat was totally rejected and removed from the Constitution before it was ever put into effect even one time. And the danger for another affair like this one still remained. Eventually, we came up with unofficial and unconstitutional First and Second Votes. But at that time, only one vote existed in the Constitution. And that was the one that stated how one became a member—by open vote. We really messed up by not being precise with regard to pledges. Kerry Wilson No one ever asked us to be specific in the Constitution after we went to that first SA meeting. Danny Dixon And we paid for it later. I made several trips to Dean Beauchamp when Jeff Conner was President and all of this was blowing up, and he said, ―There is no second vote.‖ The thing was that the whole system was arbitrary. Too much was taken for granted. Danny Mann Really, our ―Second Vote,‖ which wasn‘t in the Constitution was a formality. Danny Dixon So then the most important vote was the ―First Vote?‖ 25

Kerry Wilson Right. Danny Mann No one had ever been turned down on the Second Vote, to my knowledge. Danny Dixon But how many had been refused entrance for illegitimate reasons? And when it happened with K and C, they were wrong not to allow them in. Perry Sims Sure they were. That‘s why we need to let it go. \it‘s not ours anymore, it‘s theirs. Danny Mann That‘s the problem with the ACU Social Clubs structure. And if the truth would be known—and get ready for this; this is radical—I would like to do away with the vote, period. But at the same time you can‘t do away with selectivity and be successful at Abilene Christian. That‘s the nature of the beast. And to be selective, sometimes a certain group of people will turn down a certain person here and there. Danny Dixon I‘ve never been against selectivity. I‘ve just be for responsible selectivity. Danny Mann Well, remember the personality and characteristic of the social club at that point in time when they made that decision. The decision even was indicative of and sheds light on the club at that time. That was probably a smart decision on their part—get ready for this—it was probably a smart decision for them to do that, because even though those two guys were the type of guys we’d have originally Chartered even, they would not have fit into the club at that point in time. They would have been disillusioned. They would have chosen to be Inactive. Danny Dixon If the guys that aren‘t in the club now had gotten in and gotten into leadership positions, the club would be as it was at that time. And I‘m speaking in terms of their stated intent as present officers. Only time will tell what will happen. Perry Sims This is a question of when the club would have made it back to our original intentions. A year earlier or now. It doesn‘t matter because it seems they‘re there now. What‘s happened has happened. Danny Mann People are going to be misused in the present ACU Social Club Structure. If I had my way, and I‘ve told Beech this before, I would completely wipe social clubs off the face of the ACU


campus for two or three years and then reorganize them in such a way that the process of selectivity would be a whole lot different. Danny Dixon I‘m saying the blow up caused them to see what was going wrong. Perry Sims Well, then maybe that was a good thing to happen. Carl Cates It may have been. Danny Dixon We never intended for the vote that was in the Constitution to be an insignificant formality. And it must not be that even now, or ever. [Note: As of the writing of the present editing of this document, a new ACU methodology for entrance into Social clubs which solved the problem by a system of lots and bids where students are allowed to chose their clubs they want to be in and to have several choices. The present document is basically historically accurate up through 1984.—D.A.D. 2011]


Sing Song: “New Kids in Town” Carl Cates Perry, say something about Sing Song. Perry Sims Sing Song 1980 was one of the most embarrassing experiences in my entire life. I was standing there in front of a bunch of people with nothing on but a sheet! Danny Dixon Sing it! Perry Sims No way. Don‘t you know it? Danny Dixon No. I wasn‘t in that Sing Song. I think I was off being a god running at a track meet. I‘m not sure. Danny Mann Kill Joy! Danny Dixon Hey! I think, in reality, at that point in time, I was against dancing, which included for me, as ACU called it (only on Sing Song nights) ―choreography.‖ Kerry Wilson My how our values have changed over the years! Perry Sims New Kids in Town (Begin to the Tune of ―One Tin Soldier‖) Listen, people, to the story that began three months ago, All about the new beginning of the club Centurion. Told that we would never make it, Told we would not last too long. But we didn‘t listen to them. Now we‘re singling in our first Sing Song! We‘re the New Kids in Town! We‘re the New Kids in Town! There‘s a new club in town. ―I don‘t want to hear it!‖ There‘s a new club in town! ―We don‘t really want them!‖ 28

