Thursday, April 17, 2008

Update from the president

It has been about 75 days since our world changed on Feb. 5. We rejoice that God has blessed the Union community and enabled us to move forward together in so many ways and in so many areas across the campus.

We have three weeks of class remaining in this extraordinary semester. Our students have been amazing and our faculty and staff have been terrific.

Great progress is taking place with the repairs, the recovery, and the rebuilding efforts. It has certainly been exciting to observe. In the residence life area nine buildings are under construction. Each day brings new advancements.

We will continue to pray for the responses to the relief fund. It is with deep gratitude that we are able to report to you that we have gifts of $6 million and additional commitments exceeding $2.5 million more. Over 4,300 donors have contributed, as well as over 300 churches--and we have yet to hear the report from the April 6 offering across the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We are so thankful for these blessing and trust that they will continue so that the gap can be closed before the fall semester.

The prospects for new traditional undergraduate students are quite hopeful. Applications and deposits are both slightly ahead of where we were at this time last year. We will all continue to pray for these prospective students.

Congratulations to Richard Joiner and the Singers/Proclamation for their successful tour and their splendid concert at First Baptist Church of Jackson this past Sunday evening.

Congratulations to Andy Rushing and the golf team for their TranSouth Conference championship.

We rejoice that our injured students continue to improve. We continue to pray for David, Matt, and other students as well.

May God's blessings be yours.

David S. Dockery
President, Union University

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wilson discharged from hospital; Kelley transferred to rehab center

Union University freshman David Wilson was discharged from Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga, Tenn., on April 11.

Wilson, 19, who was seriously injured in the Feb. 5 tornado that hit the Union campus, is at home in Hixson, Tenn., and is doing physical therapy on an outpatient basis. He goes to the hospital every day for about an hour.

“I went a lot faster in inpatient therapy than they thought I would, as far as muscle strength,” Wilson said.

Wilson, a member of Union’s soccer team, plans to return to campus in the fall. He is unsure about when he’ll be able to play on the soccer team again.

Matt Kelley, a sophomore, is the only Union student remaining in the hospital following the Feb. 5 tornado. On March 31, Kelley was moved from his room on the dialysis floor of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital to the hospital’s rehabilitation center.

Both Kelley and Wilson sustained serious injuries to their legs after being trapped for several hours when the Watters commons building collapsed on top of them.

“We are thankful for the progress that both David and Matt have made in recent days,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “We continue to keep them in our prayers and ask God to speed their recovery.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 3 update from the president

This week is a very important one for the university community. The spring trustee meeting will be held on April 3-4. Many churches across the state and the nation will be taking an offering for Union University on April 6 to help us with our recovery and rebuilding efforts. Please join me in praying for God's blessings, guidance and favor for the week to come. We are grateful for the 3,600 donors and more than 250 churches who have already made a difference in the life of Union University since Feb. 5.

We want to congratulate Coach Mark Campbell and the Lady Bulldogs on their outstanding season. Their 35-1 season and a fourth straight final four finish has been absolutely amazing. We offer our hearty congratulations!

We welcome back Dr. Richard Joiner and the University Singers from their travels and give thanks for their ministry in recent days.

All of the renovation and rebuilding projects across the campus continue to move forward in a timely way. We applaud Gary Carter for his oversight and we thank the Facilities Management team for all of their support. It has been a blessing to observe the progress across the campus.

We continue to pray for our students, particularly those who still struggle with post-Feb. 5 injuries. We will trust that all of our students can re-engage upon their return from spring break and remain focused for the remainder of the semester.

I want to remind students and parents that the final day to file for FEMA assistance will be April 7. Let me encourage all who qualify to follow through with this process.

We will welcome Jay Ridenour in chapel this Friday. Please encourage students to attend. Many of you will want to reconnect with Jay.

We pray for God's provision, wisdom and enablement in our shared work during the remainder of this semester. May the Lord be with you.

