By Katie Cooper, Staff Writer
Dr. David S. Dockery, university president, discussed the budget for Union April 12 during student senate and announced Union will now provide free housing during winter terms.
The future plan for Union called “Illuminating Minds: Union 2015” consists of seven priori- ties that include a continued commitment to Union’s mission and core values, strengthening and expanding academic and co-curricular programs, expanding and renovating its physical plant and developing vision for regional, national and global engagement.
The university’s bud- get has significantly expanded over the years Dockery has been president. Gary Carter, senior vice president for business services, has put much effort into developing each year’s budget.
“The budget has grown from approximately $14 million in 1991 to $87 mil- lion this current fiscal year,” Carter said.
The budget has grown because the university as a whole has grown. Student enrollment increases from year to year, which means more money is needed to accommodate the growth.
Dockery said at student senate that the budget is not the only financial aspect of the university that has grown. The number of donors has also significantly increased.
“Overall the budget has grown,” Dockery said. “We used to have 1,600 donors. Now we have 6,000 donors.”
As a result, tuition is affected little by Union’s growth and expansion, much to students’ relief.
Dockery said boosting tuition to help pay for new buildings and renovations was not the solution. Carter added that donors are the key to supporting the university’s goals.
“We get most of our money from donors,” he said. “Some have no attachment to Union at all, but they just believe in our mission.”
Union received its largest gift of $10 million last year, given by Bill and Carol Latimer Foundation. It plans to match every dollar given up to that amount.
Union has been able to push through the recession and remain in good standing financially.
“There probably have been very few who have not been touched by the downturn in the economy, and Union has been challenged as well,” Carter said. “We certainly are not immune, but we have a strong leadership team who are involved in intentional, strategic planning on a continual basis. This has allowed us to weather the economic downturn fairly well.”
Union’s enrollment figures continue to grow along with its budget. When it comes to shaping the budget, members of the administration consider what is best for students. Student life receives 13 percent of the budget.
In 1996, Dockery’s first year at Union, the university recognized it has lim- ited resources, he said.
“If we can do nothing else we will invest in students, faculty and staff first, and we continue to do that,” Dockery said. Our most important resource isn’t buildings, but people.”