Science building dream comes true
September 18, 2001
A cool breeze swept down College Street Monday afternoon, providing temporary relief from the heat to Gov. Don Sundquist and Rep. Tommy Head as they stood on the edge of the Austin Peay State University campus.
The two men used a pair of oversized scissors to cut a ribbon in front of the school's $38 million science complex, concluding a ceremony that named the building for Sundquist and the inside atrium for Head. Both men strongly supported funding for the building, which as been a dream of the APSU community for more than 20 years.
The governor sat in front of the new Sundquist Science Complex, while sunlight reflected off his name mounted on the outside of the building. He sat with his head down, listening to the comments of Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president.
"We're here today to pay tribute to two very special people who worked exceptionally hard and were committed to this building being a reality," she said. "I predict that we're going to be attracting larger and larger numbers of top science students from across the state as a result of this building.
Acknowledging Hoppe's tribute, Sundquist said, "I don't believe I've received a greater honor other than being elected to office," he said.
He then addressed the current crisis higher education is facing in Tennessee. He said without higher education, children can't fulfill their potential.
"You think I'm happy today, watch and see how happy I'll be when we fund what goes on inside this building," he said. "When we fund our professors at what they ought to be funded and paid. When we have a tuition that's low enough that people who don't have an opportunity to attend college or higher education can attend as well. We're driving our children out of our universities because we're raising our tuition too high, and that's inexcusable."
After Sundquist spoke, Hoppe presented the plaque that will be placed inside the Tommy Head Atrium. The atrium, which shimmers from natural sunlight reflecting off a stainless steel staircase, splits through the middle of the building.
"This is probably one of the better honors I've received in my life," Head said.
Head also noted that Sundquist has received a lot of heat because he is a supporter of tax reform, but Head believes it is what Tennessee needs.
(Reprinted with permission from "The Leaf Chronicle" and writer Charles Booth