Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver said the two things he is most looking forward to about coming to Union are getting to know the students and learning about the Union community.
“I’m looking forward to coffee and conversation in Barefoots Joe, lunches and dinners and every opportunity, formal and informal, to develop relationships,” he says. “The best part of being on campus for Homecoming weekend [was] getting to hear members of the class of 1964 share about their Union experiences and to visit with current students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents.”
On Feb. 10, Union trustees unanimously selected Oliver, president of East Texas Baptist University, as Union’s 16th president. Oliver will begin his term as president on June 1.
He lists two key goals he hopes to accomplish at Union: to continually improve and sustain the level of excellence Union has attained.
“I am committed to helping Union continue to be known for the highest levels of excellence in Christ-centered higher education, integrating our faith in everything we do,” he said. “With God’s help and our collective best efforts, Union will reach farther and have an even greater impact as it becomes more fully what God intends it to become.”
Though he is excited about making the transition, Oliver said he knows it will be difficult to leave ETBU.
“The toughest part of leaving is always the relationships,” he said. “But God is so gracious to always give us a new community quickly. We already feel that community developing at Union and are deeply grateful for the way we have been embraced by everyone at Union.”
The Olivers have always enjoyed investing in student life and campus activities, both at ETBU and Baylor University, where they served from 1992-2009.
At ETBU, Susie Oliver stays busy with traditional first lady events such as hosting faculty-spouse events, luncheons and the Miss ETBU pageant.
However, her non-traditional responsibilities keep her day timer full.
She manages the Student Center, teaches classes in the kinesiology department, coaches the spirit program and serves in a variety of other different roles.
“We have always enjoyed sharing life on campus,” Dub Oliver said. “We enjoy attending student organization events and activities, concerts, lectures, theatre performances, athletic events, intramural sports, etc. If it is happening on campus or involves students, faculty and staff, we want to be a part of it.”
Dub Oliver says he has tried almost all of the intramural sports offered at ETBU and won the intramural bowling championship when he was an undergraduate at Baylor University.
“We have lived on campus at Baylor and ETBU and have always enjoyed hosting students, faculty and staff in our homes,” Susie Oliver said.
“We hope that we will be able to continue to do the same at Union.”
The Olivers’ daughter, Callie, is a senior at Baylor University and plans to graduate this August with a degree in Apparel Design and Product Marketing.
She hopes to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
When he has a day off, Dub Oliver said he enjoys playing racquetball, reading, hanging out with Susie and taking Sunday afternoon naps.
The Olivers plan to be on campus March 9-15, 25-26, April 14-16 and May 7-9.
They said they have a message for the Union community: “We are excited to be [at Union], and we are also doing our best to end well at ETBU. Thank you for praying for us in this way. Know that we continue to pray for you as well.”
‘Five Fun Facts about the First Lady’
By Susie Oliver
- I love to run, swim and shop, but I am most fulfilled when I am spending time with my family.
- My favorite place to eat is Chick-Fil-A.
- When I was teenager, I used to ride a unicycle.
- I just finished running my fifth half-marathon.
- I adore your new president!
Follow the Olivers on Social Media:
- Facebook: Dub Oliver Oliver, Susie OliverCombs Oliver
- Twitter: @DrDub Oliver_ETBU, @susieoliver3
- Instagram: CoachSusie