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Village Plans are Strategic Move to Enrich the Sewanee Experience

November 8, 2017

Village renderings

As a result of the 2010 campus master plan and as part of the Enriching the Sewanee Experience pillar of the Stronger Truer Sewanee campaign, administrators are paying close attention to the campus infrastructure. It is their belief that improving certain parts of the campus with an eye toward placemaking will support admissions, advancement, and recruitment of faculty and staff. Some of the initiatives funded through the campaign have included new residence halls, the Sewanee Inn, and enhancements to athletic facilities. Funding for the new Wellness and Recreation Commons is in progress. The next phase is revitalization of the Village.

Placemaking Donors

Donors who have made a gift to Sewanee for the purpose of Enriching the Sewanee Experience include Terrell Harrigan, P’15, and Elliott Harrigan, C’78, P’15, and a member of Sewanee’s Board of Regents. The Harrigans have been what Harrigan himself calls early adopters on projects that might be broadly considered placemaking. They contributed generously to the Sewanee Inn and have helped purchase key furnishings that add to the Inn’s function and beauty.

Over the summer, the University unveiled a new series of signs based on the latest theories of wayfinding in a project the Harrigans helped fund. They have helped support campus master planning and are now helping the University enhance its online presence through the Sewanee website.

“When John McCardell first became vice-chancellor, I told him that we wanted to help him jumpstart important initiatives that would strategically help the University,” says Harrigan. Harrigan was particularly interested in the University’s plans for either end of University Avenue. “The Inn and Village are the two front doors to our community, and they are where we make a first impression on people who do not know us, including potential students and faculty.” “Perception is reality,” says Harrigan. “We transformed the Inn. Now it is time to think about the other front door.”

Five Projects in Five Years

The Village master plan is really a long term project,” says Frank Gladu, special assistant to the vice-chancellor for Village planning. “Our ultimate goal is to attract developers to the project—people who see a great opportunity to invest in a great small town with a superb college and campus. To do that, our task is to create some enabling infrastructure—a kind of palette on which development can occur.”

Gladu’s short-term goal, informed by the extensive work of consultants, charettes with the local community, and public officials, is to complete five projects in five years:

  • A revised intersection where University Avenue and Highway 41A meet that will calm traffic and create pedestrian-friendly (and commerce-friendly) space.
  • A Village Green to serve as a focal point for social activities in the downtown village.
  • A full-service food market, perhaps building on local food suppliers but at the very least serving most needs of household kitchens.
  • New housing, including multifamily residential units (rental and condiminium) for visiting professors, seminarians, single faculty, and smaller families.
  • A bookstore that both serves students’ textbook needs as well as commercial books.

How can you make an impact?

For alumni and friends of the University, the Stronger Truer Sewanee campaign represents an historic opportunity to shape the future of the University, the seminary, and the greater Sewanee area. The Village project is a key activity in the campaign. 

Several naming opportunities are available related to the bookstore project, starting at $50,000. Please contact for information. In addition, the following naming opportunities are in place for Village enhancements.

  • Civic Plaza: $250,000
  • Village Green: $500,000
  • “Main Street,” the village portion of Sollace Freeman Parkway (Highway 41A): $500,000

Recognition Opportunities

Donors will be publicly recognized on a downtown plaque for gifts at $10,000 or above. For more information on the Village project, please visit the village project website. The project’s implementation plan can be found under resources.

If you are interested in a gift that goes beyond current-use dollars, named endowed internship funds begin at the $100,000 level. Named endowed scholarship funds begin at the $150,000 level for the College and $75,000 for the School of Theology.