Jul 23, 2021
Welcome, Dr. David Dockery, to this episode of the podcast! David is a good friend of mine, and I first met him when he was President of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, and since then, David has served as President of Trinity International University and is currently at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in a number of different roles.
David is a wealth of information, and there is so much that I could talk to him about, but in this episode of Next Gen Nonprofit Leadership, I talk to him about a devastating natural disaster that hit the grounds of Union University while he was President there. On the evening of February 5, 2008, an EF4 tornado ripped through the heart of the Union University campus, causing massive damage to several academic buildings and completely leveling many student housing facilities – a grand total of 45 million dollars worth of damage.
David walks us through where he was when it happened and describes the situation. He reveals that 53 students were injured – nine of whom were critically injured – but that there were fortunately no fatalities. He also reflects on how he felt immediately after the tornado hit and how horrifying it was having twelve students trapped underneath a fallen wall for several hours, having no way of knowing if they were all alive.
David also shares what the aftermath was like, both the night of and the weeks that followed. He discusses touching base with the Board, whom he credits as having been instrumental in the university's incredibly fast rebound, which might have even been record time. The semester resumed in two weeks, and the campus was fully operational again by September! David closes by offering advice both to leaders and board members about what to do to prepare for such a possible disaster. Most of us probably think that these types of things are one-in-a-million and aren't going to happen to us – that is until it does happen to us and it's now too late.
I am so grateful to David both for his friendship and his willingness to relive this disaster by sharing the story on the podcast. As I said, it's so important to be prepared just in case something like this happens, and I hope to have David on again in the future as there is so much that we could talk about! Join me next time, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button so that you never miss an episode! I also encourage you to share the podcast with a friend who would also be likely to get something out of it!
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