JACKSON, Tenn. – Dec. 5, 2013 – David and Lanese Dockery were recognized for their numerous contributions to the Union University community and beyond at a Dec. 4 chapel service held to give thanks for the Dockerys’ leadership.
Having served 18 years as the 15th Union president, Dockery will transition from his role as president during the first part of 2014. The service, held in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel, was a time to “express gratitude to God for the particular blessing that he has given to us in President and Mrs. Dockery,” said Todd Brady, vice president for university ministries.
Savannah Hari, a senior sports medicine major, recalled a moment from the last “Ask the Doc” Student Senate meeting, when Dockery talked about how he and another Union colleague scribbled down four phrases on a napkin years ago during a lunch meeting. These phrases eventually became Union’s four core values: Excellence-Driven, Christ-Centered, People-Focused and Future-Directed.
“What I don’t think that Dr. Dockery realized when he established these core values is that, in a way, he was describing himself and his leadership,” Hari said. “I know I am a better person because of Union University, and (Dr. Dockery’s) legacy left here is going to impact students like me for years to come.”
Dockery received several gifts during the service, including a framed copy of the university’s statement of faith. Ron Boud, professor of music and university organist, also composed a song for the celebration titled “The Servant Song,” which was presented by The Voices of Proclamation.
Ray Van Neste, director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies, noted that Dockery helped preserve Union’s history by establishing the university’s annual Founders’ Day Chapel. Van Neste also presented Dockery with a framed cover of the volume of Founders’ Day addresses that Van Neste is compiling.
“One of the most effective ways to revitalize a people is to reclaim their awareness of their past,” Van Neste said. “This is one of the great things that Dr. Dockery has done for Union University, (as he has) encouraged us to not only reclaim the great Christian intellectual tradition but also to become aware again and afresh of the place that Union University has played in that Christian intellectual tradition.”
Lanese also was presented the Craig Service Award for her efforts to raise scholarship funds through the Union Auxiliary. Louise Bentley, the auxiliary’s scholarship committee chair, described Lanese as “more than a first lady of impressive accomplishments,” as Bentley said she also is a woman who fears the Lord.
The award is named after Union’s 13th president, who led the university for nearly two decades and was responsible for reestablishing Union with the churches of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Craig was also responsible for relocating the university campus to north Jackson.
The Craig Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the university.
“While there is no way for any of us to describe fully how grateful we are for what God has done through the Dockerys’ leadership, this morning we try,” Brady said. “We celebrate the Lord’s goodness…for (the Dockerys’) service to the kingdom of God through the ministry of higher education here at Union University.”
By Beth Knoll