UTC ElderScholars will meet again on Tuesday, January 13, at 1 p.m. in the Lookout Mountain Room of the UTC University Center to enjoy a presentation by Jerry Pala, who will provide a history of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Although the group is aimed at individuals 55 years or older, participation in the ElderScholars presentations is open to the public free of charge. The ElderScholars also promotes free UTC audit programs for those 60 and better.
TVA is a major part of history in East Tennessee. Created 81 years ago as part of the New Deal, TVA was created to improve navigability on the Tennessee River, provide flood control, reforest and improve marginal farm land, assist in industrial and agricultural development, assist in the creation of a government nitrate and phosphorus manufacturing facility, and provide electrical power to rural areas.
It was one of the most ambitious projects of the New Deal in its overall conception. A progressive republican senator from Nebraska, George Norris, is known as the “father” of TVA. Twice in the 1920s, he sponsored legislation to create the power provider, but the move was vetoed by Republican presidents. However, in 1933 under Democratic control, President Franklin Roosevelt made it part of his New Deal program.
The concept of government-owned power plants selling to publicly owned distribution utilities was controversial and remains so today. Then, as now, however, most people have come to realize that the economic benefits of these arrangements, when properly regulated, are immense. TVA changed the lives of millions of people in the Tennessee Valley and continues as a shining legacy of the New Deal.
Jerry Pala is a retired business manager from Signal Mountain. He moved from Illinois 25 years ago to manage the pulp business of Southern Cellulose Products in Chattanooga.
He received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and executive MBA from Louisiana State University. He is a U.S. Army veteran and served in combat infantry in Vietnam. He is a member of the Signal Mountain Lions club; he has served as club president and Lions district governor. He is a founding member of the Signal Mountain Military History group and of the Lions Senior Speakers Bureau.
Seniors in the greater Chattanooga area are invited to join ElderScholars and engage in academic, social and cultural experiences on the UTC campus. ElderScholars plan interesting, entertaining and useful session programs and more.