Union University

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Union University
Official crest of Union University (Trademark of Union University)
MottoReligio et Eruditio
Religious affiliationTennessee Baptist Convention
Academic staff230
LocationGermantown, Tennessee,
Hendersonville, Tennessee, and
Jackson, Tennessee
CampusUrban, 290 acres (1.2 km2)
ColorsCardinal & Cream
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Union University in Tennessee. For other institutions of this or a similar name, see Union University (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 35°40′59″N 88°51′23″W / 35.6830°N 88.8565°W / 35.6830; -88.8565

Union University
Official crest of Union University (Trademark of Union University)
MottoReligio et Eruditio
Religious affiliationTennessee Baptist Convention
Academic staff230
LocationGermantown, Tennessee,
Hendersonville, Tennessee, and
Jackson, Tennessee
CampusUrban, 290 acres (1.2 km2)
ColorsCardinal & Cream

Union University is a private, evangelical Christian, liberal arts university located in Jackson, Tennessee, with additional campuses in Germantown and Hendersonville. The university is affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and relates to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Union is one of the top tier institutions in the Southern Region, listed for each of the past eleven years by U.S. News & World Report, and is notable for having trained a United States Supreme Court justice, and in the sports world as the place where Bear Bryant began his football coaching career.[1]

For 2012–13, U.S. News ranked Union 14th among "Regional Universities" in the South, the 16th consecutive year U.S. News ranked Union as a top-tier school. It has been recognized by Peterson's Competitive College Guide, the Time/Princeton Review, and Templeton's Colleges that Encourage Character Development. Union is a recipient of the President's Higher Education Community Service Award and has been listed as one of America's Top 100 College Buys. In addition, U.S. News cites Union as an "A+ option for serious B students," among "Up and Coming Schools" and among schools "where the faculty has an unusually strong commitment to undergraduate teaching."

Union University is the heir to some of the oldest universities in the Southeast. The school is a union of several different schools: West Tennessee College, formerly known as Jackson Male Academy, Union University of Murfreesboro, Southwestern Baptist University, and Hall-Moody Junior College of Martin, Tennessee.[1]

Union University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Union University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).[2] On July 14, 2013, Union University announced their Business Program had earned accreditation from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[3]


Miller Tower at Union University

Union University has ranked as one of the South’s top tier universities for the 11th straight year by U.S.News & World Report.

Union also ranked in 16 subcategories:

Union is also recognized in:


Early history[edit]

1822 ad for Jackson Male Academy.

Jackson Male Academy was founded in 1823 just after West Tennessee was opened for settlement.[4] Only five years earlier in 1818 was the land purchased from the Chickasaw Indians.

In 1907, Dr. T. T. Eaton, a trustee of Southwestern Baptist University, left his 6,000 volume library to the college. Eaton was a former professor of Union University at Murfreesboro, where his father, Dr. Joseph H. Eaton, was a former president.

Southwestern soon changed its name to Union University in honor of the Eatons and others from Union at Murfreesboro who had impacted Southwestern as faculty, administrators, trustees, and contributors.

In 1925 the Tennessee Baptist Convention secured a charter that vested the rights, authority, and property of Union University in the Tennessee Convention. This charter included the election of the University’s trustees. Two years later, the Convention consolidated Hall-Moody Junior College at Martin (1900–1927) with Union University; the former Hall-Moody campus subsequently became the location of the University of Tennessee Junior College, now the University of Tennessee at Martin.

In 1948 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Union University accreditation.

In 1962 Union developed a nursing program with the assistance of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital at the request of local physicians.

In 1975 Union moved from downtown Jackson, Tennessee, to a new campus located near the Highway 45-Bypass in north Jackson.

The Craig and Barefoot Administrations[edit]

During President Robert Craig (1967–85) and President Hyran Barefoot's (1987–1996) administrations:

From the early 1950s to the early 1970s, Union operated an Extension Center in the Memphis area. From 1987-95, Union offered the degree-completion program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN track) in Memphis. At that time there were over 300 graduates of this program.

David S. Dockery's Administration[edit]

Dr. David Dockery at Union University

David S. Dockery was elected as the fifteenth president of Union University in December 1995. Dockery brought a desire to take Union to a regional and national prominence in Christian higher education. Thus far he has realized:

The Storm - February 5, 2008[edit]

One of the Union dorms that was destroyed by the February 5, 2008 tornado.
Radar loop of the Nashville, Jackson and Christian County, Kentucky supercells. Those supercells were responsible for at least 32 deaths (courtesy of NWS Nashville)

On February 5, 2008, at 7:02 p.m., the university was struck by an EF4 tornado, with winds between 166–200 miles per hour. The tornado destroyed 18 dormitory buildings and caused over $40 million worth of damage to the campus, which suffered a direct hit, rendering almost 80% of the dormortory space to be either totally destroyed or unlivable. None of the approximately 1,800 students on campus at the time were killed. David Dockery, the president of the University, said:

I'm convinced-nobody will ever convince me otherwise-that God's angels were unleashed to come as ministering spirits to protect those students in the most precarious of situations.

Fifty-one students were taken to Jackson-Madison General Hospital. While most students were released after being treated, nine were kept overnight. Some students were trapped for hours while emergency crews worked to rescue them. A total of 31 buildings received damage of varying degrees.[6] The devastation captured nationwide attention and was featured by CNN, Fox News,[7] The New York Times [8] and numerous regional news outlets. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director R. David Paulison and Governor of Tennessee Phil Bredesen all visited the campus after the disaster.[9]

The Commercial Appealreported that due to extensive damage, the campus would not reopen until February 18.[10] Lambuth University, a rival area university, reportedly offered to open its dormitories to displaced Union students. The congregation of Englewood Baptist Church, which owned the Old English Inn in Jackson, voted unanimously to open the Inn to Union students. The church's move accommodated almost 300 students until December 2008. The University also expected that around 200 students would be housed in the private homes of Union faculty, staff and friends.

