Union University

The information on this page was last updated 1/3/2024. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Union University is an academic community, affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, equipping persons to think Christianly and serve faithfully in ways consistent with its core values of being excellence-driven, Christ-centered, people-focused, and future-directed. These values shape its identity as an institution which prioritizes liberal arts based undergraduate education enhanced by professional and graduate programs. The academic community is composed of quality faculty, staff, and students working together in a caring, grace-filled environment conducive to the development of character, servant leadership, and cultural engagement.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305

Website: uu.edu

Phone: 731-668-1818

Email: [email protected]

Organization details

EIN: 620516509

CEO/President: Dr. Samuel "Dub" Oliver

Chairman: Jeff Perkins

Board size: 27


Ruling year: 1968

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 07/31

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 2002


Union University is an academic community, affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, equipping persons to think Christianly and serve faithfully in ways consistent with its core values of being excellence-driven, Christ-centered, people-focused, and future-directed. These values shape its identity as an institution which prioritizes liberal arts based undergraduate education enhanced by professional and graduate programs. The academic community is composed of quality faculty, staff, and students working together in a caring, grace-filled environment conducive to the development of character, servant leadership, and cultural engagement.

Mission statement

Union University provides Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society.

Statement of faith

The Scriptures. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain, and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.

God. There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver, and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. He exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. God as Father reigns with providential care over all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.

Jesus Christ. The second person of the Trinity is the eternal Son of God. In his incarnation Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature, yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for our redemption from sin. He was buried and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He lives to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the universe.

Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine, who exalts Jesus Christ. The Spirit convicts men and women of sin, of righteousness, and judgment, enabling them to understand the truth. He calls men and women to the Savior, and brings about regeneration, which is a renewal of heart and nature.

Humankind. God originally created humankind in His image, and free from sin; but through the temptation of Satan, they transgressed the command of God, and fell from their original righteousness, whereby all humans have inherited a sinful nature that is opposed to God, and are thus under condemnation. As soon as they are capable of moral action, they become actual transgressors.

Salvation. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole person, and is offered freely to all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; accepting and trusting in Him alone for justification and eternal life. Justification is God's gracious declaration of righteousness of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made. Believers are also sanctified by God's Word and Spirit dwelling in them. Sanctification is the process of progressing toward moral and spiritual maturity, enabled by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Those who are accepted in Christ and sanctified by the Holy Spirit will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

The Church. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, which is composed of all true followers of Christ, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. Christians are to associate themselves with local churches; and to each church is given the authority to administer order, to carry out ministry, to worship, and to practice discipline.

Last Things. The bodies of humans after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God-the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. God in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised. God has appointed a day, when He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when all people shall receive according to their deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.

This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. With respect to faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, the Board of Trustees is the final arbiter on the Bible's meaning and application for the purposes of the University.

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating167 of 111014 of 129
Fund acquisition rating344 of 111146 of 129
Resource allocation rating110 of 11116 of 129
Asset utilization rating506 of 111064 of 129

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$2,514,392$1,789,376$2,098,188$1,713,839$2,092,528
Short-term investments$55,966,910$60,157,105$49,612,160$47,261,850$42,922,493
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$71,459,222$73,332,887$56,844,445$52,855,697$48,751,818
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$121,525,415$122,893,222$125,929,089$129,711,141$126,396,474
Other long-term assets$684,463$24,741$25,579$27,550$29,620
Total long-term assets$122,209,878$122,917,963$125,954,668$129,738,691$126,426,094
Total assets$193,669,100$196,250,850$182,799,113$182,594,388$175,177,912
Payables and accrued expenses$3,127,548$4,270,859$2,891,933$1,288,289$850,003
Other current liabilities$4,895,997$4,996,069$4,790,284$3,955,827$3,464,879
Total current liabilities$8,023,545$9,266,928$7,682,217$5,244,116$4,314,882
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$1,535,659$925,198$990,400$1,122,326$1,071,891
Total long-term liabilities$10,974,925$12,473,886$15,882,225$19,105,394$31,393,365
Total liabilities$18,998,470$21,740,814$23,564,442$24,349,510$35,708,247
Net assets20222021202020192018
Without donor restrictions$94,134,350$92,536,250$88,987,401$88,454,118$71,215,470
With donor restrictions$80,536,280$81,973,786$70,247,270$69,790,760$68,254,195
Net assets$174,670,630$174,510,036$159,234,671$158,244,878$139,469,665
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$13,641,054$11,532,206$6,947,029$17,922,033$5,554,562
Program service revenue$86,302,403$85,668,700$82,963,821$85,059,584$83,100,880
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$1,806,109$3,517,630($796,344)$757,553$1,929,655
Other revenue$1,541,038$1,561,377$845,999$3,346,587$1,722,576
Total other revenue$89,649,550$90,747,707$83,013,476$89,163,724$86,753,111
Total revenue$103,290,604$102,279,913$89,960,505$107,085,757$92,307,673
Program services$91,306,280$83,352,049$83,435,418$85,069,017$83,673,059
Management and general$5,990,854$8,544,795$6,824,772$5,475,536$4,896,924
Total expenses$98,095,312$92,443,205$90,838,837$91,196,389$89,408,240
Change in net assets20222021202020192018
Surplus (deficit)$5,195,292$9,836,708($878,332)$15,889,368$2,899,433
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$5,195,292$9,836,708($878,332)$15,889,368$2,899,433


Samuel Dub OliverPresident &$451,743
Sheila MitchellDean - Pharm$243,249
George DemaagdAsst Dean, P$208,144
Kelly HardenDean, Nursin$197,925
Andrew RiceChair, Nurse$191,892
Mark CampbellW Basketball$190,368
Rick TaphornCFO/VP Bus A$154,334

Compensation data as of: 7/31/2022

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 1/3/2024. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Union University is an heir of three antebellum Tennessee schools-West Tennessee College and its predecessor, Jackson Male Academy, both located at Jackson, and of Union University, located at Murfreesboro-and it is the inheritor of another college in 1927, Hall-Moody Junior College of Martin, Tennessee.

