(Above) Area around the Chamberlain Pavilion is part of an effort to provide more open gathering spaces on campus. Photo by Synthia Clark
Day 5: UT Chattanooga
Established in 1886 as Chattanooga University
Colleges: Arts & Sciences; Business; Engineering & Computer Science; Health, Education & Professional Studies; Graduate School
Alumni living in Tennessee: 33,939
Did you know?
Undergraduate enrollment at UT Chattanooga has increased 14 percent over the last five years with a record enrollment for 2013 at 11,674.
The revitalization of Chattanooga’s downtown started with a wild idea to build the Tennessee Aquarium by the downtown riverfront more than 20 years ago. Alumni of two different eras characterized Chattanooga as a city that promotes the entrepreneurial spirit. UTC has helped fuel the energy and benefit from it as well. Jerry Harris recalls there was nothing to keep graduates in town in the 1960s when he graduated from the then-University of Chattanooga as a football All-American. “Today, they are more likely to stay,” he says. “It’s the reason the university is growing so fast.” Agreed, says David Martin, a more recent graduate. “UTC is unique because of the Chattanooga setting,” he says. “Chattanooga is a great incubator for ideas.”
The Challenger STEM Learning Center, which opened in 1994, was the first center integrated with a university campus. A network of centers operate across the U.S., Great Britain, South Korea and Canada as living memorials to the Challenger Space Shuttle that exploded in 1986 and killed all on board, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe. The center was located in Chattanooga thanks to June Scobee Rodgers, widow of the shuttle commander Dick Scobee, city resident and founding chairman of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. About 150,000 students have visited the center on campus. “All of our programs are based on true science,” says center director Perry Storey (Chattanooga ’77, ’83).
Visit UTC today to see the transformation to a more visually unified campus with green space and gathering areas for students. In the middle of it all is the new library expected to be open in spring 2015. The new library will be about a third larger than the current library, as it is intended to be the ultimate gathering place on campus. “It was designed with the student in mind,” says libraries dean Theresa Liedtka, who exudes excitement as she leads a tour throughout the building. “It will be the most wired building on campus.” Writing, advising, tutoring and computer help will be included in a visit to check out books. And just a few steps away is the not-your-father’s College of Business, complete with a new Bloomberg Lab that provides students with real-time market data.