JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — A $10 million lead gift by the Bill and Carol Latimer Foundation is the largest cash gift in Union University’s history and will provide funding for a new 60,000-square-foot library on the Union campus.
Union University President David S. Dockery announced the gift Oct. 3 at the 2011 Scholarship Banquet with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
“It is hard to describe the significance of this gift at this time in the life of the university,” Dockery said. “Union’s academic stature has never been greater. This gift, however, will enable the entire university and all of its programs to take another step forward because a library is the intellectual, cultural and academic center of the campus.”
Dockery also announced a capital campaign to raise an additional $10 million for the library toward the overall goal of $20 million. The gift from the Latimers, of Union City, Tenn., will match every dollar given up to $10 million. Dockery said Union has already raised $4.4 million of that goal in gifts and pledges.
All gifts and pledges made by December 2012 and given before December 2014 will be matched by the Bill and Carol Latimer Foundation in support of the library project.
Dockery expressed gratitude for the Latimers, who were in attendance at the banquet, as were all of the foundation board members.
The new three-story library will be located between Jennings Hall and Miller Tower and will be more than twice the size of Union’s current library, housed in the Penick Academic Complex. The facility will expand the capacity for new holdings and will serve as a complete academic resource center to serve the research and resource needs of a 21st century academic community, Dockery said.
Designed by TLM Associates in Jackson, the library building will have an open feel with numerous large windows for external lighting. It will be capped by a large dome.
The first floor will contain seminar rooms, group study and collaborative study rooms, a reception area and auditorium. The second floor will house an expanded space for technology, offices and classrooms. The third floor will include archives and a heritage room.
“Being able to provide a facility like this one — equipped for 21st century educational needs — for our students and faculty will advance the university’s mission in unprecedented ways,” Dockery said.
Construction is expected to begin by the middle of 2012, with an estimated completion date by early 2014.
Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.