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Commons and village to promote joyful common life

October 14, 2016

Stronger Truer Sewanee has already enhanced the Sewanee community through upgraded athletic facilities, new residence halls, a magnificent Sewanee Inn, and projects exemplified by the story below. During the remainder of the campaign, we will raise new resources for a University Wellness Commons, the University Avenue Corridor, and the Sewanee Village to deliver the Sewanee Experience


Visitors to the Sewanee campus have already noticed significant changes to the physical reality of the campus, made possible by gifts to the Stronger Truer Sewanee campaign. A magnificent Sewanee Inn is welcoming visitors who come to do business with the University or just want a wonderful place to spend the weekend. Athletic fields, equipped with new turf, are allowing students to compete on state-of-the-art facilities. New residence halls are accommodating a growing student body.

As the campaign moves forward, friends of Sewanee will have the opportunity to turn the focus on a new commons and a Village project that promises to enliven the common life of both the University and the town.

A thoroughgoing planning process has helped Sewanee realize a change in its plans for a new University Commons. At first conceived of as one grand, multipurpose building, the Commons will now be a series of buildings that revitalize the University Avenue corridor. That project begins with a new Wellness Commons, home to the health and wellness center, now adjacent to Emerald-Hodgson Hospital. It will also provide a much-needed fitness center for students.

"The Fowler Center is now decades old," noted Mike Gardner, head of Physical Plant Services. "When it was built, it was sufficient for the size of the student population at the time. Now, if you are a student who is not part of a varsity team, you can have a difficult time getting access to fitness equipment. Our students are clamoring for a fitness center, and the Wellness Commons will provide that."

The Wellness center will be the center of activities that promote physical and mental health, including as a home to the very popular Sewanee Outing Program. "Campaign gifts to the Commons will ensure that today's students have opportunity to pursue activities and opportunities that keep them healthy and help them have the best possible Sewanee experience," said Jay Fisher of the project. "We hope that many people will support this project and see themselves in today's students."

As the University revitalizes the University Avenue corridor, it will pay special attention to the terminus of University Avenue at Highway 41A in the Village. Friends of the University have already donated funds to secure property in the Village that will allow developers to promote projects such as a new bookstore, a theater, and small apartment buildings that serve the needs of visiting scholars, seminarians, and others. Developers are also considering hospitality projects such as a hostel for riders on the Mountain Goat Trail, which is routed through the Village.

"While most of the funding for developing the Village will come from commercial interests, we are asking friends of Sewanee to step up to provide funds for infrastructure—roads, plazas, lights, and signage," noted Fisher.

These two projects—the University Corridor enhancement and the Village development—will transform Sewanee, enriching the Sewanee Experience for all.

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.