May 25, 2024

OPINION: Remembering the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center

The Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center has been around for over 60 years but will be torn down in Spring 2015 as the new Student Union will be built in its place. In order to honor the current University Center, TNJN will be writing a series of articles about different events that have happened there, elaborating on past events held at the UC and digging deeper into its history.

Haslam Business School sits to the left.

The Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center was built in 1962, and for over 60 years, the building has provided the setting for events, guest speakers, restaurants, stores and student memories at the University of Tennessee.

Initial construction on UT’s new Student Union began on March 16, 2012, and this will be the current UC’s last year, as it will be torn down in spring 2015.

In 60 years, the UC has seen history happen as many people have passed through its halls and should be remembered as one of the most iconic buildings on campus.

To honor this building, the Tennessee Journalist will be paying tribute with a series of articles looking back into 60 years of its history.

Beginning the tribute is an event that featured six former presidential scholars who spokeon presidential communications  at the UC Auditorium  on Sept. 15, 2004.

An article written by former Daily Beacon senior staff writer John Huotari gives more information about the event, saying that these scholars previously worked with former presidents including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt.

Ultimately the scholars talked about what made these former presidents great speakers.

Greg Cumming, director of archive programs at the Nixon Library and Birthplace, spoke about Nixon’s 1969 “Silent Majority” speech, saying “it had a vital impact” because it “reached out to the middle class, was the graceful exit from Vietnam, and galvanized public opinion.”

Similarly Claudia Anderson, a supervisory archivist at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, played taped phone conversations between Johnson and former Congress members. According to Anderson, Johnson was more effective as a speaker in smaller groups.

From an actual hands on perspective, Peter Robinson, talked about being a speechwriter for Reagan from 1983-1988. Robinson spoke on writing Reagan’s famous “Berlin Wall” speech, stating that “it was the best speech he has ever written,” where he included the famous line: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

More stories looking back on the UC to follow at

Edited by Maggie Jones

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