The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


John Stophel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UC Foundation cuts the blue and gold ribbon at the SimCenter. Pictured from left to right: Chancellor Bill Stacy, UT Interim President Joe Johnson, Stophel, Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, and Dr. Harry McDonald of the SimCenter.


Dr. Roger Briley of the SimCenter with UC Foundation Trustee Howard W. Roddy


Dr. Harry McDonald of the SimCenter, John Stophel, Chairman of the Board of Trustees


Trustees Frances S. Smith and Robert J. Sudderth, Jr. listen to Dr. Timothy Swafford discuss the computers at the SimCenter.

UC Foundation Trustees Preview New SimCenter Location

Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker and UT President Dr. Joe Johnson joined John Stophel of the Board of Trustees of the University of Chattanooga Foundation, Inc. in UCF Trustees preview of at the new location of the UT SimCenter at Chattanooga.

In his remarks to the trustees, Corker spoke of a recent trip to the Silicon Valley that he and other government leaders made with Dr. Harry McDonald, UTC Chair of Excellence in 21st Century Engineering and Chief Research Scientist with the SimCenter.

“The scientists working on fuel cell research literally dropped what they were doing to meet with Dr. McDonald and our team,” Corker said. “As a result, we went with a proposal to Washington and met with Senators Frist and Alexander, and Congressman Zach Wamp and received a $2.5 million grant to make Chattanooga the first city in America to get fuel cell power in its midst. None of this would have been possible without the UC Foundation to recruit the SimCenter talent to our community.”

The Board of Trustees of the UC Foundation has also played a pivotal role in moving the UT SimCenter at Chattanooga to its new offices at 701 M.L. King Boulevard, the former TVA Solar Building. The City of Chattanooga gave the UC Foundation the building to house the SimCenter, and the Foundation is funding renovations there at a cost of $2.2 million.

With Dr. David Whitfield serving as director, the UTC SimCenter was established in September 2002 as the research arm of the UTC Graduate School in Computational Engineering. The field of computational engineering encompasses practical engineering analysis and design problems that require supercomputer simulations. The SimCenter conducts research with a high-speed connection to Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The UTC Ph.D. program in computational engineering is expected to soon gain approval by all accrediting agencies.

Last year the SimCenter received $754,000 in grants for research. Recently, 3rd District U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp announced $1.75 million in federal funding to support research and operations. Dr. Harry McDonaldwill also be involved in developing new technology initiatives through the city of Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center. Wamp has secured an additional $3.5 million for this effort.

McDonald is the former director of the NASA-Ames Research Center. He is considered to be the premier expert of space shuttle safety, and he was interviewed by news outlets worldwide after the shuttle Columbia disaster. McDonald wrote a report in 1999 that warned NASA of safety issues in the shuttle program, and he was asked to present testimony during the public hearing by the board investigating the incident. McDonald was recently inducted into the Royal Academy of Engineering. The Academy brings together over 1200 distinguished engineers from all engineering disciplines to promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of the people of the United Kingdom.

The SimCenter’s new location represents another significant step in the revitalization of the M.L. King community.

Another major project on the UTC campus is the addition of over 1,000 new beds at UTC Place where two new units of student housing have been completed. An additional third phase is under construction, and will be ready for occupancy in August 2004. The Campus Development Foundation of the UC Foundation is responsible for funding this effort through a bond issue plus a gift. The mayor complimented the trustees’ efforts.

“Since I have been mayor, the trustees have been quite entrepreneurial in the developments you have made happen. The spectacular new student housing, UTC Place, is changing our city,” Corker said.

The Campus Development Foundation has also been involved in building Brown Academy for Classic Studies, an elementary school located near the UTC campus. The UTC Children’s Center is located in Brown Academy, and the UTC College of Education is an active partner of the school’s. This magnet school is rented for $1 a year to the Hamilton County School System.

The UC Foundation Trustees manage the $100 million endowment invested for enhancement of education at UTC. The annual income from both restricted and unrestricted funds is being used for scholarships, designated professorships, and other projects for the benefit of UTC.