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Union University celebrates 200th birthday!


The last year has been packed with Bicentennial celebrations in West Tennessee- the latest is Union University!

“Know, Union has had a presence in Jackson since 1823. The first classes began February 3rd, 1823, as the Jackson Male Academy. Of course, it was very small,” said Union University President Samuel "Dub" Oliver

Over the last 200 years Union has changed a lot

“I would say. When I first came to Union there were 650 people in college students, probably 30 faculty members. So it was a very small place," said Union University President (86'-96') Hyran Barefoot.

Union has grown, changed locations and absorbed other schools, but Dr. Oliver said one thing has never changed, "Bur christ-centered mission, there are so many institutions that were founded by the church or founded as christ in our institutions that that left that mission and pursued other things. And Union has been faithful to that mission from the very beginning until today.”

And that mission has changed lives like SGA President Senior Steve Williams, “Union's legacy has just been so transformative and so like just a staple in people's lives, especially in my life for sure.”

Williams is proud to be a member of the Bicentennial class, “Now being like a senior, it's kind of like, oh my gosh, it's finally happening. And like, we get to, like, be a part of this special memory in this moment of like this school year.”

As part of the celebration today, Madison county mayor A. J. proclaimed today Union University day, “This is special to me. This is I'm a two-time graduate of the union. My mom worked here for 12 years. My brother played basketball here and my wife graduated of Union. We're just part of the union family. And I've always felt that way. And so this one special and it's like a family member having a birthday.”

Nobody at Union is taking the credit for the last 200 years in Madison County, “Psalm 126 verse three says 'the lord has done great things for us. We are glad'. And that's really the character that we want all of our celebration to be is that that it's the lord that's done this. The Lord has sustained us, the Lord has provided for us, the lord has done all of this, and we're just the glad beneficiaries of that," Dr. Oliver said.

The Bulldogs already have their eyes on the future, "I hope it continues on. And like my kids and my friends, kids and our grandkids come here and just have a wonderful time and just be excited about what union is and what we stand for," said Williams.

And the celebration isn’t over! For more Union Bicentennial events, you can go to

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