University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver shared the story of how he came to Union at student senate Wednesday night.
The Student Government Association traditionally invites the university president to speak once per semester. This was Oliver’s second time in the senate, but his first as president.
“The last four months have really been overwhelmingly positive and full of so many great experiences,” Oliver said.
Oliver said when he first heard the position of the presidency was opening up at Union, he did not even consider it. He said it took the Lord’s continued reminder and conversations with several Union representatives before he even seriously considered leaving his position as president of East Texas Baptist University.
“That’s when my wrestling with God began,” Oliver said.
He said he did not want to leave the university because he had put so much work into it, and he loved his position there. He said he asked God to allow him to stay in Texas.
“His answer was this,” Oliver said. “‘Would you rather rest in your work or live in my work.’”
Oliver said after he agreed to be a candidate for the presidency of Union, he quickly became a finalist with the board of trustees and was elected as president in spring of this year.
After sharing his story, Oliver took questions from students regarding facilities and his plans for the university. He said his experiences working at Baylor University and ETBU taught him that it is important to decide how Christian the school will be and stick to it.
“If the president’s not attentive to the mission, then the mission can split.” Oliver said.
Oliver said he hopes his legacy will be a person who loved well and led well. He also gave advice to the students.
“The one thing I want to beg you to do, I want to exhort you to do…is to be in the Word every single day,” Oliver said.
Will Duncan, senior engineering major and class president, said he always likes hearing Oliver speak, and he was glad he took time to come to student senate.
“It was neat to get to hear the story of how God brought him here to Union and the direction and plans he has,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he was impressed by Oliver’s heart for students and his willingness to interact with them.
Lacie Fink, junior accounting major and vice president of the Student Government Association, said it was an honor to have Oliver speak as a special guest.
“He is an engaging speaker with a gift for story-telling, humor and name recollection,” Fink said. “His ability to call students in our packed senate chamber by name during Q&A demonstrated his obvious passion for connecting with students.”