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Abstract provided by interviewer Jane Tomlinson.

Tracy Shilcutt attended Abilene Christian University from 1976 to 1980 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science. ACU is a university affiliated with the church of Christ where oftentimes students will get engaged to one another before graduation. ACU also has a high percentage of participation in social clubs, or local fraternities and sororities. Dr. Shilcutt shares her experiences of being a female student at ACU, noting how she believes her committed relationship and participation in the social club Delta Theta, or D. T., affected her time on campus. She provides her perspective on what was expected of male and female students and where the lines drawn in between the gender expectations wore thin. Dr. Shilcutt currently works at ACU as a professor in the History and Global Studies department and shares her thoughts on how the campus has evolved since she was a student here, as well as where the university has room to improve.

This interview provides primary source information on gender norms and expectations at Abilene Christian University in the late 1970s as well as present day, 2019. Dr. Shilcutt’s perspective shows one a glimpse of the obstacles she felt a student had to overcome or submit to, as well as how the private Christian university has progressed in regards to gender expectations.


The ACC/ACU Gender and Sexuality Project preserves firsthand accounts of alumni of Abilene Christian College (later Abilene Christian University), with particular attention to how students, faculty, and staff have experienced issues of gender and sexuality during their time at the institution. The collection began in Fall 2019 as a class project in HIST 340, Historical Perspectives on Gender and Sexualities.