Homecoming has moved between November and February over the past 10 years for a variety of reasons, including the basketball season schedule. This year Homecoming returns to the first week of November and will include inaugural events.
“Inaugurations do not happen every year,” said Jerry Tidwell, senior vice president for University Relations and Athletics. “We wanted to give as many people as possible the opportunity to be a part of this very historical moment in the life of Union and the new president.
“(Dub) is very engaged in the personal lives of students,” Tidwell said. “He definitely is students-centered, students first. We feel like, because of that and inauguration, students will be more interested in homecoming.”
On Nov. 3 from 8-10 p.m., the Students Activates Council will kick the week off with a bonfire near the Hope Quad. The student body is invited to attend and enjoy free hot chocolate and other treats with Oliver and first lady, Susie Oliver.
Campus and Community: A Day of Remembrance and Service will be held on Nov. 4. For the past 12 years, students faculty and staff have gone into the community in an effort to give thanks to God for His protection during the 2002, 2003 and 2008 tornadoes. The day will begin with a corporate worship service in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel at 8:30 a.m. after which members of the campus community will go out in groups and serve all over Jackson and the surrounding area. Classes are generally cancelled and students are encouraged to sign up for a project through the University Ministries website.
Union’s volleyball team will play Christian Brothers University in the Fred Delay gymnasium at 7 p.m. and Bulldog Olympics will begin at 9 p.m. in the small gymnasium, located in the Penick Academic Complex. Sponsored by Student Government Association and Senior Council, Bulldog Olympics is a competition for all campus student organizations. Campus organizations can compete in the event to win points toward the Union Cup.
On Nov. 5, Larry D. Robertson of the Tennessee Baptist Convention is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel. There will also be a student luncheon with the Olivers in the Brewer Dining Hall at 12 p.m.
The first lady will host a tea, and there will be a red carpet dinner on Nov. 6, both by invitation only. The ‘Union Fittest Team’ event will be held from 8-9 p.m. in the small gymnasium. Students are encouraged to watch contestants as they compete in the bench press, tire flip, wall sit and jump rope. Free food will be provided. This event is sponsored by wellness services.
On Friday, Nov. 7, alumni will join students and other campus community members for a variety of events.
Homecoming Chapel will be held at 10 a.m. in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel and is the official kickoff of homecoming weekend. During this time, the class of 1965 will celebrate their 50th reunion and the Alumni Award recipients will be acknowledged.
The presidential inauguration for Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver will take place at 2 p.m. in the chapel. All students, faculty, staff and alumni are invited to attend. There will be a reception following the service on the Great Lawn.
On Nov. 8, Chi Omega is hosting ‘Run for a Wish’ at 8:30 a.m. starting from Miller Tower. Register online.
At 11 a.m., students and alumni are encouraged to attend the NCAA reception and celebration in the E.T. “Rocky” Palmer Activity Center. This will be a time of celebrating the transition to Division ll and the Gulf South Conference with current and former players and coaches.
In celebration of the inauguration of Union’s 16th president, there will be a picnic with the Olivers on the Great Lawn at 12 p.m. Everyone is invited to meet the president and first lady, athletes and Buster the Bulldog.
Homecoming Weekend will conclude with exhibition basketball games on Saturday afternoon in the Fred Delay Gymnasium. The Lady Bulldogs will play the Robert Morris College Lady Eagles at 2 p.m. During halftime, the 2014 Homecoming Court will be introduced and the Olivers will crown the new Homecoming Queen.
The men’s basketball team will play the Williams Baptist College Eagles at 4 p.m. During halftime, the winner of the Presidential Cup will be announced. The Presidential Cup winner will be the student organization that has the most points after competition in a series of events during homecoming week, including Campus and Community Day and Bulldog Olympics.
“With this being our first year as official members of the NCAA, we hope especially our student body will come out and support our men’s and women’s basketball teams on Saturday as it will be an exciting beginning to a new year of full membership,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said the Office of Alumni Relations has worked specifically in the last few years to increase homecoming participation among young alumni and the present student body.
“We hope that alumni from all classes will come to campus as we celebrate another year of God’s faithfulness to Union University,” said Josh Clarke, director of alumni relations, in a Union news release.
A comprehensive list of homecoming week events can be found here.