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Encouraging words: 38 years later, Union grad still recruits for alma mater

JACKSON, Tenn.May 1, 2002 – When it comes to recruiting potential students, even a university like Union needs the support and help of good friends. Phil Jett, pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, is one of those people who have helped Union through the years, and his efforts continue to influence the university today.

“I believe Union is in its greatest days,” said Jett. “In a time when many Christian universities have moved away from their heritage and associations with local churches, Union has unapologetically maintained a solid Biblical base.”

Visiting Union as a student in June of 1964 with his pastor Harvey Hudson, a Union grad, who had encouraged him to consider his alma mater, Jett knew that Union was where God wanted him to be. After graduating in 1966, Jett continued to work in the life of the university through his close friendship with retired Union president Hyram C. Barefoot.

“Building that friendship was a wonderful experience,” said Jett. “His encouragement helped me pursue my goals as a student and afterwards.”

Jett’s involvement with Union has lasted through four presidents – Wright, Craig, Barefoot, and current president David S. Dockery. During this time, Jett has served on the Board of Trustees, and served as chair for two years. This past December, Jett was awarded the Craig Service Award for the outstanding service he’s rendered for the university. Above all else, Jett’s main goal is to be an encourager.

“I try to encourage students who are looking for a college to consider Union,” said Jett. “We have a scholarship program for Englewood members to help with that. I also encourage people to donate funds to the university.”

Jett’s support of Union extends to his own family. Not only is he a Union graduate, but so are all three of his children. His oldest son David graduated in 1981. While at Union, he met his wife Kathy, and their oldest son Kevin will be entering as a freshman in the fall of 2002. Jett’s son Steven graduated in 1988, and his daughter Susan graduated in 1998 along with the man she is now married to.

“My wife Marilyn and I are privileged to be a part of the greater Union University family,” Jett said. “It truly is a family. As we work together, we are able to see students grow and mature. We have had several students living in our home, using our washing machine, eating our table, and fellowshipping and worshipping with us at church. It’s truly great to be identified with Union.”

Carol Griffin, assistant vice president of admissions, said that he can recall many occasions in which prospective students have mentioned Jett as one of the reasons that they decided to investigate Union.

“He’s been very supportive,” said Griffin. “Even before he came to Englewood, he was sending students to Union from his church near Atlanta. Now, it’s more rare for students who attend Englewood not to come to Union than it is for them to come.” Griffin also noted that Englewood offers the third largest church matching scholarship available to students.

Jett wants to encourage any potential students or future high school graduates to prayerfully consider Union for their college experience. He feels that Union will prepare a student both academically and professionally.

“God’s hand is on Union,” Jett said. “Every college should be this way.”

By Jody Webster,
Class of 2004

Media contact: Sara B. Horn, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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