Thursday, February 21, 2008

Entering rebuilding phase

With plans in place for construction of new student housing, Union now moves into the rebuilding phase. All future announcements will now be posted at, so please update your bookmarks and monitor that site and the main Union Web page for the most updated information about Union University.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chapel service marks new beginning for Union community

Responding correctly to challenges and difficulties can result in a fresh and total dependence upon God, Union University President David S. Dockery said Feb. 19.

“Out of the rubble across this campus I am praying that we will see renewal in the lives of dozens, and hundreds, of students, staff, faculty, administrators and trustees,” Dockery said.

Read the full story.

Criswell contributes $50,000 to Union recovery efforts

Fundraising efforts initiated by Criswell College in Dallas have raised more than $50,000 for Union University's tornado recovery.

During a visit to the Jackson, Tenn., campus, Jerry Johnson, president of Criswell College, presented a check and a greeting card signed by Criswell students to Union President David Dockery.

Students and faculty at Criswell took an offering during a Feb. 7 chapel service that raised about $500. The college’s KCBI radio station continued the fundraising campaign Feb. 8 via a live broadcast.

“The gift from our wonderful friends at KCBI/Criswell College in Dallas is a marker of God's providential provision for Union University at this hour of need,” Dockery said. “We thank God for Jerry Johnson and for the generous support provided for Union by our KCBI friends.”

Union graduate Kristen Ulmer Cole spoke about Union during the first day of the live “share-a-thon” broadcast on KCBI.

“To be in the studio and hear people call in to give their money and hear their response was really touching,” Cole said.

The outpouring of financial contributions from a community so far removed from the Union campus in Tennessee surprised both Johnson and Cole.

“I was [surprised] but I should not have been, because God has limitless resources,” Johnson said. “That is what you all believe, that is what we believe, that is what we teach and that is what we pray.”

Criswell College joins a growing list of more than 600 donors who have given about $1.5 million in the past two weeks to Union’s rebuilding efforts from the devastating Feb. 5 tornado. LifeWay Christian Resources donated $350,000, First Bank gave $110,000 and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee and Belmont University each provided $100,000.

By Alison Ball (’08)

Audio from Tuesday evening's worship service

Audio from last night's worship service in the chapel is available here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

SBC Executive Committee gives $100,000 to Union

The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has joined the list of major contributors to Union University’s disaster relief efforts, with a gift of $100,000.

Executive Committee President Morris Chapman presented Union University President David S. Dockery with the check Feb. 18 as part of the Executive Committee’s two-day meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

A Feb. 5 tornado caused an estimated $40 million in damage to the Union campus, and destroyed about 70 percent of the university’s student housing facilities.

“We are so thankful for the Executive Committee and their generosity to us,” Dockery said. “Our needs are massive, and every gift is a step in helping us rebuild the campus. We’re very grateful for the SBC Executive Committee reaching out to us in this way.”

Chapman, a Union trustee, was on campus Feb. 16 for a meeting of the Union board of trustees.

“As I drove across the campus on that morning, things had already changed dramatically,” Chapman said. “Much of the debris was already being hauled off, and it’s going to be a new day at Union University.

“But during the trustee meeting, Dr. Dockery took all that had happened and all that needed to happen, how it was going to be accomplished and what the results would be, and he put it in a capsule of brief understanding and made it as clear as it could have been,” Chapman said. “The trustees went away not only thanking the Lord for his protection during the storm but also for the leadership of Dr. David Dockery.”

Bill Harrell, chairman of the Executive Committee, said told Dockery that the group “knew what the heart of Southern Baptist people is on a subject like this. We want to give you a gift to help you put the campus back in first-class condition.”

The Executive Committee gift follows a $350,000 donation from LifeWay Christian Resources, $110,000 from First Bank and $100,000 from Belmont University for Union’s recovery efforts.

Updated Care and Comfort Station hours

The Care and Comfort station in the Coburn faculty lounge will be open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Friday, for the next two weeks. At The Jett, a station will be available for students from 7:30-10 p.m. until Feb. 24.

Call (731) 661-5284 for more information.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Students should check FEMA applications

Students are advised to check the status of their FEMA applications. Some of the applications are still flagged for the duplicate address problem. Also, FEMA has discovered that some of the students used their parents' incomes rather than their own incomes and this has created other "flags." FEMA officials are encouraging students to drop by the office on Vann Drive to check on these matters.

Booster Club Dinner still on

The Booster Club Dinner, previously scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, will proceed as planned. Call (731) 661-5050 for information and reservations.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A letter from Dr. Dockery to students and parents

Dear students and parents,

We are looking forward to the return of our students to campus for move-in day on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and to the start of classes on Wednesday, Feb. 20. After twelve days of giving our full attention to the initial recovery efforts after the Feb. 5 tornado, we are now focused on the new beginning for the spring semester.

On Monday, Feb.18, for the first time since Feb. 5, all faculty and staff will be back on campus. Even now, we are praying for all of our students as they prepare to return for the “new start” opportunities planned for this week. We continue to pray particularly for those who continue to recover from injuries sustained on Feb. 5.

