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Union honors Sanderson, other retirees for service to university

Union President David S. Dockery presents Carla Sanderson with a gift during a May 12 reception. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)
Union President David S. Dockery presents Carla Sanderson with a gift during a May 12 reception. (Photo by Morris Abernathy)

JACKSON, Tenn.May 13, 2014 – Union University faculty and staff honored a group of retirees and others who are leaving the university at a May 12 reception in the Carl Grant Events Center.

Carla Sanderson, Union’s provost and executive vice president for strategic initiatives, announced her retirement earlier this semester after 32 years of service to Union. At their meeting in April, trustees honored Sanderson with the title of provost emeritus.

“She’s given shape to the way that Union does many things, particularly in the way that we think about how to utilize faculty gifts and how to structure programs,” said Cindy Jayne, associate provost for intercultural and international studies. “She’s helped us develop a kind of professionalism, particularly when it came to accrediting issues that helped us move up and establish ourselves on firm footing.”

Jayne also said Sanderson helped Union faculty understand the role they could play in the community, and that she had a gift for recognizing talented people and bringing them on board.

“She’s been a wonderful gift to the university and a great, great friend,” Jayne said.

Sanderson, a 1981 Union graduate, returned to her alma mater in 1982 as a nursing professor and became dean of Union's School of Nursing in 1990 before becoming provost in 1998 and executive vice president in 2012.

She has been named vice president for accreditation and professional regulation for Chamberlain College of Nursing, headquartered in Chicago, and will remain in Jackson.

Jimmy Davis, Union’s vice president for institutional research, said while Sanderson exemplified the four core values of the university, being “people-focused” is her special talent.

“Even in the most difficult situation, Carla is always thinking about what the other people are enduring, suffering and dealing with, and she tries to come to an understanding of where they’re at,” Davis said. “It has been a pleasure working with Carla all these years.”

Union President David S. Dockery described Sanderson as “the archangel of Union University” who has invested herself in the life of the university for 32 years.

“There is hardly any area of the life and work of Union University that does not have some aspect of Carla Sanderson’s fingerprints resting upon it,” he said.

Other retirees honored at the reception were Donald Christensen, professor of finance; Woody Davis and Robert Cox of Union’s facilities management department; Mary Platt, cataloging and authority librarian; and Jan Boud, assistant to the president for community relations.

In addition, Dockery recognized three other administrators who are leaving for other institutions – Gene Fant, executive vice president for academic administration; Rich Grimm, senior vice president for enrollment services; and Tim Smith, dean of the School of Nursing.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth,, 731-661-5215