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Unveiling the Legacy: Grote Hall at UTC

CHATTANOOGA, TN (– If you have ever experienced heartburn, or even just an upset stomach, you may have taken Rolaids. What you may not know is that there is a deep-rooted history of Rolaids here at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. This campus, and Grote Hall specifically, have connections and a history that may shock students who are familiar with the antacid. The history of Grote Hall is more than just a name of a donor. It is the name of an American chemist who changed the game for those with acid reflux and more. 

Our university merged and affiliated with the University of Tennessee in 1969, and not long after, Grote Hall was built in the 1970s. Long before then, a man named Irvine W. Grote graduated from the “University of Chattanooga” in 1922. Later in life, he was head of the chemistry department at UTC and found the active ingredients of Rolaids, dihydroxy aluminum sodium carbonate. This led to the invention of Rolaids, which he is best known for. 

Irvine Grote from Best Grads from the past 100 years

The medication has been in and out of stores over the years, but since 2013, a company by the name of Chattem has rebranded and put it back on the shelves. This means that the generation of students today have likely heard of the over-the-counter tablets that come in many flavors, and are similar to Tums.

Grote Hall is now a commonly used science building on campus, but many students don’t know the significance of Grote Hall, and how much history it holds that occurred at the University if Tennessee at Chattanooga. Today the building still stands, named after Dr. Irvine W Grote and UTC also awards Grote chemistry scholarships in his honor. 

Grote Hall UTC, Lawrence G. Miller 2009 from Flikr

Makenna Brown and Laini Shabo both take biochemistry in Grote Hall this semester, they said that they know a little about the history of the building, but would like to learn more since they spend so much time in Grote. 

“I take biochemistry in Grote Hall now, but I remember learning about Grote when I was a lowerclassman in Chemistry II lab. We had been working on a lab that involved the ingredients of Rolaids or Tums and my professor told us about how famous this guy was,” Brown said.

Olivia Hutt is also in biochemistry in Grote Hall, and said she knew little about its history or meaning at all. 

“I wish I learned more about this when I was taught about antacids. I always wonder who each building is named after but never bother to ask or look it up,” said Hutt. 

To her surprise, she has used the medicine not knowing that she was in the midst of its origin. 

About Ellen Sudderth

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