Union College President Marcia Hawkins announced Monday the southeastern Kentucky institution will light up the night this fall as lights will be installed at Burch-Nau Field, home of the Bulldog football and soccer teams.
Thanks to a generous gift from Martin Williamson of Charlottesville, Va., Union now has secured the funds needed to install lights. In recognition of this gift to light Burch-Nau field, Union Stadium will be named for Williamson Family.
“Martin (Williamson) has already given a significant gift for the lights and made this additional pledge to light Burch-Nau Field,” said Hawkins.
“We had hoped to light all fields at the same time, but Martin’s gift gives us an opportunity to get the project started,” Hawkins continued. “We will continue to pursue gifts and grants for lights to make all our fields accessible for night games, evening practices, tournaments and other outdoor events.”
Musco Lighting has been contracted to install the lights and will be on campus this week. The installation should be completed within five weeks.
The first night football game at newly renamed Burch-Nau Field at Williamson Stadium will be the “Battle for the Brass Lantern” on Sept. 20 as Union will host University of the Cumberlands in Mid-South Conference East football action. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“This is a great start to (our lighting) project, and we look forward to hosting the ‘Battle for the Brass Lantern’ versus the University of the Cumberlands under the lights on September 20,” said Union Director of Athletics Tim Curry. “We are very excited about getting this project underway and the benefits that lights will provide to our coaches and student-athletes.”
Curry continued by saying, “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of all those involved with getting this project underway, and especially, to Martin Williamson who recent gift made lights at Burch-Nau Field a reality.”
Despite being a graduate of the University of Virginia, Williamson is a huge fan of Bulldog athletics and has strong family ties to the college. His father Cecil, who was raised in Dewitt, Ky., graduated from Union in 1939 and was a career naval officer. Throughout his career, the elder Williamson had command of four Navy ships, served in the Office of Chief Naval Operations as the Director of Navy Personnel Research Lab and received numerous awards and commendations, including: Joint Service Commendation Medal, American Defense Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Two Battle Stars, Victory Medal WWII and National Defense Service Medal. Cecil Williamson completed 27 years of active service and retired on July 1, 1968, only to be called back to active duty immediately by the Secretary of the Navy to continue to serve as the Director of Navy Personnel Research Lab.
In all, Martin Williamson has six family members who attended Union with four graduating.
In addition to the Sept. 20 game against Cumberlands, the Union football team will play a night game against Bluefield (Va.) College on Oct. 18, which is also the school’s homecoming.
The Union men’s and women’s soccer teams will also have night games this fall, but the exact dates and times have yet to be determined.