Jackson Male Academy, founded in 1823 shortly after the opening of West Tennessee for settlement, was chartered by the legislature in 1825.

West Tennessee College originated in the mid-1840s when supporters of the Academy secured a charter for a college and received an endowment from the state to come from the sale of public lands. Under its charter, the property rights and governance of the Jackson Male Academy were vested in the trustees of the College. The College offered three degrees- bachelor of arts, bachelor of philosophy, and master of arts- and had four departments: Moral Philosophy, Languages, Mathematics, and Natural Philosophy and Chemistry.

West Tennessee College continued until 1874, when at a time of depressed economic conditions, the trustees offered the College's buildings, grounds, and endowment to Tennessee Baptists in the hopes of attracting the southwestern regional university planned by the state's Baptist leaders.

Meanwhile, after years of discussion and the raising of an endowment, the Baptists of Middle Tennessee (there were three separate conventions in Tennessee at that time) in 1848 established Union University in Murfreesboro, near the geographical center of the state. Union University came upon hard times when in 1859 its highly respected president, Joseph H. Eaton, died and when during the Civil War its campus was badly damaged. It reopened in 1868 only to close again in 1873, largely because of its financial condition and an epidemic of cholera.

Southwestern Baptist University, the immediate predecessor of the present Union University, originated because of a desire by Tennessee Baptists, who still had a separate convention for each of the state's three Grand Divisions, for greater unification. Education became the core issue around which such unification was promoted. Committees of the three conventions met jointly in Humboldt in 1873 and issued a resolution supporting the establishment of a first-class regional university. An Educational Convention met in Murfreesboro in 1874, at which time a committee was appointed to select a location for the proposed university. The committee recommended the acceptance of the offer made by the citizens of Jackson to assume ownership of West Tennessee College.

In September 1874, the new Tennessee Baptist-related institution opened in Jackson, and in 1875 it was chartered as Southwestern Baptist University. In 1907, Dr. T. T. Eaton, a trustee at Southwestern from its beginning, bequeathed his 6,000 volume library to the institution. He was a former professor at the Murfreesboro campus, where his father, Dr. Joseph H. Eaton, had been president. In 1907 the name of Southwestern Baptist University was changed to Union University to honor the Eatons and others from the Murfreesboro campus who had made a major impact on Southwestern as faculty, administrators, trustees, and contributors. In a further move to unify its educational efforts, the Tennessee Baptist Convention in 1925 secured a new charter for the University in conjunction with the adoption of the Cooperative Program and clarity regarding the election of the University's trustees. Two years later, the Convention was able to consolidate Hall-Moody Junior College at Martin (1900-1927) with Union University. During the 1920s, Union discontinued its graduate program, its Law Department, and its high school and added a bachelor of music degree program.

After a major campus fire in 1912, several new buildings were constructed, including Barton Hall, the centerpiece of the Jackson campus for the next 60 years. In 1948, during the administration of President Warren F. Jones (1945-62), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Union University its original accreditation. In 1962, at the request of area healthcare leaders, Union developed a nursing program with the assistance of Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Because of an aging and landlocked campus, Union, in 1975, moved from near downtown to a new campus located along Highway 45-Bypass in north Jackson. During the administrations of President Robert Craig (1967-85) and President Hyran Barefoot (1986-1996), enrollment increased from less than 1,000 students to nearly 2,000; the multipurpose Penick Academic Complex was enlarged several times; many additional housing units were erected; and the Blasingame Academic Complex (1986) and the Hyran E. Barefoot Student Union Building (1994) were constructed.

When David S. Dockery was elected as the fifteenth president of Union University in December 1995, he brought with him a compelling vision to build on a great tradition while taking Union to the next level of regional and national prominence in Christian Higher Education. During his tenure the university grew in its commitment to the integration of faith, learning, and service, among other ways, through the establishment of a Center for Faculty Development. Undergraduate majors and graduate programs grew to include doctoral programs in education, nursing, pharmacy, and theology. The annual non-duplicating headcount increased from 2,183 (in 1996) to more than 5,300 (in 2012). Nine new buildings were constructed and a campaign for a new library was begun. In addition, the university achieved top tier recognition in U. S. News and World Report, Princeton Review, and other important listings, and the Chronicle of Higher Education named Union one of the Great Places to Work in the United States.

In June 2014, Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver became Union's sixteenth president. Coming from a distinguished career at Baylor University and a five-year presidency at East Texas Baptist University, Dr. Oliver has demonstrated a firm commitment to lead Union University to inhabit her mission and core-values. In July of 2014, a new library and a new greenhouse project were begun.

The Logos - Union's three-story, 54,000-square foot library was dedicated on November 6, 2015. A new strategic plan, United in Spirit. Grounded in Truth., 2016-2020, was adopted by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 2015. Dr. Oliver leads with energy and a Christ-centered optimism about the future.

Program accomplishments