JACKSON, Tenn. – April 16, 2010 – Union University is privileged to serve Jackson and is committed to investing in the community, Union President David S. Dockery told the Jackson Rotary Club April 14.
“We are thrilled that Union University can be a part of the Jackson community,” Dockery said. “It is a privilege for us each and every day to find ways to involve ourselves and invest ourselves in making this a better community, a better place for all of us.”
Dockery, the speaker for the club’s monthly luncheon, thanked Rotary Club members for their friendship to Union and asked them to join with the school to make Jackson a better community.
He spoke on where Union has been and the school’s plans for the future, emphasizing the positive impact Union has had on the Jackson area, both economically and through thousands of hours of student involvement in community service each year. Dockery said the school has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fourth year in a row, one of only 160 institutions of higher education in the country to receive that honor for four consecutive years.
“The way Union gives back, (through) tutorial services or through partnering with nonprofits in the area is a great privilege that we have,” Dockery said. “We decided years ago that we would not be an island sitting over there in the ‘Union bubble,’ but that we are part of this community.”
Though the school has completed all of the recovery building since the campus was devastated by a tornado in 2008, Dockery said Union is moving on with additional construction and planning for the future. He said new pharmacy and residential facilities are under construction, and a new soccer complex and student commons building were recently finished.
“We are going forward with a new plan that was approved by our board in December,” he said. “It will improve our quality at every step of the way … and hopefully help Union University achieve its dreams, its goals and its ideals, to carry forward its identity, its mission and its heritage in fresh ways.”
Dockery also highlighted the national and regional honors Union has received within the past year, including the Lady Bulldogs’ fifth NAIA national championship, and the school’s growing graduate programs.
“All of this is built upon a strong undergraduate, liberal arts approach, to and for residential students,” he said. “We understand our calling to mentor students and help them achieve their best as we prepare them for a life based on a commitment to excellence in character development to serve the church and society.”
Dockery said Union was founded in 1823, but remained a local institution until relatively recently. He said in 1975 enrollment was a little more than 700 students, 92 percent of whom came from West Tennessee. Today, however, “it’s an institution with an emerging national and international profile” with more than 4,000 students.
Dockery said he hoped Union will make a difference not only for its students, but also for the Jackson community.
“I count it a real honor and a privilege to be a participant in the good things that happen in this community each and every day,” he said.
By Elizabeth Waibel (’11)