Union University Announces New Library Plans

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Union University’s 14th Annual Scholarship banquet proved more than just a fundraiser. It was the backdrop for a $10 million announcement. Right before keynote speaker Tony Blair took the stage, Dr. David Docker, President of Union, announced that The Bill and Carol Latimer Foundation is giving Union its biggest cash gift in university history. The gift is a matching donation, meaning every dollar given up to $10 million will be matched dollar-for-dollar. The final $20 million will be used to build a new library at the north Jackson campus. “We want to think of this as a place that provides illumination,” said Dr. Dockery of the building whose front facade will be constructed largely for glass. “I think that light is a wonderful metaphor for what will happen in this building.” The 60,000 square foot, $18 million library and learning center will be built on the west side of campus. It will be situated just east of Jennings Hall and north of Miller Tower. “It allows us to take a giant step forward to serve the faculty and students while creating new academic horizons for us,” explained Dockery. The yet-to-be-named, three-story, domed structure will mirror the architecture of the recently constructed buildings at Union. It will also replace what can only be called an outdated and too small space. “That library in terms of size and holdings is not adequate to serve the Union University of today,” said Dockery. The Emma Waters Library was built 30 years ago when Union moved from downtown Jackson to its current location. At the time, the enrollment was less than a thousand students. Union’s fall enrollment was 4,205. The new library will house state of the art technology, seminar space and room to grow. It will be the twenty-fifth building constructed during Dr. Dockery’s 16 years as president. Though he says each building holds a special place in his heart, he sees this one as having the largest reach because no matter a student or faculty’s major or focus they will be able to use the library. “It will become the academic, intellectual and cultural center for the campus, city and region,” explained Dockery. According to the university, architectural work of moving the building from drawings to blue prints will begin right away. Construction should begin in early 2012 with a hopeful completion date in early 2014. Currently $4.4 million in matching funds have been raised. To learn more about the project and how to be a part of the new library, visit www.uu.edu/library/renewingminds.

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