Union University faculty and staff (with the assistance of more than 3,000 volunteers) have labored tirelessly over the past 12 days to help us to be able to start the semester once again. They have been joined by trustees and students alike, who have served side by side in the restoration processes. It is impossible to calculate the hours involved in these labors of love to get us to the place where we are today.

We must recognize that things will be different for all of us, but we are excited for the opportunity to continue the semester. Our priorities will be characterized by an essentialist mindset to help us chart the course ahead of us during the remainder of the spring semester. The care of our students will be among the primary concerns of all faculty and staff as we seek to move forward together. Every decision that we have made in recent days has been made with a desire to recreate opportunities for community for and among our students. Revised meal plans, the new housing at “The Jett,” changes to the student lounge and many other things have been planned with the goal of helping to keep students connected during the weeks to come.

Class schedules have been revised, as previously announced. These changes will create innovative opportunities for faculty and students alike. Some classes will be meeting in different places, due to the damage in Jennings Hall in particular. Obviously, student housing will be quite different from where we were on Feb. 4. All of the apartments in the Hurt and Watters complexes, including the Hurt and Watters commons buildings, have now been demolished. New plans are already underway to rebuild the student housing area and to have portions of it completed before the fall semester (we will be sharing information about this project throughout the spring semester). In the meantime, we are quite excited about the new developments at “The Jett.” Our academic leaders and student life teams deserve our deepest thanksgiving for providing us with these new opportunities.

The valiant efforts of more than 250 faculty, staff and student leaders who have retraced their steps over and over again attempting to retrieve the belongings of students from all of the residence life rooms have been heroic and commendable in every way. Almost every room has been visited more than once, and many of the rooms have been visited by these teams up to three times. I am confident that everything that could have been retrieved from every room has indeed been recovered. I deeply appreciate all of those who have demonstrated sensitivity, care and compassion for our students throughout this process. Indeed, it has been a joy to behold.

We want to invite all students and parents to join us for a dinner (compliments of Aramark) between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the Coburn Dining Room on Tuesday evening. We especially want to encourage all returning students to join faculty and staff in the G. M. Savage Chapel at 7 p.m. for a campuswide worship service.

A welcome back dessert reception will be hosted later that evening at “The Jett” around 8:30 p.m. Classes will begin on Wednesday morning. Thursday evening will be the first home basketball game since the storm as the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs tip-off against rival Freed-Hardeman. Another special service is scheduled for Friday at 10:00 a.m.

We have made great progress over the past 12 days. We still have much work to do, but with God's help and as we all pull together across the campus, I am confident that there are hopeful days ahead for the Union University family. So many people have already joined us along this journey. Close friends and people that we hardly know have prayed, supported, served, encouraged and given sacrificially to help us during this time of need.

We will need several million dollars over the remainder of this calendar year to enable us with the rebuilding project. Already, we are excited to report that more than 600 donors have given about $1.5 million to this project. For every person who has made a gift and for every person who will participate in this project, we are most grateful. New opportunities have already come our way and we believe more opportunities await us in the very near future.

The privilege that has been given to us to tell the Union story in the midst of the past 240 hours has been a blessing for which we will forever be grateful. I believe that just as God providentially protected the lives of our students in the storm on Feb. 5, He will providentially preserve and provide for this university in days to come.

We are entering a new chapter in so many ways in the life and work of Union University. It is a time for all of us to take hope, to not lose heart, to not grow weary in doing good, and to refocus on the distinctive mission of Union University. Let me encourage you to check the Web site as well as the site regularly. Please know of my heartfelt gratitude for each of you. May God bless the Union University community.

May the Lord be with you and give you peace.

David S. Dockery, President

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Housing: Solutions for preparing for the Tuesday move-in

NOTE: Students should also check their Union student e-mail account for detailed information sent yesterday from Dean Thornbury about the move-in process. Additional information is below.

McAfee students moving out of McAfee or to another McAfee apartment were asked to move out of McAfee on Sunday in order for crews to come in for cleaning to get ready for the new residents.

We know that many students may not be able to return by Sunday or need a place to keep their things during this process. If they need help getting someone to move out their items, or if they need some storage room, please call (731) 661-1225 to have their belongings placed on a trailer and then removed from the trailer next week. Dr. Darin White is the only person with the key which will help ensure a secure process.

If a student wants to come down early and needs housing for a night or two, please call (731) 616-9509 to talk about temporary housing. We have many host homes that are interested in helping, even if only for a night or two.

In order to expand Tuesday move-in times to help students, here are additional move in times that may help create a better flow to the day.

- 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Students moving from McAfee to The Jett
- 10 a.m.-11 a..m. Students moving from one McAfee apartment to another McAfee apartment
- 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Students with last names A-M, who have all belongings at present should move in at McAfee and The Jett
- 12 p.m.-1 p.m. Students with last names N-Z, who have all belongings at present should move in at McAfee and The Jett

We still have rooms at The Jett and McAfee, now that we are certain everyone without transportation who needs on campus housing has a McAfee apartment. If you are interested in these two options, call Jennifer Tharp in the Office of Residence Life at (615) 406-1213. We would really love for you to join us on campus or The Jett.