A campus pep rally and the dedication of Heritage Plaza kicked off Homecoming 2008 with music and performances by the UTC Cheerleaders and Sugar Mocs, the UTC Marching Band. This Founder’s Day celebration also honored the date the University was established, September 15, 1886, exactly 122 years earlier.
When Old Main opened its doors, one news reporter called it “a light set upon a hill, in a literal as well as figurative sense. It is lighted throughout with gas, and when it is illuminated in the evening, it is truly a light upon a hill, a thing of real beauty.”
Chancellor Roger Brown said through conflict, mergers and name changes, “the light of higher education continued to shine in Chattanooga.” In 1969, the University of Chattanooga, Chattanooga City College, and the University of Tennessee, combined resources and commitments to bring affordable, accessible quality public higher education to our region.
“Today, UTC celebrates record enrollment in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Our graduates are achieving career distinction around the world, and our faculty members are adding to the global body of knowledge through cutting-edge research,” Brown said.
Brown thanked those who made Heritage Plaza possible through their generosity and vision. Brenda Lawson’s support allowed the plaza and pedestrian mall to be built. Other significant support for Heritage Plaza came from the Lupton Renaissance Fund, the Student Facilities Fee, and UTC supporter Bryan Patten.
“We are gathered here today to celebrate our past, present and future with the dedication of Heritage Plaza. May this site stand as testimony to the power of higher education in the lives of individuals and a community for many, many years,” Brown said.