Union University remembers 2008 tornado that ripped campus apart

JACKSON, Tenn. — This month marks 10 years since an EF-4 tornado ripped through Union University’s campus.

“I remember every minute of that day as if it were yesterday,” former University President Dr. David Dockery said.

Feb. 5, 2008 will forever be ingrained in the minds of of many. Dockery says he remembers every vivid detail.

“It was so traumatic for all of us, what we went through and experienced,” he said.

Through the chaos and destruction, Dockery calls what happened next a miracle.

“We sent 51 students to the hospital, but by the grace of God, no lives were lost,” he said.

10 years later, former administrators and alumni came together to remember that fateful day.

“It was remarkable the way the community supported Union through this,” Associate Vice President of Communications Tim Ellsworth said.

Ellsworth says it took years to recover and build back, but says they’re not reflecting on the loss.

“It’s a day when we are celebrating the Lord’s providence and protection, and looking back with gratitude for what happened that night,” Ellsworth said.

First responders who worked the scene were also recognized during the service.

“It was really a scene even for those of us that have served for many years we just could have never imagined,” Capt. Bob Layman with the Jackson Fire Department said.

As for administrators like Dockery, the memories the campus echoes will live on.

“Every generation of students needs to hear this story because they have the privilege of being here because of what happened,” Dockery said.

The day of remembrance will wrap up with a worship service and concert.