[Tune: ―The Quest‖]: ―They will dream the impossible dream. They‘ll fight the unbeatable foe. And besides, they‘ll steal all our pledges. Oh please! Don‘t let them go on!‖ [Tune: ―Looks Like We Made It‖]: But it looks like we made it, And we‘ve only just begun. \Cause we‘re Centurion. Now we‘re a club. Yes, we‘re second to none. (Centurion!) Now we are one. Yes, we are Centurion (Centurion!) We really did it! Now that we‘re one. We‘re brothers of Centurion! [Tune: ―We Did it Our Way‖]: And now the future‘s clear. And so we face our opening curtain. My friends, we‘ll say it clear And state our case of which we‘re certain. We‘ve lived, we‘ve laughed and cried. But through it all we found each other. Oh, but more, much more than this, We did it our way! For what is a man? What has he got? If not a club that he has not To say the things he truly feels, And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows we took the blows, And did it our way ! ! ! Danny Dixon Oh man! The history in that song! Danny Mann Isn‘t it the truth? ―And now we‘re singing in our first Sing Son . . .‖; ―We did it our way . . .‖; ―They said we‘d never make it . . .‖ Perry Sims You know when I wrote that line, I always thought that we‘d be saying 50 years from now, ―We‘re singing in our fiftieth Sing Song,‖ and that we‘d use that line every year. [Laughter from All]


Kerry Wilson But you see the whole significance in being in Sing Song that first year was not to win it . . . Danny Dixon It was to prove that we were a club. Kerry Wilson That was the whole idea. We knew we didn‘t have a chance. We just wanted to get up there and do it. Danny Mann Yeah! Perry Sims And that‘s why we wrote the song that we did. Because you remember how we talked about doing the Siamese Twins deal. And I said, ―You know that‘s a real cute idea. But heck! We can‘t win anything anyway.‖ Let‘s face it: When Galaxy spends a thousand dollars on their song and costumes, there‘s no way you‘re gonna beat ‗em. And so I said we‘d save that for some other time and let someone else do it. I just want to do a song that lets everybody know that we are on campus. And look what happened the next year. We put 23 guys on stage that first year. And the next year we had 53. Danny Mann We tried in succeeding years to keep something going that we really didn‘t understand. Perry Sims But think about it. We were 18 and 19 years old. Sophomores. That explained a lot of the hassles we had to go through. Carl Cates Oh yeah! But I can‘t believe I stood up and said, ―We can‘t let M. P. in because he shakes hands like a dead fish!‖ That‘s embarrassing. Perry Sims But think about it: That‘s a 19 year old mentality. ―A real man doesn‘t shake hands like that.‖ That‘s what everybody said. But it‘s to our everlasting credit that we didn‘t listen to it, and he was there in the club with us. Kerry Wilson And he turned out to be a super guy. Carl Cates As a matter of fact, I even voted ―yes‖ after having said that and the members discussed his potential.


Danny Mann I think I did wrong with Greg Melton, in not wanting him to be able to be in intramurals. And he was a youth minister. You think back on all those things. Perry Sims Bart Castle, the second President, he was a good President. And the next year when he was in Student Senate, that helped us more than anything else. Carl Cates It made me proud to see that, and participation in church. All the areas were covered. Social and spiritual lifestyles were combined as we intended.


The Dream Lives On Danny Dixon Who wrote the Club Song? Carl Cates The two people who wrote that song were Jeff Conner and James Williams. And James refuses to take the credit for it. Perry Sims And Conner has begged for it. Danny Dixon Come on guys! [Laughter] Carl Cates James is a living paradox, because he does like recognition for other things. Danny Dixon Should we give it to them? Carl Cates I think we should.


Club Song By Messrs Jeffrey H. Conner and James Williams The sky was clear. The wind was cold In November of ‘79. On a cloudless night in the heavens above A new Star there did shine. That selfsame star had been seen before When Rome was grand indeed. Her leaders and her generals Had looked up to that beam For courage (for courage) in their hour (in their hour) of need. The conquering might that enslaved the world Is with us still today. We‘re one small group with heads held high. To God above we pray: ―Look down on the Star that fell from the sky With your Word guiding our way. Lead us through the paths That the righteous did trod.‖ May the fellowship (fellowship) last (may it last) for aye! Sure as the heavens and bright as the sun Long live the brotherhood. Sure as the heavens and bright as the sun Long live the brotherhood. Centurion!


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