By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
A fountain is bubbling and new tables and chairs invite visitors to hang out at the Student Government Association Student Park, newly dedicated in honor of Dr. Roger Brown, chancellor emeritus, and his late wife, Dr. Carolyn Thompson.
During Brown’s tenure as Chancellor, the UTC campus experienced physical growth—more than $100 million was invested in construction and capital projects. The ARC recreation and aquatics center opened and ground was broken on the new state-of-the-art library. More than $81 million was raised in private donations and research funding to support scholarships, professors, academic programs, and athletics.
Thompson maintained close relationships with a variety of student groups, including the Chancellor’s Ambassadors—a group which she helped form—the University Honors students, the Student Government Association, and varsity athletes.
“While at UTC, Drs. Roger Brown and Carolyn Thompson both modeled the notion of leadership through service and constantly held the well-being of students near and dear to their hearts,” Robert Fisher, UTC SGA President, said.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff groups were welcomed into the Chancellor’s Lookout Mountain home on many occasions. Whether their schedules included hosted donors, elected officials, and faculty and staff leaders, Brown and Thompson invited students to the Chancellor’s Residence. Some of their fondest memories were of holiday parties with students decorating their holiday tree.
“Carolyn took the greatest pleasure in any part of the privilege we had of serving this campus with meeting students, having them at the house, and…I never really knew what was going to happen,” Brown confided. “When the students would come to either have a picnic on the lawn or decorate the Christmas tree, the next time I looked around Carolyn would be wearing reindeer antlers that were flashing lights and so it was as big a surprise to me as all of you what she would say or do…This is a great, great honor for the two of us. Every time I come back to this beautiful campus I will see a little bit of my dear wife and I will feel a little bit of ownership.”