Gabryelle Thompson has spent her whole life running toward adventure, and she’s not afraid of the twists and turns that come her way. In fact, she seeks them out. She begins her days with a run and always looks for a different route to try.

“I like to tell people that a run isn’t a good one unless I got lost,” she said.

She knows she’ll always find her way home; what she lives for is the journey.

Growing up as a military kid, running gave her an avenue to make friends as she moved around the country, and running brought her to her new home at Abilene Christian University.

The senior communication major from New Braunfels received a track and cross country scholarship and joined ACU’s legendary Track and Field team. Talk about being in the right place at the right time: She has spent her collegiate career helping her team navigate the path of its first years as an NCAA Division I program and connect with the wider university community. And now, she’s the team captain and is helping lead the way as she and her peers – who carried ACU to its first Southland Conference Championship in 2015 – enter their first year of full D-I status.

Her background, her extracurricular experiences and her studies, including spending a summer at Study Abroad in Oxford, England, have equipped her to bridge gaps and facilitate conversations between people with very different life experiences. She has these opportunities thanks to donors like you.

“As a communications major, I’ve really learned how to speak to others in different circumstances to make them feel comfortable, learning how to talk about the tough things when you have two people who completely disagree about something,” she says. “Bridging the gap between the hard discussions and the great parts of ACU has been one of my favorite things about going to college here.

“I hope to continue to grow in faith here, in life and in church and in relationships, in running and just having fun.”

Gabryelle has formed meaningful relationships with professors and coaches, forged life-long friendships, and learned to pursue excellence, both on and off the track. In turn, the ACU community has embraced her: from her coaches and professors to her teammates and classmates, Gabryelle says she has always been welcomed with open arms.

“You definitely feel welcomed the moment you step on campus,” she says. “It’s genuine, too. It’s a real sense of, ‘We want to love on you and we want you to enjoy it here.’ ”

After graduation? Thanks to ACU, she says, “the sky’s the limit for what I want to do.”

Published: August 2017

Gabryelle Thompson (’18)