Dockery to transition to chancellor of Union U
Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 6:00 pm
The Messenger 02.06.13
David S. Dockery will transition from president of Union University in Jackson to the role of university chancellor no later than July 2014, and Union trustees have begun the process of searching for his successor as president.
“I am hopeful and prayerful for a good, smooth, joyful and positive transition,” Dockery said. “God has blessed the work of our hands and manifested his favor to this university time and time again during these past 17 years. I am confident that we will continue to see God’s grace made known to Union in the future.”
The announcement came in the middle of what will ultimately be a three-year transition process. Dockery began talking with the executive committee of Union’s Board of Trustees in the fall of 2011 about the need to start serious succession planning for the university’s future, at which the board approved a five-member succession planning team. Dockery said discussions with that team and with other members of the board have taken place regularly since then.
Union trustees will appoint a search committee in the near future and will retain the services of an executive search firm to provide counsel in the transition process. As chancellor, Dockery will continue to serve Union as an adviser for the board and the new president for the next several years.
“David S. Dockery’s accomplishments at Union University are unsurpassed,” said Norman Hill, chairman of Union’s Board of Trustees. “Although much of his work is visible in the form of buildings and numbers, his greater work is in the hearts and minds of the thousands of students and myriads of others that he and his administration have influenced through the years. He has had Union’s best interest at heart in everything he has done as president for the past 17 years.
“With this decision he is once again taking care of the institution by initiating a transition process at a time that he has deemed appropriate for the institution and his family. We praise God for David and Lanese Dockery and believe the Lord still has much to accomplish through this beloved couple at Union University.”
At the time of his transition in 2014, Dockery will have served as Union’s president for 181⁄2 years, approximating the tenure of president Robert E. Craig as the longest in Union’s history. The list of Dockery’s accomplishments over that period is lengthy.
Under his leadership, following 15 straight years of enrollment increase, Union has more than doubled in size, growing from a fall enrollment of 1,972 to 4,262 in 2012. Donors have increased from 1,600 to 6,000 annually.
The budget has expanded from $18 million to more than $90 million per year. The university’s net assets have grown from less than $40 million to more than $110 million.
Early in his tenure, the university adopted a set of four core values: Excellence-Driven, Christ-Centered, People-Focused, Future-Directed. They have provided the framework for the work of Union over the past 17 years.
He developed five key strategic plans that have guided the university’s work during his tenure.
His administration presided over major development of the campus, as well as added campuses in Germantown, Henderson-ville and the Olford Center in Memphis.
The school’s athletics program transitioned from NAIA to NCAA Division II candidacy.
Academically under his leadership, Union launched the School of Pharmacy, School of Theology and Missions and the Institute for International and Inter-cultural Studies, in addition to new undergraduate programs in engineering, social work, graphic design, ethics, political science, athletic training and organizational leadership, among others. The university also began about a dozen master’s degree programs and five doctoral programs in intercultural studies, theology and missions, education, social work, nursing and pharmacy.
Dockery guided a major institutional rebuilding made necessary by a tornado that struck Union’s campus on Feb. 5, 2008, causing about $40 million in damage and leveling most of the university’s student housing. Dozens of students were trapped inside collapsed buildings as rescuers worked for hours to free them. Several sustained serious injuries, but no one died.
Though plunged into immediate uncertainty about the university’s future, Dockery led Union through a rebuilding process in which thousands of donors and volunteers came to Union’s aid.