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“The first 36 hours were the most challenging 36 hours of my life,” Dockery said about the disaster. “My theology about angels and my theology about the providence of God carried me through that first 36 hours. I have a deep sense of God’s providence. It moved from theoretical to reality. It was all we had to hold on to.”
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.
“Out of the rubble across this campus I am praying that we will see renewal,” Dockery said during that time. “We lost the buildings, but we did not lose the Union spirit.”
Other achievements by Dockery during his administration include:
►beginning Union’s annual Scholarship Banquet, which has brought such influential national and international leaders as George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Laura Bush and Colin Powell and raised about $5.5 million for student scholarships.
►starting the Union Forum luncheon lecture series, with speakers including Fred Barnes, Bill Kristol, Clarence Page, Ross Douthat, Norah O’Donnell, Margaret Carlson, David Brooks, Robert P. George, Stephen Carter and several others.
►establishment of the Hundley Center, Vocatio Center, Office of Disability Services and Office of Student Success.
►moving from a second-tier ranking in the regional college division of the U.S. News & World Report annual college rankings to a top-tier recognition among the regional universities in the South (Union ranked 14th in the South in 2012).
►recognition of Union by “First Things” as one of the top 12 Protestant institutions in the country.
►selection of Union by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the best universities to work for in the nation.
A prolific author and editor, Dockery has written or edited several major books on Christian higher education and Baptist history and heritage, including Renewing Minds, Shaping a Christian Worldview, Faith and Learning, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking, Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal and “Southern Baptist Identity,” among others.
He served as chairman of the board for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, as well as serving on the board for Christianity Today International and Prison Fellowship. Dockery was a member of four recent committees and task force teams in the Southern Baptist Convention, and has spoken at major conferences and lectureships at dozens of churches, state conventions, colleges, churches and seminaries.
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