The February 5, 2008 event was the second time in just over five years that the campus was hit by a tornado. On the evening of November 10, 2002, during the Veterans Day Weekend tornado outbreak, the school was struck by an F1 tornado, with winds of approximately 100 miles per hour, which did approximately 2 million dollars worth of damage to the school. There were no serious injuries.[11] Union president David Dockery stated that the February 5, 2008 tornado was about 15 times as bad at the 2002 tornado. The damage caused by the February 5th tornado was estimated at $40 million.[12]


1Dr. Joseph H. Eaton1848–1859Union University (Murfreesboro)
2James Madison PendletonUnion University (Murfreesboro)
3Charles ManleyUnion University (Murfreesboro)
4John W. Conger1907–1909Union University (Jackson)
5Isaac B. Tigrett1909–1911Union University (Jackson)
6Robert A. Kimbrough1911–1913Union University (Jackson)
7Richard M. InlowJune 1913–December 1913Union University (Jackson)
8Albert T. Barrett1913–1915Union University (Jackson)
9George M. Savage1915–1918Union University (Jackson)
10Henry Eugene Watters1918–1931Union University (Jackson)
11John Jeter Hurt1931–1945Union University (Jackson)
12Warren F. Jones1945–1963Union University (Jackson)
13Francis E. Wright1963–1967Union University (Jackson)
14Robert E. Craig1967–1986Union University (Jackson)
15Hyran E. Barefoot1986–1996Union University (Jackson)
16David S. Dockery1996–2014Union University (Jackson)
17Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver2014–presentUnion University (Jackson)


Jackson facilities[edit]

The campus is 290 acres (1.2 km2) and includes a 2,200-seat gymnasium, dormitories for men and women including a married housing complex, separate lodges for the fraternities and sororities, academic halls, an administration center, baseball and softball parks, two soccer fields, an indoor swimming pool, and wellness center.[13]

Germantown facilities[edit]

Union also has a 35-acre (140,000 m2) campus in Germantown, Tennessee, (suburban Memphis) offering graduate degrees in business, education, Christian studies & nursing. The degrees in education include the M.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.S., and Ed.D.[14]

Hendersonville facilities[edit]

Union's newest location is in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. This campus offers graduate degrees in education and Christian studies.[15]

Olford Ministries International[edit]

In early 2007, it was announced that Olford Ministries would be merged into Union University. Olford is an institution that focuses on pastors' training and theological courses. The Olford campus is a 25-acre (100,000 m2), wooded retreat setting in Memphis, Tennessee.[16]


In Jackson, Union has apartment-style living. Each student has a separate private bedroom that shares a common living space with three roommates. All apartments feature a high-speed Internet connection, as well as kitchen unit. Some apartments feature private phone lines or a washer and dryer. All private living spaces have a window and the common areas have cable TV access. There is no student housing at the Germantown campus. Temporary off campus housing was at The Jett (the former Old English Inn) for the majority of the spring 2008 semester.[17]


Union University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Bulldogs, are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II level, primarily competing in the Gulf South Conference as provisional members. The Bulldogs formerly are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the TranSouth Athletic Conference (TSAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, softball and volleyball.

Union began the three-year transition to full NCAA Division II membership in 2011.

The women's basketball team won NAIA national championships during the 1998, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 seasons.

Union also claimed NCCAA National Titles in men's soccer (2003), volleyball (2003), and softball (2001, 2002, 2004, 2013).[18]

Greek system[edit]

There are six social fraternities and sororities on campus, two music fraternities and numerous academic fraternities.

Each of these groups is relatively large in size relative to the size of the institution and consistently contributes to philanthropies, both regionally and globally. The number of members in the social fraternities can range between 50 to 80 members per chapter.

The fraternities and sororities are an active presence on campus through philanthropy, intramural sports and Greek Olympics.[19]


The fraternities represented on campus are:

FraternityChapterChartered locally
Alpha Tau OmegaTennessee Beta TauFebruary 28, 1894
Lambda Chi AlphaLambda-Zeta ZetaDecember 5, 1964
Sigma Alpha EpsilonTennessee EtaJuly 4, 1857


The sororities represented on campus are:

SororityChapterChartered locally
Chi OmegaUpsilon1904
Kappa DeltaZeta BetaFebruary 10, 1990
Zeta Tau AlphaBeta OmegaDecember 11, 1935


The academic fraternities are:

Alpha Psi OmegaTheater
Phi Alpha ThetaHistory
Phi Beta LambdaBusiness
Pi Gamma MuSocial Sciences
Phi Mu Alpha SinfoniaMusic
Sigma Tau DeltaEnglish


Guest lecture events[edit]

Annual Scholarship Banquet[edit]

Union's Scholarship Banquet has brought prominent national and international figures to Union including: former president George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Russian president and Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Senator Bob Dole, presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, former British Prime Minister John Major, Tony Blair, and Winston S. Churchill, Grandson of the former British Prime Minister.[20]

The Union Forum[edit]

Union's Forum is an annual speaker series that has brought several national figures to Union, including Peggy Wehmeyer, William Kristol, Michael Medved, Robert Novak, Stephen Carter[disambiguation needed], Morton Kondracke, Clarence Page, Juan Williams, and Margaret Carlson.[21]

Notable people[edit]


Faculty and administration[edit]

Benjamin Lee Arnold Union University professor, later president of Oregon State University


External links[edit]