JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 5, 2003 – Union University set a new enrollment record with 2,809 students registered for Fall 2003 classes, according to Union President David S. Dockery.
The record-setting enrollment includes growth in undergraduate, graduate, traditional and non-traditional categories in both Jackson and Germantown campuses. It marks an eight percent increase over enrollment from Fall 2002.
"We are excited and thankful for every new and returning student," Dockery said. "The significant increase is another tribute to the quality of the Union faculty and staff and their commitment to the Union student body."
Dockery said 61 doctoral students are enrolled in various programs of study with 319 graduate students studying on the Jackson campus and 399 enrolled on the Germantown campus.
"Students are looking for an institution that prioritizes rigorous academics and is unapologetic about Christian commitment," Dockery said.
The university has drawn national attention for its academic environment, most recently being named for a seventh consecutive year as a U.S. News & World Report top tier university in the Southern Universities-Master's category.
In 2002 some of the university's top faculty were published in "Shaping a Christian Worldview, The Foundations of Christian Higher Education." The volume has earned national accolades from scholars who called the book a useful taxonomy for Christian worldview reflection across the disciplines.
The record enrollment numbers brought commendations from Southern Baptist Convention President Jack Graham.
"Union University merges faith and learning and provides Christian education the way it ought to be done," said Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. "I am personally grateful for Union's determination to glorify God while training a generation of Kingdom leaders without compromising academics or spiritual truth."
Faculty and staff attributed the growth to Dockery's leadership. Since his arrival in 1995, enrollment at the nation's oldest Southern Baptist university has increased 42 percent. Since 1996, enrollment has climbed from 1,975 to 2,809 with students on Union's main campus in Jackson and Germantown, Tenn.
"Dr. Dockery's leadership has been pivotal to our progress," said Kathie Chute, associate vice president for university relations and enrollment services. "The milestones accomplished here since his arrival in 1995 say it all. As Union University's reputation grows, we are seeing our enrollment numbers rise, the geographic area from which our students come broaden, and the quality of our students increase."
The president has thrust Union into the national spotlight, bringing renowned global leaders to the campus - from former British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, scheduled to speak at the university's 2003 Scholarship Banquet.
The university also celebrated another record-breaking announcement - the academic achievements of the 2003 freshman class. Union's 410 freshmen boast an average ACT score of 25, the highest of any freshman class. The group includes 44 students who were either valedictorians or salutatorians and six National Merit Finalists.
The student body represents students from 44 states and 36 countries, making it one of the most diverse in Union's history.
Dean of Students Kimberly Thornbury said the quality students attending Union create a unique campus environment.
"Union University continues to attract high quality students who are interested in top Christian higher education," Thornbury said. "Our students find that Union offers them academic excellence within a context of strong Christian community. These students are attracted to an institution that strives to love Christ with heart, mind and body."