JACKSON, Tenn. – April 1, 2005 – Union University trustees adopted a record $45.6 million budget and approved plans to proceed with construction of a new science building at their April 1 meeting on the Union campus.
They also adopted a name for the new athletic field house scheduled for construction and recognized retired Bellevue Baptist Church pastor Adrian Rogers with the institution’s highest denominational service award.
Union president David S. Dockery said the adopted budget was a significant step for the university.
“This is by far the largest budget in Union history and represents a 10 percent increase over this past year,” Dockery said. “It will enable the university to take the first steps in implementing the 2010 plan approved by the board in December.”
Construction of the White Hall science building was originally scheduled for completion by 2005. But the building project has been delayed due to tornadoes in 2002 and 2003, as well as funding and space issues. Trustees gave the green light to move forward with the building, with estimates for the three-story facility to open no later than spring 2007.
White Hall will be a $13.5 million, 60,000-square foot facility that will house the departments of biology, chemistry and nursing. The building name will honor Roy L. White of Memphis, who gave the lead gift for the project.
“The long-awaited start of White Hall appears imminent with the go ahead from the trustees at this week’s meeting,” Dockery said. “We are delighted with the prospects that this building holds for advancing excellence in the sciences and the entire academic program of Union.”
Trustees selected Rogers for the M.E. Dodd Award for his contributions to the Southern Baptist Convention. Rogers recently retired as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., where he served for 32 years.
Dockery will present Rogers with the award during this year’s SBC annual meeting in Nashville in June. Jimmy Draper, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, received the award last year.
“The M.E. Dodd Award is the highest denominational service award given by the institution,” Dockery said. “It will be a great honor and privilege to grant this significant recognition to Dr. Adrian Rogers for his longtime support of Union University and, moreover, for three decades of amazing leadership at Bellevue Baptist Church.”
Trustees also recognized Benny and Norma Fesmire for their $500,000 gift to the university by naming the planned athletic field house in their honor. Construction on the Fesmire Field House, an 18,000-square foot facility that will support the men’s and women’s soccer teams, the men’s baseball team and the women’s softball team, is scheduled to begin this spring.
The facility will include a 9,000-square foot turf room, locker rooms and showers for each home and visiting team, coaches offices and an athletic training room.
“We are grateful for the magnanimous generosity of Benny and Norma Fesmire and the Fesmire family foundation,” Dockery said. “Their gift of $500,000 will enable the university to move forward on the soccer field and the athletic field house project that will serve the athletic department well for decades to come.”