The Hurt Commons building suffered most of the damage from the tornado that hit on Saturday, Nov. 9. Construction crews began working on restructuring the wall on Monday, Nov. 11 and the commons will receive new carpet and furniture.
Union University suffers damage from F1 tornado: No One Injured
Early Sunday morning, Nov. 10, time stood still at Union University. That’s when, according to student eyewitness accounts and the National Weather Service, an F1 tornado formed above the campus, creating 110-mile-an-hour winds which blew dumpsters and picnic tables through the air, knocked down trees and power lines, and broke and shattered glass windows in cars and buildings. The time on the clock of the university’s Miller Tower read 12:05. It would stay that way for the next 18 hours. (READ MORE)

McAfee Resident Director son Seth Herr and friend Matthew Van Neste climb on a large tree that fell behind the McAfee Commons Saturday night as a result of the tornado.
Daylight brings reality of storm’s impact at Union
As the sun came up over the campus Sunday, Nov. 10, a warm breeze blew through the white tarp stretched over the side of Hurt Commons where a wall of glass windows had blown in from the tornado’s high winds. The morning brought a sharp contrast to the darkness and storminess of the night before, and while students slept, resting from the terror of the storm which had occurred only hours before, administrators and staff continued to work, organizing a command center in the Watters commons which had not been damaged as extensively as its sister building and closing off all entrances to the campus except the Walker Road entrance where a security guard was stationed at the Welcome House. (READ MORE)

Director of Computing Services John David Barham helps cart off the mass of debris blown off of residence life complex roofs by the tornado.
Union University community spirit shines in midst of crisis
“Things are replaceable – people aren’t.” The phrase seemed to echo throughout Union University’s campus in the first daylight hours of Monday morning, Nov. 11, as faculty, staff, students and volunteers from the community met bright and early to begin an all-day cleanup effort after the campus was hit by raging heavy winds from an F1 tornado that formed directly above the student residential buildings shortly before midnight the previous Saturday night. Though the damage appeared extensive, spirits were high as the reality of what occurred and the significance that no one was hurt was realized. (READ MORE)

Sophomore Katie Grashot from Millington, TN calls her insurance company about the damage sustained to her car as a result of the tornado that hit campus Saturday night.
Students recall experiences from the Union Tornado of 2002
With classes back in session on Tuesday, stories of Union students and their experiences with the events over the weekend began to circulate. The following are brief accounts which give witness to the seriousness of the storm and the thankfulness that God provides.

Catherine Bland, a junior DMS major, was with eight other people in her McAfee room when the storms hit campus... (READ MORE)

Junior Lauren Robbins, psychology major, had sustained major damage to her Toyota as a result of the tornado.
Union student walks away from tornado's center
On Saturday night, Union senior Christine Ealey walked away unscathed from an experience few people live to tell about – being caught in the center of a tornado. After leaving her job as a waitress at a local restaurant when the tornado warning sirens sounded, she decided to make an attempt to reach her apartment before the storm hit. By the time she had made it north of the 45 Bypass, just opposite of Union, the rain was pouring down. Suddenly, she saw a funnel in front of her and in the next instant the wind was swirling all around her car, as a jet-like roar exploded all around her. (READ MORE)

During the tornado the front windows of the McAfee Commons were blown out. Here we see McAfee Residence Director Dan Herr entering the temporarily repaired commons after organizing a lunch for the clean-up volunteers.
Student security guard says life was spared from tornado
A heart racing chase scene, falling objects, and a near death experience all sound like parts of an action adventure movie, but they were reality for Union junior Sasha Stojiljkovic when he survived a run-in with the tornado that hit the campus near midnight on Saturday.

Stojiljkovic, who was working the late shift for security and stationed at Union’s Welcome House located at the entrance on Walker Road, had become apathetic to the tornado sirens after nothing had come of the first two of the evening. When the entry gates by the guardhouse began to shake, he quickly looked over toward Jennings and saw a huge cloud of dust blowing his way.

 Frantically, he called Mary Akin, the security officer on duty, on his radio who he could see was driving near Jennings. He and Akin drove rapidly toward McAffee Commons in search of shelter, narrowly missing a falling telephone pole and almost hitting parked cars and a fallen tree in the process. At one point, their vehicle was lifted briefly into the air. (READ MORE)


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