JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 15, 2014 – When making college visits as a high school senior, Ryan Sinni and his parents left Germantown, Md. with a lineup of campuses to visit in the Midwest and Southeast.
Union became a late addition to that lineup, but the impressions from his campus visit during Scholars of Excellence weekend in February prompted him to move Union to the top of his college list.
“The way people welcomed me really got my attention,” Sinni said. “They were so friendly and so humble.”
He joins nearly 500 new traditional undergraduate students who will begin classes next week at Union. Most of these students will live on campus. They found their morning move-in Aug. 15 was easier than expected. It is tradition on this day for dozens of Union faculty, staff and upperclassmen to help unload cars and move new students’ possessions into rooms.
Sinni said he was impressed with the academic opportunities, including Union’s Honors Program. He will major in English with the goal of attending either law school or seminary after graduation.
Hundreds of other new students will pursue graduate programs at Union in the new academic year. Oyekola Oluwole is interested in pursuing studies in nursing.
Oluwole said his goal is to combine medical knowledge with his background as a pastor to help care for indigent people in developing countries.
“That is a mission that God has given me,” Oluwole said. “I believe Union will help me do what God has told me to do.”
Abbie Williams, a freshman psychology major from Winchester, Tenn., wants to pursue a career in mental health counseling. She’s the granddaughter of former Union University President Robert E. Craig, who served from 1967 to 1986. He left Union to become president at East Texas Baptist University, his alma mater and the same school from which current president Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver came to Union.
“It does come up in conversation sometimes,” Williams said of her grandfather’s presidency. “People find it interesting.”
After moving into their campus apartments, students began the first day of a four-day orientation program known as Focus. They also met with financial aid and business office representatives and purchased textbooks.
“Today marks another new beginning in the life of Union University and the lives of a wonderful freshman class,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs C. Ben Mitchell said. “We are thankful to God for every student who has chosen Union and cannot wait to see what blessings are in store for us this year in our life together.”
In the evening, the new students and their families gathered in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel for a worship service. Vice President for University Ministries Todd Brady brought a message about “Orthos Living” in which he encouraged the new students to strive for minds that think like the mind of Christ, for hearts that beat like the heart of Christ and for hands that work like the hands of Christ.
Brady said it’s important for students to embrace each of these goals rather than focusing on only one.
“Focusing on the mind alone can result in a mere intellectualism,” Brady said. “Focusing on the heart alone can result in mere emotionalism,” he continued, “and focusing on the hands alone can result in mere activism. We don’t want to go there. We want to love God with everything we’ve got.”