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Union College (Nebraska)

Union College (Nebraska)

For other institutions of this name, see the Union College disambiguation page.

Union College is a four-year coeducational college in Lincoln, Nebraska, offering programs leading to baccalaureate and associate degrees in arts and sciences, professional fields and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies. Founded in 1891, the college is owned and operated by the Mid-America Union Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

History

By 1889, several Seventh-day Adventist conferences (local-level organizational structures) had begun setting up small higher-educational institutions modeled after Battle Creek College in Battle Creek, Michigan, which later became Andrews University. In the western Midwest and Great Plains, Adventists in Kansas and Minnesota were trying to independently support schools. W. W. Prescott, then educational secretary for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and later Union's first president, presented a plan of uniting conferences to support centralized schools rather than supporting schools individually. This system led to the introduction of the Union Conference administrative level of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and gave the college its name, Union.

A committee was appointed to locate the school and was presented with offers from many communities in the region. Because the Lincoln chamber of commerce offered a particularly attractive proposal, including free land and the promise of an electric trolley line, the committee chose a site just south east of Lincoln and began the construction of three large buildings. Even before the college was open, a community had sprung up around the campus. The Village of College View was incorporated in 1892 with 1,000 residents and was annexed by the City of Lincoln in 1929.

The college opened with an ecumenical ceremony on September 24, 1891 and classes began on September 30, for the 73 students enrolled. Union originally offered courses of study taught in English, German, Danish and Swedish. Tuition was set at $73 per month and students were expected to work one hour every day to further defray expenses.

In 1906, the college began a tradition of hanging a gold-colored cord from a representation of the college to a location on a world map for each student and alumnus who has served as a missionary abroad. Over 1,900 such cords have been hung at annual ceremonies since then. In Adventist circles, Union is often known as, "the college of the golden cords."

In 1981, Union's students, faculty, and staff began publishing a quarterly devotional called Collegiate Quarterly. The publication's readership spread beyond Union to the campuses of other Adventist colleges and universities in North America. By 1987 Collegiate Quarterly had become so popular that the General Conference took over production. Today the publication, known as CQ, is the official young adult Bible study guide of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Around 1982, Union College was one of the earliest schools in the United States to install computer terminals in each of the dorm rooms. While they were mainframe workstations, they were the first natural step in making distributed computing available for students' dorm rooms.

In July 1988, Union's public radio station KUCV/90.9 FM MHz was relocated to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). Union's transmitter and antenna were moved to a site in Hallam, Nebraska. The new station at UNL became KUCV/91.1 FM MHz, part of the NET Radio system, retaining the "UCV" in the callsign which stood for "Union College Voice." These letters are still part of the station's callsign today.

Academics

Union College offers more than 50 majors and allows students to work with advisors to create personalized degrees. Though many of the programs offered are pre-professional, the college maintains a liberal arts atmosphere and emphasizes communications skills in all fields. The international rescue and relief major is the only bachelors program of its kind in the United States.

The faculty prioritize their teaching duties over research and the college does not foster a "publish or perish" environment. Many faculty do attend conferences and present papers in their specific fields. The student-teacher ratio for the 2005-2006 academic year was 12.71:1, the average class size was 15.82 and 46 percent of the full-time faculty had doctoral degrees.

Service to community

Union College has become known for the spirit of volunteerism fostered on its campus.

  • Project Impact, an annual community service event, attracts over 80 percent of the college's students and employees. Volunteers work with about 50 nonprofit organizations in the Lincoln area, cleaning, painting, organizing and assisting in any way asked. Since 1981, 14,400 Union College students and employees have shared 96,000 volunteer hours.
  • Students organize a wide range of volunteer opportunities each weekend, which result in more than 1,600 hours of volunteer service each school year. These include working at soup kitchens, caring for underprivileged children, and foot clinics for the homeless.
  • Each school year begins with administrators, faculty and alumni carrying boxes and furniture for new students during a dormitory move-in event.
  • Most of Union College's fields of study integrate community service as a component of the major. For example, all English majors spend at least one semester tutoring in the Studio for Writers and Speakers on campus. Students who have completed the fall individual taxation class are provided an opportunity to help immigrant and low-income taxpayers complete their tax returns as part of the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) program. Physician assistant students provide health screenings at sites throughout the city. Of particular note is the international rescue and relief major. The only program of its kind in the United States, students learn emergency rescue skills and humanitarian logistics in preparation for medical school or careers in foreign aid organizations, fire, rescue and emergency services, and public health.
  • Nearly 10 percent of Union College students take at least one year out of college to be a student volunteer in a foreign country. These volunteers choose from a wide array of options, including teaching English as a Foreign Language in East Asia and Eastern Europe, teaching elementary school in the South Pacific and medical work in Africa and Papua New Guinea.

Athletics

Union College does not belong to any athletic organizations or divisions. However, there are varsity teams in basketball (men's and women's), volleyball (women's) and golf (men's) which compete against other independent colleges in the American Midwest. The teams are known as the Warriors and wear the school colors, red and black.

In addition to varsity athletics, Union has a soccer club that competes in a local league and an acrosport gymnastics team, the Gymnaires, that travels extensively.

An extensive intramural program offers all students who wish to compete the opportunity to enjoy team sports.

Points of interest

  • Joshua C. Turner Arboretum
  • Though only seven stories, the roof of W. W. Prescott Hall at Union College is the highest point in Lincoln because of the college's location on Peanut Hill.
  • The clock tower, completed in 1971, is a 100-foot steel tower standing in the center of campus. In addition to its function as a landmark and clock, the tower is equipped with carillon chimes that can be heard on campus and in the surrounding neighborhood.
  • The College View Seventh-day Adventist Church, rebuilt in 1978, features an Austrian-built Rieger Organ known as the Thunderbird. Stained glass murals depict scenes from Judeo-Christian tradition involving the sacrificial system, beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve to the second advent of Christ.

Slinga de Ink

The school pep song is memorable and frequently sung at Associated Student Body activities and alumni gatherings. Introduced by a student in 1924, it is based on a song of the same name from Coe College in Iowa which in turn was based on a University of Michigan Glee Club song, "I Want to Go Back to Michigan." Portions of the tune are also used in the fight songs of Ohio State University and the University of California. At Union College, "Slinga De Ink" is usually accompanied with stomping or clapping.

Verse:
I want to go back to Union again the college in the west,
Back to old South Hall once more the chapel and the old bookstore.
I want to go back to Union again the college I love best,
I wanta go back, I gotta go back to Union again.

Chorus:
At Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska,
We slinga de ink and pusha de pen along,
At Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska,
We slinga de ink and pusha de pen along.

Slinga de ink, Slinga de ink,
pusha de pen, pusha de pen,
Slinga de ink and pusha de pen along,
At Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska,
We slinga de ink and pusha de pen along.

Notable Alumni

See also

References

External links

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