An energetic crowd of UTC students, alumni, faculty, staff and community supporters enjoyed the March 1st launch of the 125th anniversary of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Under the direction of Dr. Stuart Benkert, the UTC Marching Band played “Happy Birthday” and “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” as an enormous confection fashioned in the shape of Old Main was unveiled for the crowd to admire. UTC Cheerleaders and Sugar Mocs also joined in the fun.
Chancellor Roger Brown said of the major institutions and companies in Chattanooga, only UTC, several churches, the local newspaper, and a few businesses have reached this milestone.
“A university is not the brick and mortar that hold the classrooms and labs. A university is people—faculty members who value their roles as teaching scholars—mentors to young minds and eager learners; administrators and staff members who support students in their endeavors; students who come to live and learn and alumni and friends, who carry on the traditions of the past and lead us into the future,” Brown said.
Brown introduced the co-chairs of the 125th anniversary, his wife, Dr. Carolyn Thompson and Kari Oldham, wife of UTC Provost Phil Oldham.
Brown said an important element of the 125th anniversary will be a celebration of African American achievement, to coincide with UT Knoxville’s 50th anniversary of desegregation.
“Our campus has a rich heritage of African American achievement, and we look forward to a series of events highlighting this significant part of our heritage,” Brown said.
Brown closed with a reading from the first Matriculation Day on September 15, 1886 with the words of Dr. Richard Rust, representing the Freedmen’s Aid Society.
“In his address to the new students and faculty of Chattanooga University, Dr. Rust said, ‘This is called a university. We have named the child ahead. We call it Chattanooga University, not for any individual, but for a young, thriving, enterprising, zealous city. And let us hope that the same zeal and energy that had made the city for which it is named, will also make this institution a thriving, energetic and zealous power in the cause of education.’
“Our city is still thriving, enterprising, and zealous, and so is our campus. We achieve great accomplishments here every day, and I thank each of you for your contributions. We aren’t finished yet. Together, we shall achieve,” Brown said.