Union University faculty remember 2008 tornado



Walking through the campus of union university today, you may not realize an EF-4 tornado stormed through campus. But it did… 13 years ago.


Two faculty members share what they remember about the hours before the tornado hit.


“I remember that day students walking around in shorts and t-shirts because it was in the 70’s that day," says associate vice president for university communications, Tim Ellsworth.


“But we were checking and my wife and I stepped out one time, the windows of course were open and we heard the train, the locomotive sound. We both looked at each other," adds dean of school of theology admissions, Ray Van Nest.


On February 5th, 2008 there was an outbreak of tornadoes across the southern part of the us, one hitting right here in the hub city.


The EF-4 tornado cut right through Union University’s campus.


Van Nest says, “it was a tough semester we had to meet in different places and again people about me did a great job of juggling the schedule and finding new rooms.”


A large amount of the student housing collapsed, but now 13 years later the campus looks a lot different.


“The campus has grown considerably since 2008, we’ve got a whole new complex of student housing, the housing units that we had were mostly flattened and had to be bulldozed and rebuilt from scratch," says Ellsworth.


After speaking with people that were there that night they say the tornado showed how much support they have.


“The way that the Jackson and west Tennessee communities were so supportive of union during that time. That night of February 5th," added Ellsworth.

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