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Trustees approve debate team, Germantown campus expansion; Dockery reports on record financial year

JACKSON, Tenn.Dec. 5, 2007 – The past year saw a record number of donors and gifts to Union University, Union President David S. Dockery told trustees Nov. 30 in his annual report.

In his annual report to the Union board, Dockery said 4,784 donors had given $13.2 million to the university.

During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Union received 92 gifts of $10,000 or more, compared to about 40 such gifts a decade ago. Union received 18 gifts of $100,000 or more, compared to five such gifts a decade ago.

The university also received three gifts of $1 million or more. Ten years ago, the university had no gifts that large.

In addition to receiving Dockery’s report, Union trustees empowered the Germantown campus committee to move forward with expansion plans for that campus. The expansion will be named in honor of Carl Grant, who recently gave the university $2.5 million for that project.

Trustees also gave final approval for the launch of a university debate team in 2008 and approved the hiring of Webster Drake as the debate team coach.

Drake, who will serve as associate professor of communication arts, comes to Union from Mississippi College. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Louisiana State University and his Master of Arts degree from the University of North Texas.

“Dr. Drake brings high energy and enthusiasm, long time experience and a rock-solid commitment to Union’s vision for engaging our culture with the faith,” said Gene Fant, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Union. “There’s been a lot of interest in starting a debate program. It will equip students to articulate Christian worldview and to communicate effectively, no matter their calling.”

In other matters, Union University Athletic Director David Blackstock announced to trustees his plans to retire at the end of the spring 2008 semester.

Blackstock has served as Union’s athletic director for 34 years. He amassed 874 wins in his career in three sports programs – women’s basketball, baseball and softball – including the 1998 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship.

“David Blackstock is a champion,” Dockery said. “For 34 years he has led Union University athletics to national prominence among colleges and smaller universities in this country.

“The university administration and trustees salute his years of leadership and wish him every blessing in the days to come.”

To honor Blackstock, trustees voted to name the court in Fred Delay Gymnasium the David Blackstock Court.

Dockery will name a search committee consisting of administrators, faculty and staff who will conduct a national search for Blackstock’s replacement.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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