JACKSON, Tenn. – May 14, 2008 – Union University President David S. Dockery will be the keynote speaker at Union’s 183rd annual spring commencement ceremony May 17.
More than 400 students will receive degrees as part of the ceremony, which will begin at 6 p.m. on the Great Lawn on the west end of Union’s campus. The total graduating class from the 2007-2008 academic year will exceed 950, the largest class in Union’s history.
“We are thrilled to see the arrival of graduation day, and are ready to bring to a close the most trying semester in Union’s history,” Dockery said. “On Feb. 6, we weren’t sure this day would come. But by God’s grace, we have made it.”
A massive tornado slammed the Union campus on Feb. 5, destroying about 70 percent of student housing and causing extensive damage to academic buildings as well. In the days following the storm, Union administrators scrambled to find a way to salvage the semester.
They succeeded. Classes resumed on Feb. 20, and Union was able to complete the semester on schedule.
“We are so thankful to everyone who has helped us this semester, during our hour of need,” Dockery said. “The outpouring of support from the Jackson community and across the nation has been amazing – and humbling – to witness.”
Union officials are expecting a large crowd at Saturday’s ceremony. Guests are encouraged to keep their vehicles in parking lots as much as possible. They may park on the grass off of the curb to the right of the road, but they are requested not to park on the lawn – especially on the east or west side of White Hall and the west side of Jennings Hall.
Visitors are encouraged to use the lot to the west of the Penick Academic Complex, the lot by the baseball field, the White Hall lot and the lot to the east of Penick. The Walker Road entrance will not be open for access to campus.
In addition, visitors are requested not to enter the construction zones for the new student housing complexes.
“We had hoped to provide tours of the new residence life area for graduates and their families, but that is not going to be possible,” Dockery said. “We plan to offer such tours sometime soon, and will certainly let students and their families know when that time comes.”