David S. Dockery
President, Union University
2 Corinthians 4:1,17-18

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Volunteers needed March 26

A large number of volunteers are needed to assist with a mailing on Wednesday, March 26, from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. If you would like to help, please call Larry Vaughan at (731) 661-5160 or e-mail him at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Volunteers needed March 20

A large number of volunteers are needed to assist with a mailing on Thursday, March 20, from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. If you would like to help, please call Larry Vaughan at (731) 661-5160 or e-mail him at

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 18 update from the president

It has been six weeks since we started the recovery and rebuilding process at Union University. In some ways the time has passed ever so quickly. In other ways, the six weeks seem at least like six months. Our prayer that God would bring renewal out of the rubble is being answered. Good things are happening across this campus in the lives of students, staff, faculty, and administrators. We offer thanksgiving to God for His work among us.

The repairs for White Hall, Jennings Hall, and Hammons Hall are moving forward. Some repairs, like those in the Barefoot Building and the Blasingame Building, will not take place until later this spring or summer. We do hope that a visible difference will be seen in the work on the Dodd and Gray residence life facilities by the conclusion of spring break. Weather permitting, we hope to see large portions of those two buildings demolished as the efforts to repair and rebuild begin. Work on the Events Center/Banquet Facility continues. We are encouraged by these things.

Excitement grows as the new residence life facilities are starting to take shape. The framing process has started on some buildings. The foundation work and pad placement continues in other areas. Overall, we have four contractors, one architectural and engineering firm, and numerous subcontractors at work. Altogether there are are several hundred workers on campus each day.

Please let me remind everyone that the Walker Road entrance is reserved primarily for construction workers. The new "cut-through" roads from the Blasingame parking lot into the McAfee and Warmath lots have helped greatly. At certain times during the day we still face significant parking challenges. I remain ever so grateful for everyone's patience as we work through these challenges together.

Let me remind parents and students that the traditional housing policies will be back in effect for the fall semester. Any returning student who before Feb. 25 had signed an off-campus housing lease that extends into the fall should immediately contact Kathy Southall or Kimberly Thornbury.

I am thankful to report that we have now received a little more than $5.1 million from over 3,200 different donors toward the recovery and rebuilding process. The donors represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and a few countries outside the United States. We are thankful for how the Lord has touched the hearts of these people to help us in our time of need. For every gift, large or small, we are most grateful. We certainly pray for the special offerings for Union University that will be taken in hundreds of Baptist churches on April 6. The financial needs for Union University remain quite large, but we are so encouraged by the support that has already been provided.

We wish the Lady Bulldogs much success as they enter the NAIA national women's basketball tournament, which will be held in Jackson from March 19-25. We hope many of you can come out to support Coach Campbell and his outstanding team.

Spring break will begin on Good Friday. Classes will resume on March 31. I applaud those who helped revise the spring semester calendar for leaving the spring break week as it was originally scheduled. Everyone is extremely tired. We need to pray that the Lord will give us rest and renew our energies for the remaining weeks of this semester (Isaiah 40:31). We pray for students who will be serving and ministering over the spring break, especially for those who are going to other communities that have received tornado damage in recent weeks. Also, we will pray for Dr. Richard Joiner, the Union Singers, and representatives of the music department as they depart campus for their tour during the spring break.

We would ask for everyone to please continue to pray for our injured students and their families. We ask the Lord to do a special work in and among them. We pray for safety for all who are traveling over the break. Finally, we ask the Lord to be with our Board of Trustees as they prepare to gather for the spring meeting April 3-4.

As we approach Easter Sunday, we pray that the hope of the resurrection will bring grace, mercy, and peace to you and your families. For God's providential blessings, provision, and protection to the Union community over the past 42 days we are indeed grateful. May the Lord be with you.


David S. Dockery
President, Union University

Monday, March 17, 2008

Volunteers needed March 19

A large number of volunteers are needed to assist with a mailing on Wednesday, March 19, from 8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. If you would like to help, please call Larry Vaughan at (731) 661-5160 or e-mail him at