Tennessee Wesleyan University: Colloms Campus Center

Written by CeCe Owens

It’s just a walk in the park for the students and faculty of Tennessee Wesleyan University.  Literally, taking a stroll around the campus with lush landscape and magnificent architecture is the same as walking in a beautiful park. There are more than 20 buildings making up the campus with a design that allows students to move easily between classes, administrative offices and services, athletic events and college activities. This “park like” setting is the main campus of Tennessee Wesleyan University located in historic Athens, Tennessee.

The newest addition to this beautiful landscape is the Colloms Campus Center featuring new spaces and resources for students, a game lounge, made-to-order grill, student success center, study rooms and much more. It has become the hub of student life, providing opportunities to study, grab some food or relax with friends. 

The Honorable Judge Carl Colloms pledged a $2 million gift towards this facility. In honor of this contribution, the building was named the Colloms Campus Center. “I knew my path, and I appreciate Tennessee Wesleyan letting me travel that path,”  said the 1964 TWU graduate. It had been planned to dedicate the building in his full name, however, the always humble man requested that it be named after his family.

Colloms Campus Center hosts an exterior design that inhabits the tradition, historic feel of the campus but also stands out in new beauty. The second floor offers a large balcony with rocking chairs overlooking the grassy Commons lawn for which decades of graduates have crossed to receive their diplomas. The building offers career services, servant leadership offices, interview rooms, tutoring, a student art gallery, along with a ballroom. It’s a social meeting place for organizations, clubs and students that will encourage learning and creativity. “We wanted to build a place where everybody feels comfortable.” said University President Harley Knowles.

At Tennessee Wesleyan University,  it is a belief in the student as a whole, a focus on academics, spiritual, social, and fun that is clearly defined by the interior theme of hard work and serious fun. In addition to providing services for students, faculty and staff, the Colloms Campus center will also have space for meetings and gatherings for community members.

The newest dining option, Burkett’s, is a made-to-order grill. From burgers to smoothies to salad, Burkett’s makes it fresh and cooks it hot. Named in honor of Athen’s most famous resident, Burkett Witt, Tennessee’s first African-American Mayor, elected to office in 1983. A lifelong Athens resident, leaving only to serve his country in World War II. Upon his return, he opened Bo and Pete’s Southern Soda Shop, in 1956, the restaurant moved to the basement of Townsend Hall and finally moving in 1962 to the Sherman Fine Building to what is now known as the Glenn Lowe Dining Room. In 2014, Burkett Witt was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service, commemorating his more than 30 years of service to Athens.

Taking a stroll inside of Colloms Campus Center it is the colors used in design that capture attention. The positive, engaging atmosphere is felt throughout and begs for you to start a conversation, have a little fun or walk through the large bookstore with window displays full of school spirit. Upstairs the history of the school is expressed on the walls, the remarkable reminder of the impact of this landmark institution. The artistic talents of students are impressive within the gallery area, allowing one to see the amazing opportunities afforded at the campus. 

Colloms Campus Center has combined the history of the campus with the modern needs of both students and community. Taking the opportunity to build into the magnificent landscape a place of gathering, a building honoring legacies and a center of service to the students, faculty, staff and community. Tennessee Wesleyan University, a dedicated good steward in all aspects of community, education and impact on the world.

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