Along with being a talented clarinetist, Booker T. Scruggs was an adjunct professor of sociology at UTC from 1969 until his death on Monday.

Booker T. Scruggs, a longtime member of the UTC community and the Chattanooga music world, died Monday. He was 74.

He fell ill on Sunday while playing with the Booker T. Scruggs Ensemble at St. Luke United Methodist Church and passed away in Memorial Hospital

Along with being a talented clarinetist, Booker T. Scruggs was an adjunct professor of sociology at UTC from 1969 until his death on Monday.Scruggs was an adjunct professor of sociology in the Department of Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies from 1969 until his death.

A talented clarinetist, he released many albums and played in several groups over the years. He has performed at dozens of jazz and gospel events in the Chattanooga area as well as performances across the U.S. and in Europe.

He was a 1960 graduate of Howard High School and was one of the Howard students who staged sit-ins at lunch counters around Chattanooga that same year.

“Booker T. Scruggs was dedicated to education and social justice,” says Dr. Pamela Ashmore, department head and professor of biological anthropology in Social, Cultural, and Justice Studies.

Several people have left comments on his Facebook page.

  • “Rest and take your place with the great musicians. Chattanooga is a better place because of you.”
  • “You were loved by many people and you will be in our hearts forever.”
  • “A class act and role model I’ll always admire.”

In 2006, Scruggs retired as director of Upward Bound at UTC after working with it for 36 years. The federally funded program helps high school students from low-income families prepare for college with the goal of increasing the number of students who graduate from high school then enroll in college.

From 1970 until 2016, Scruggs also was producer and host of “Point of View,” a local public affairs broadcast that is the longest-running, locally-produced TV show in the world.

Among his many awards were:

  • The Local Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Negro Musicians Inc.
  • The M.L. King Jr., Birthday Celebration Community Service Award from The Unity Group.
  • Inducted into the African American Educators Hall of Fame by Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  • Lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Information about funeral services will be shared with the UTC community when they are available.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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1 Comment » for Longtime UTC professor, musician Booker T. Scruggs dies
  1. Jimmie Ovington says:

    God loaned this Giant among men to our community for a while. He was an Icon and his influence and talent plus strong faith in God will be so missed. He was loved by all who knew him. I met him during his tenure at UTC and so enjoyed hearing his music. I interacted with him a few days before he passed. So blessed to have known this gentle giant. Gone too soon but playing for the Angels, now.