By Amelia Krauss
This year, Union celebrates four individuals who have reached their 30-year milestone at the university.
These honored professors include: Donna Latham, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Michael McMahan, university professor of biology; Dr. Linn Stranak, chair of the department of physical education, wellness and sport; and Dr. Walton Padelford, university professor of economics.
Latham said she looks forward to work every day. She completed Union’s two-year nursing program at age 19, and in the spring of 1973 took her job at Union.
Latham teaches classes and clinicals. She said her greatest accomplishment at Union has been her ability to interact with students and watch them grow.
“Working here has been my mission,” Latham said. “I try to keep the students’ best interests in mind because outside of God, the students are the center of this university.”
Like Latham, McMahan has been at Union for the long haul. Having a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Mississippi and a doctorate from Louisiana State University, McMahan now teaches subjects, such as vertebrate zoology and ecology. He has contributed to several publications and is a member of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and the American Microscopical Society.
Stranak came to Union at the same time as McMahan, taking a role as department chair and baseball coach. Three years later, he helped lead Union’s team to third place in the NAIA Baseball World Series. He was awarded the 2000-2001 Tahperd Scholar Award, recognizing excellence in physical education in Tennessee.
Stranak still serves as chair, managing the academic aspects and interacting with students.
“He’s very personable and willing to help,” Cristin Sullivan, junior physical education and health major, said of Stranak. “He has had a big impact on the physical education department.”
Stranak said his greatest accomplishment in the past 30 years is to have helped students reach the calling God placed on their lives.
Just as Stranak enjoys helping students reach their calling, so does Padelford, whose office tells his story.
It houses more than just family photos — it is ornamented with Latin American decorations. Before coming to Union, Padelford spent time in Bolivia working for Campus Crusade for Christ. He taught Bible lessons and evangelized in the city. Following God’s call, Padelford came to Union to use his doctorate of economics from Louisiana State University to influence students.
Today, Padelford teaches economics, but his job expands beyond that. He sees his profession as a ministry, which is why he disciples students through weekly Bible studies.
“He is very real and open about his walk with Christ, what God has taught him and what he has learned through experience,” said Mary Alisa Techentin, senior history major, who regularly attends his Bible studies.
Padelford said he looks forward to seeing his students influence the world.
Dr. Carla Sanderson, provost and executive vice president, said she sees committed faculty such as Latham, McMahan, Stranak and Padelford as a blessing that makes Union stand out from other universities.
“Such commitment is not common-place anymore,” Sanderson said. “It’s an example of the fine community here at Union.”
25-Year Service Award
Students Accounts Bookkeeper
Director of Athletics
20-Year Service Award
Dr. C. Steven Arendall
Professor of Management
Dr. George Guthrie
Benjamin W. Perry
Professor of Bible
Dr. Sherry Hickey
Professor of Nursing
Dr. Ann Singleton
Professor of Special Education, Associate Dean of Education
Assistant Professor of English