Union to add new building for McAfee School of Business

March 19, 2021

The McAfee family has pledged a lead gift to help fund a new building for Union's McAfee School of Business. Pictured from left are Jason Garrett, dean for the McAfee School of Business; Dub Oliver, Union University president; Carolyn McAfee Bruner; Tom McAfee; and Chad Wilson, chairman of Union's Board of Trustees. (Photo by Kristi Woody)

Union University’s Faith in the Marketplace luncheon March 18 took on new excitement when Tom McAfee announced a lead gift from the McAfee family for a new academic building on the university’s Great Lawn that will house the McAfee School of Business.

Carolyn McAfee Bruner and her late husband, James T. McAfee Jr., were both Union graduates in 1961. Their son Tom (a 1994 Union graduate), chairman and president of Hallmark Systems Inc., said a new building for the McAfee School of Business would help the program better recruit, retain and educate the next generation of Christian business leaders.

“The McAfee School of Business is training business leaders not only in how to be successful in their business dealings, but they’re also instilling the importance of those leaders’ actions to operate in a Christlike manner, acting in honesty, integrity, fairness and giving back,” he said.

The 50,000-square-foot academic building on the university’s Great Lawn will also house a center for free enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship, which will likely include the engineering and computer science departments.

The building will be located between White Hall and Pleasant Plains Extension and will match the architecture and exterior appearance of the existing buildings on the Great Lawn. The interior of the facility will be built with innovation and the future of business in mind. The project is part of the campus master plan that Union trustees approved in 2019.

“We are delighted about this incredible new facility that will help Union continue to train students to think biblically about what it means to operate in the business world as Christians,” Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver said. “We are grateful that the Lord has provided this opportunity, and we look forward to seeing how he will use this building and the instruction that takes place there to transform students and prepare them for a life of service to the church and society.”

Oliver said with Union observing its bicentennial during the 2022-2023 academic year, the opening of a new academic building would be a fitting part of the celebration.

Jason Garrett, dean for the McAfee School of Business, expressed his gratitude for the McAfees and said a new building would help prepare Christian business leaders for years to come.

“Our mission is to develop leaders to fulfill their purpose in Christ and society,” Garrett said. “We see free enterprise and economic freedom inextricably linked to the teachings of Christ and as the best way to influence society for positive outcomes. We are hopeful about what the future holds for the McAfee School of Business, for Union University and for those whose lives will be changed through their interactions with our graduates.”

The current home for the McAfee School of Business is the Blasingame Academic Complex, a 32-year-old building shared with the School of Social Work and the College of Education. Construction on the new building is expected to begin sometime in 2022 after funds have been raised for the project, with a projected completion date in 2023 and a dedication during Union’s bicentennial celebration that year.

“I’m so grateful for Dr. Oliver and Dr. (Jason) Garrett’s leadership of Union and the McAfee School of Business,” Tom McAfee said in his presentation. “As a third generation Unionite, I have a deep love for this school, and over the years I’ve had a lot of opportunities to see it and see the different aspects of it. I believe that Dad would be very proud of what the McAfee School of Business is doing today.”

Anyone interested in donating to the project can contact Union’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (731) 661-5050 or email Catherine Kwasigroh, Union’s vice president for advancement. Donations can also be made online at UU.edu/Giving/McAfee.