By David Dockery
During their days on this campus, the class of 2013 has made a significant difference, not just because of the size of the class but because of the quality of their leadership and the extent of their involvements.
I am so thankful for the members of this class, particularly for the leadership provided by SGA President Kylie McDonald and Senior Class President Anika Strand.
During their days on this campus, the members of this class have seen the completion of the Hope Quads and the Bowld Student Commons Building, among other developments.
This academic year has witnessed an enrollment increase for the 15th straight year at Union, with a fall enrollment surpassing 4, 250 and a non-duplicating annual enrollment of more than 5,300.
The annual scholarship banquet welcomed former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, an event that raised nearly $500,000 for student scholarships. We also were blessed to see the opening of the beautiful new facility at the Hendersonville extension campus.
Among many important achievements that are worthy of notation, we can highlight:
- The highest rankings and recognitions ever for the university with U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, Colleges of Distinction, StateUniversity.com, President’s Community Service Honor Roll, America’s 100 Best College Buys, among others;
- Chemistry and History departments once again were recognized with Outstanding Chapter Awards;
- The Debate Team had another fine season, with Amanda Bennett taking the International Public Debate Association’s individual championship;
- The University hosted the Southeast Journalism Conference, as well as an important conference on the Psalms, while an impressive array of speakers gathered on the Union campus to remember the impact of Chuck Colson on the first anniversary of his death;
- The athletics department continued to make progress in its three-year transition toward the NCAA, including a regular-season women’s basketball Gulf South Conference Championship, while the cross-country, golf, soccer, and softball teams all had positive seasons.
- Positive accreditation visits occurred in the areas of Education, Business, and Social Work;
- The Board of Trustees approved a record $93.5 million budget, which was the 18th straight year for the Board to approve an increased budget;
- Prof. Walt Padelford was installed as the Porter Family Professor of Economics and Business; and
- Nearly 90 percent of the “Union 2015” initiatives have been completed or are moving forward in a most satisfactory way.
These things only tell a portion of this year’s story! Even with the challenges, setbacks, and disappointments that, like every other year, have come, it has been another amazing year on the Union campus.
We look forward to the exciting things already under way for next year, including welcoming Dr. Ben Carson as the speaker for the Annual Scholarship Banquet as well as Dr. Phillip Jenkins, the renowned historian, for the Carls-Schwerdfeger Lectures.
In conclusion I would like to express appreciation for the efforts by this year’s Cardinal & Cream staff, particularly the fine leadership of Beth Byrd and Katherine Burgess. We salute them, even as we once again congratulate this year’s graduates.
Together, let us offer our heartfelt thanks to God for the many kindnesses to Union University for the 2012-13 year.
David S. Dockery is university president.