Two benefits of this season have been enjoyed in abundance at our home. First, we have had our entire family together for two weeks! And second, we have enjoyed reading Christmas cards, photos and letters, along with Facebook postings, from so many friends. Here is our update:
This was a milestone year for Tracy. First, she became Dr. Tracy Munsil with the successful completion and defense of her doctoral dissertation. Her husband, mother- and father-in-law and seven of her eight children were able to watch her defense, described by one member of her dissertation committee as among the best he had seen in a 40-year career. For me, it confirmed what I’ve been telling people since I met her – she is way smarter than me. Her topic – the political ideas of Mercy Otis Warren, the foremost female intellectual and supporter of the American Revolution – was a fascinating study of the necessary connection between virtue and liberty in order to maintain a republican form of government. After teaching full-time for a year in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies, she was lured away to help form a new Political Science Department at Arizona Christian University, where she holds the rank of Associate Professor and chairs the General Education department. Her year concluded with preparing and teaching a 6-week Biblical Worldview and Culture seminar at North Bible Church, our home church, to an average of around 100 adults and teens each Wednesday night. In addition, in 2011 Tracy celebrated a milestone birthday (although she looks a decade younger than the chronology), and together we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
Our oldest son Will is completing his third year of law school at ASU, where he has exceeded his father’s GPA (not difficult) and looks forward (ha) to the bar exam next summer, while interning at the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. He maintains sanity by writing for the State Press as a columnist, and more importantly by running a high school football and baseball program at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy. His football team, with small numbers and in just its second year, made the jump to AIA competition and shocked the state with an 8-2 record and a close loss on the road in the state quarterfinals, establishing numerous all-time Arizona records while averaging nearly 60 points per game. He even got some good press.
Our oldest daughter Leigh completed a year-long fellowship at the Dallas Morning News, where she had numerous front-page stories and covered the World Series and the Super Bowl. We were delighted to have her back in Arizona for a month before she began her dream job in her desired location – as a web producer for Politico in Washington D.C. She enjoys life inside the Beltway, and is now being given more opportunities to write for “44” – the section of Politico devoted to covering President Obama.
Anne is in her senior year at Arizona Christian University, where she is a four-year starter for the women’s basketball team and, having averaged 10 points per game through her entire career, is one of the leading scorers and 3-point shooters in school history. More significantly, she remains the only Munsil to have received an “A” in every class ever taken at every level as she prepares to graduate with her degree in Biblical Studies in May. She scored well on the LSAT and is preparing her law school admissions material now, while continuing as a barista at Starbucks. She interned during the summer for Congressman David Schweikert.
Michael is in his junior year at ACU, doing well academically as he progresses toward his degree in Secondary Education. While serving as an assistant high school football coach on his brother’s staff at Scottsdale Prep, he decided he may want to resume his playing career and is discussing eligibility and possibilities with several college football programs. His experiences working with young men on the football field seem to be confirming his desire to teach and coach at the high school level after college. He continues to enjoy singing in the ACU Chorale.
Laura is in her sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She continues to work multiple jobs – Harkins Theatres when in Arizona, and a food services job and a video editing job on campus – to help pay for an elite college education at one of the “little Ivy’s”. She survived a power outage due to an early fall snowstorm, and a bout with pneumonia, and continues to make outstanding progress on her Film Studies degree.
Hard to believe, but Ellen is in her senior year at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, where she will become part of the first graduating class in school history. Last year she received the most prestigious award for leadership in her class, and has served as a varsity captain in volleyball, basketball and softball. She continues to coach gymnastics and serve on the Governor’s Youth Commission, and went through the interview process and received a Congressional nomination to West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy. We should know soon where she will be headed for college.
Shortly after I completed last year’s Christmas update, Kaye had to undergo unexpected emergency surgery. All went well, but this setback caused her to miss a basketball tournament, where her team lost every game. When she returned two weeks later, Kaye and Ellen’s team never lost again en route to the Charter Athletic Association state championship, and Kaye – who scored a career high 34 points during one playoff game — was named the state’s Player of the Year. The hospital experience confirmed for Kaye her desire to go to medical school, and she was selected for a summer internship at Scottsdale Healthcare. She continues to receive excellent grades and provide leadership at her school.
Matt is in his sophomore year at Scottsdale Prep, and continues to do well academically while excelling in multiple sports. During the just-concluded football season, Matt was chosen by coaches and the Arizona Republic to the all-state team for his division. In a close playoff loss on the road, Matt set all-time Arizona single-game records for catches (19), receiving yards (279) and touchdowns (6) in a game – and had two more TD catches called back on penalties. He also made 25 tackles, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Matt was the MVP of the boys’ varsity basketball team last year as a freshman, and Outstanding Pitcher on the baseball team.
As for me, in November I accepted the Board of Trustees invitation to remain as President of Arizona Christian University beyond my original two-year commitment. I’m thrilled at what God is doing to build a thriving Christian liberal arts university in Arizona, and I am so excited to witness the passion of our students to grow in their faith and dream big dreams with God. It was exciting to visit with President George W. Bush at our March dinner event, and we look forward to a special time with Rev. Franklin Graham in February.
We are grateful for God’s faithfulness through the years, and so thankful for the love and encouragement of so many of you who have enriched our lives with your friendship.
Happy New Year!