From 1823 - 1874 several "principals," "faculty chairmen" and "presidents" served the three institutions, Jackson Academy, West Tennessee College and Union University - Murfreesboro. These schools formed the various streams that shaped Southwest Baptist University, as the institution was named at the formation of the Tennessee Baptist Convention (1874/75).
The university was founded in 1823 and chartered in 1825. The institution was re-chartered in 1875 as Southwest Baptist University with the establishment of the institution's new relationship with the TBC. The name of the institution was changed again to the current Union University in 1907.