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Union College President Dr. Marcia Hawkins Announces Retirement

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Dr. Marcia Hawkins - Union College

After more than a decade of leadership, Union College President Marcia Hawkins has announced her intention to retire at the conclusion of the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year. In the announcement made Wednesday to faculty and staff, Dr. Hawkins expressed gratitude to her colleagues for their partnership in prioritizing student success.

“Union is a community of dedicated faculty and staff who love our mission and our students, and it is a privilege to serve beside them. No matter what challenges we face, we rejoice in the intellectual and emotional growth we nurture in our students over the time they spend here. I think about that every Commencement season when I remember what our graduates were like when they first came to campus. I think about it when we welcome incoming students at orientation and wonder what impact their Union experience will make on their future success.”

As the first female president of Union College and one of the longest-serving current college presidents in Kentucky, Dr. Hawkins assumed the role of the 19th president of Union College on July 1, 2012. Under her leadership, Dr. Hawkins led the college through a series of strategic initiatives including expansion of academic programming, particularly in graduate and online studies.

Dr. Hawkins introduced programs like UGRAD and UCE to attract students and increase their success rates. Additionally, her tenure saw the establishment of the Ramsey Center for Health and Natural Sciences, equipped with modern classrooms and laboratories, and the launch of the Edna Jenkins Mann School of Nursing.

The acquisition of the Stivers Aquatic Center, orchestrated by Dr. Hawkins, led to the grand opening of the Union College Center for Health and Learning. This facility also houses the Union College Boys & Girls Club, a program launched by Dr. Hawkins, providing after-school and summer programming for children in Knox County.


Dr. Hawkins has also significantly contributed to higher education beyond the campus throughout her tenure at Union. She has served as Vice-Chair of SACSCOC and on the executive committee and Board of SACSCOC. Additionally, she held the presidency of the North American Association of Methodist Schools Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian Colleges Association.


Dr. Hawkins will continue in her role through June 30, 2024. The Union College Board will establish a timeline and process for appointment of Union’s 20th president.

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