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Lace up your bowling shoes for the Last Strike at UT’s Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center.

Students, employees, alumni, and the community are invited to visit the University Center, which has served as a central hub for activity on campus, before it closes in late May. The building will be demolished to make room for the second phase of the new Student Union, scheduled to open in 2018.

The Last Strike event will feature free bowling, billiards, table tennis, and other activities in the center’s Down Under Recreation area from Friday, April 24, through Sunday, April 26.

The first phase of the new Student Union, scheduled to open this summer, will feature the VolShop—whose current location in the University Center stays open until Saturday, May 23—and VolTech stores, campus dining, and Career Services. The second phase will include additional campus dining, event and meeting spaces, and lounges, among other features.

The University Center’s history spans more than sixty years. It opened on September 9, 1954, and was named for the deceased wife of John Scruggs Brown, a university alumnus and civic leader.

In 1967, the university completed an expansion of the building, adding a recreation center and a bookstore, which at the time was the second largest bookstore in the South.

For more than half a century, campus members and the Knoxville community have visited the building and attended thousands of events, from lectures and student performances to film viewings and concerts.

Jim Dittrich, director of the University Center, has worked in the building for twenty-seven years.

“I will miss the University Center. During its sixty-year history, the center strove to provide exceptional facilities and the highest possible level of service to the university community,” said Dittrich. “However, I am eagerly anticipating the new Student Union and the significant impact it will have on generations of students.”

Areas of the University Center will begin closing next week. Here is a timeline of the closures:

  • Down Under Recreation will close on Sunday, April 26.
  • Parking Services will close on Friday, May 1.
  • Smokey’s, Rocky Top Cafe, and Starbucks will close on Tuesday, May 5.
  • Post office, Central Ticket Office, and UCopy will close on Tuesday, May 5.
  • VolShop’s book area and VolTech will close on Friday, May 8.
  • UT Federal Credit Union will close on Friday, May 22.
  • SweetShop concessions will close on Saturday, May 23.
  • VolShop and VolSnacks will close on Saturday, May 23.


Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365,