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Union preparing for Churchill’s visit

Winston Churchill will speak at Union's Scholarship Banquet Sept. 26.
Winston Churchill will speak at Union's Scholarship Banquet Sept. 26.

JACKSON, Tenn.Sept. 12, 2006 – The name Winston S. Churchill commands immediate attention.

Union University’s keynote speaker for the 10th annual Scholarship Banquet shared the name with his late grandfather, the former British prime minister and a man considered by many to be one of the finest leaders and orators of the 20th century.

But looking beyond his familiar name reveals a man who has reported from combat zones, navigated the political waters of British Parliament and written critically acclaimed volumes.

The 10th annual Scholarship Banquet begins at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson. Many believe Churchill could rank among the most engaging speakers in the event’s history – a group that includes Mikhail Gorbachev, Colin Powell, Lady Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush.

“Winston Churchill promises to be a captivating speaker,” Union University President David S. Dockery said. “He will bring our audience a perspective on world affairs that starts with his grandfather’s legacy, but is very much based on personal experience as a journalist and historian.”

Churchill has earned praise from audiences around the world for his ability to connect the lessons of his grandfather’s life with current events and with observations from his own extensive experience.

“In the 10 years I have been involved with Yad Vashem, we have had two truly great speakers -- President Clinton and Winston Churchill,” said Harry Kichler of the Canadian Yad Vashem, an organization that remembers the martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust. Churchill presented a speech to the group about combating anti-Semitism.

“He was personable, charming and charismatic,” Kichler said.

Churchill reported from 10 conflicts on three continents during his time as a war correspondent for a variety of major publications. Less than 10 years after his graduation from Oxford, Churchill entered British Parliament as the youngest Conservative Party MP ever elected. He served for 27 years.

As an author, Churchill has written seven major books, four of which relate to his grandfather’s legacy. His most recent book, “Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches,” moved Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to write, “The drumbeats of history sound through this volume of his majestic speeches, filled with passion and with wit.”

Most of the tables for this year’s event have been reserved, but a few remain for interested sponsors. Tables for eight are reserved at various levels of support, and individual seats for the dinner are available for $125. Balcony seating without dinner is $25. The annual Scholarship Banquet has generated about $3.5 million for student scholarships at Union University since 1997.

This year’s lead sponsors include BancorpSouth, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Black & Decker Industrial Products Group, Schilling Enterprises and White Investments LLC (Roy L. White, president and chief executive officer). Premier sponsors include FirstBank, Benny and Norma Fesmire, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, Mike and Trish Weeks, Nortek, Inc./Lloyd Hansen, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network/Rod and Amy Parker, and West Tennessee Healthcare.

“We’re very grateful for the partnerships of our lead and premier sponsors,” Dockery said. “They make this a special evening each year, and they make a difference in the lives of Union students.”

For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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