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Special Events Will Mark Opening of U of M's New University Center University News
For release: March 5, 2010

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis will mark the opening of the long-anticipated new University Center with special events on Monday, March 15, when the building officially opens. Other celebratory events are scheduled throughout that week.

New UC

Monday’s activities will include a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting at the main entrance on the west side of the building. Participants will include U of M President Shirley Raines, Vice President for Student Affairs Rosie Phillips Bingham, and Student Government Association President James Johnson. Music will be provided by the Graduate Brass Quintet, and Pouncer, the U of M mascot, will mingle with guests in the atrium for refreshments following the ribbon-cutting.

The rest of the day will feature the opening of Tiger Dining’s Union Food Court, plus music and entertainment of various types, and from 4 to 6 p.m., the general public is invited to tour the building.

Capping the day-long celebration will be “UnloCked,” a 6-10 p.m. presentation of music, food, games, comedy, and entertainment on all three levels of the building, sponsored by the U of M Student Activities Council.

Tiger Dining will sponsor an appearance by The King of Burger King on Wednesday, March 17.

For two weeks following the grand opening, students, faculty, and staff can play “UCopoly,” a take-off on the popular board game of a similar name, with a map of the new UC as the game board. When players visit sites within the UC, they will have their playing pieces stamped. After completed forms are turned in, a drawing will award various prizes, including free on-campus parking for a semester, a free meal plan for the fall 2010 semester, and a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Other events will include a “25 cent doughnut” special all day Tuesday at the UC’s Dunkin Donut outlet, a “Tiger Ice Brain Freeze” contest on Thursday, “Free Fountain Friday” for a free drink with any meal purchase, and faculty/staff appreciation throughout the week, which will give out free Community Coffee mugs, good for a free cup of coffee.

The building’s importance to the campus was stressed by Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, vice president for Student Affairs, who said, “We are very proud of this new University Center. Its opening is the culmination of a labor of love from so many people who love the students at the University, from Student Affairs to Business and Finance to the Tennessee Board of Regents. They know that our students have been without a student center for a long time, and the opening of this new building signifies a return to the idea of students as the central element of our campus. With its completion, our students take center stage, and the campus has a wonderful gathering place to build community among students, faculty, staff, and the Memphis community.”

Quick Facts –

The New University Center at the University of Memphis


In March 2010, the University of Memphis celebrates the grand opening of the new University Center (UC), a 169,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that is the central gathering space for students, faculty and staff. Located in the heart of campus, on the site of the U of M’s previous UC, the new $50,000,000 building was designed with input from former and current students.


The new UC features a wide range of student, faculty and staff-centric amenities, including:

· An impressive Union Food Court with several ‘concept’ areas, such as a Burger King Whopper Bar, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Miso Sushi and Asian, Bistro 1912, Topio’s classic pizza, specialty sandwiches, a ‘grab-and-go’ area and a stand-alone Tigers of Memphis restaurant.

· Offices for student organizations and Greek chapters, as well as offices for Minority Affairs, Dean of Students, Judicial and Ethical Programs, Student Government Association, Student Leadership, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Dining and Catering Services, and UC/Rose Theatre staff and administration.

· The Technology Hub, a 24-hour computer lab with work stations for 200 users, as well as a United States Post Office and copy center.

· A Ballroom that will seat up to 1,000, a separate theater, and a variety of meeting and conference rooms, all of which are available to the public for a fee.

· At three-story atrium and several lounge areas.


The new UC represents the largest capital project in the history of the University of Memphis that did not require state funding. The UC is designated a ‘student recreational building’ and was paid for by student fees only – no tax or tuition dollars were used. Every full-time student is charged a $96 student debt fee per semester, which will pay off 30-year bonds that financed construction. This funding structure is a common practice among colleges and universities throughout the country, as well as with Tennessee Board of Regents higher education institutions and the institutions that make up the University of Tennessee system.

Construction Partners

The designers of the facility were Haizlip Studio and Fisher & Arnold. The general contractor for the project was Inman Construction.

Video: See the ribbon cutting

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