One priority of the Union 2010 strategic plan calls for the development of greater awareness and appreciation for institutional memory. In many ways the alumni of Union University, living and deceased, represent the collective memory of this institution. Generations of Baptist and other like-minded Christian families have sent their sons and daughters to Union over the years to receive a high quality education rooted in biblical principles.
The Johnnie Tribble Shepard Archives and Genealogical Research Center serves the objective of institutional memory in several important ways. It greatly enhances student, faculty, and staff research involving the history of Union University. It provides assistance to the community of family historians who seek to find details about their ancestors who attended Union. It is a gathering place for that network of alumni who have a special interest in recording, preserving, and re-telling the stories of Union’s past.
The Johnnie Tribble Shepard Archives and Genealogical Research Center has been provided by a gift from Union University alum and long-time supporter Norman E. (Gene) Shepard as a special honor to his loving wife Johnnie. Mr. Shepard is a 1965 graduate of Union and the President of Vantage Trailers, Inc.
Mrs. Shepard was born Johnnie Kathryn Tribble in Little Rock, Arkansas and graduated from Frayser High School in Memphis before entering Union University. While at Union she participated in many campus events, including the Miss Union University Pageant. Mrs. Shepard is a member of the class of 1968.
The Shepards have been very strong supporters of Union’s alumni work. Mrs. Shepard has served as coordinator of the Houston Alumni Chapter for several years and hosted the group on numerous occasions at their home in Katy, Texas.
Mrs. Shepard is a long time family history enthusiast. She has conducted genealogical research in numerous states including Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. Johnnie is a supporter of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston, one the nation’s premier centers for genealogical research. She has also participated in numerous regional and national conferences.
Over the years Mrs. Shepard has given much in service to her community. She has been successful in Houston area real estate for many years. Johnnie served as a member of the City Council and Mayor Pro Tem of Katy. She is also a founding Board Member of the Ken Lay Y.M.C.A., sits on the Board of Directors for Katy Christian Ministries, and is a volunteer at the First Presbyterian Church of Houston.
The Shepards have one daughter, Mrs. Sara Shepard Latham, and one grandson, Nicholas Latham, who reside in Chicago, Illinois.