JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 24, 2004 – “Don’t Miss the Tradition” was the theme for Homecoming 2004, and many students, alumni and friends of Union University did not. More than 600 visitors returned to celebrate Union’s varied and time-honored traditions on Feb. 20-21.
Wild and Wacky Games officially kicked the week off as eight student teams demonstrated school spirit wackiness in competition for the coveted Presidential Cup. Ginny Owens, 2000 Dove Award winner, performed during a Wednesday chapel and to a capacity crowd at a coffeehouse in Coburn Dining Hall. Open Mic Night, which featured karaoke performances by students, also drew a packed house Friday at Lexington Inn.
A barbeque party, hosted by the Freshman Council, preceded Thursday’s basketball victories in which the Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs defeated Berry College 77-51 and 80-67, respectively.
The Founder’s Day Chapel honored the Class of 1954 with 50-year reunion medallions and featured Gene Fant, associate professor and chair of the English department at Union University, as speaker. Fant’s address focused on M.E. Dodd, a Union alumnus, whose vision for cooperative missions among Southern Baptists resulted in the denomination’s Cooperative Program, which still funds missions today.
Special reunion gatherings brought the classes of ’54, ’63, ’64, ’74 and ’94 to campus. The class of ’79 took top honors in total money raised and the largest participation percentage in annual reunion giving toward the university’s Annual Fund.
Union’s musical elite performance group Proclamation reunited approximately 70 singers from the past 30 years to the present. The group performed for Saturday’s Reunion Brunch and Awards Luncheon and opened the Lady Bulldogs game with the national anthem.
Alumni award winners announced during the Alumni Reunion luncheon were John and Virginia Dickinson, ’48 and ’49, respectively, and Mark and Christine Fairless, ‘51, as recipients of the Distinguished Service Award.
Jackson resident Charles Baldwin, O. P. and Evalyn Hammons Professor of Pre-Medical Studies, received the Distinguished Faculty/Staff Award. Rev. Paul B. Clark Jr., a 1975 graduate, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Jennifer Dawn Carter, ‘96, received the Outstanding Young Achiever Award. Harry L. Smith from Germantown, Tenn. was honored as Honorary Alumnus. Smith is vice chair of Union’s board of trustees.
Lady Bulldogs’ halftime festivities highlighted the crowning of Laura Lee Moore as 2004 Homecoming Queen and awarding the Presidential Cup to the Alpha Tao Omega fraternity for outstanding performance in the week’s activities. The Lady Bulldogs and Bulldogs trounced Lee University in respective wins, 83-52 and 78-68.
A more recent tradition, the fifth annual Cardinal Ball, closed homecoming week at Central Station in downtown Memphis.