As part of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Homecoming Week 2022 festivities, a UTC Divine Nine Heritage Park progress reveal was held on Friday, Sept. 16.
The update, which featured remarks from UTC Chancellor Steven Angle and Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Yancy Freeman, was held at the on-campus intersection of Vine Street and Terrell Owens Way—the spot of the future park.
Student participants in the progress reveal included Akiya Brown, president of the NPHC at UTC, and the Littleton H. Mason singers.
“Divine Nine” refers to the nine historically African-American fraternities and sororities in the U.S. In 1971, just two years after UTC was formed through a merger of the University of Chattanooga and Chattanooga City College and affiliation of the resulting institution with the UT system, those organizations began establishing chapters at UTC. They are members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), their national governing and coordinating council.
Eight of the “Divine Nine” now have chapters at UTC. In late October 2021, a ceremony announcing the creation of the park was held.
“As you can tell, we’ve started the construction process for UTC Divine Nine Heritage Park,” Freeman told the crowd. “I almost want to act like I’m in church and say, ‘We need to give a hand clap of praise for getting to this point because it has been something to get here. After weeks of meetings, renderings and redrawing of renderings and gaining multi-level approvals, we are finally, finally here.”
Freeman acknowledged that supply chain issues and rising interest rates have caused significant increases in the cost of the project, but “We are not deterred.”
“Our students and the legacy of leadership since 1971 provides the simple answer to why this park is so special,” he said. “Our campus is a better place because of the NPHC members and their contribution to the student experience. So it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.”
When completed, the UTC Divine Nine Heritage Park plaza will include pedestals with plaques commemorating the NPHC Greek-letter fraternities and sororities and cast-in-place concrete benches with stone veneer.