In 1952, John Saunders Chase became the first African American student to graduate from the School of Architecture. That same year, he was commissioned to design the new headquarters for the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas, an organization that promoted equality in education for Black students and teachers. From that point on, the building that Chase created would serve the East Austin community in many ways. It was a space for organizing and advocacy work as well as a social hub where neighbors could gather.
The University of Texas of Austin is committed to continuing the building’s social impact and furthering a legacy of community engagement set in motion by one of UT’s first Black students. The John S. and Drucie R. Chase building will house programs that meet the needs of the community and facilitate relationships with our neighbors. If you would like to support the building and our mission, there are many ways to give. Your contribution is immensely beneficial to our efforts to support historically underserved communities and promote equity and accessibility in the city of Austin. Thank you!
The kitchen provides a space to set up food from local restaurants for community-wide events promoting fellowship. It’s also a place for casual huddles with snacks. The best partnerships, after all, are created over meals.
Visitors will be welcomed in the Atrium, which will also serve as a small but meaningful space for archival pieces from the building’s various lives: as the home of the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas, the House of Elegance and the John S. and Drucie R. Chase building. It will also feature rotating photography and memorabilia collections by other long-time partners including the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches’ Association.
Collaboration Center: $30,000
UT faculty and staff will office in this space, which will serve as the main hub for generating the most innovative and creative community-wide collaboration projects in the city.
Texas Grants Resource Center: $30,000
The site of the Texas Grants Resource Center (TGRC), this modular business center space serves as a spot for networking and grantsmanship. When not in use by the TGRC, this area will serve as a venue for the center’s community-facing events. It will also provide a space for convenings with campus and community partners and collaborators.
Classroom in the Community: $30,000
This “Classroom in the Community” is a space to hold UT student group meetings, UT faculty-run service-learning classes, Community Classroom courses and nonprofit convenings and neighborhood meetings. The site of our storytelling studio, this well-equipped room provides a space for UT-community collaborations to produce high-quality video and audio productions.
The “Front Porch”: $10,000
UT has always envisioned the Chase Building as the “front porch of the university.” As such, this covered outdoor patio is designed for casual collaborations as well as formal events, including our Front Porch Gatherings, board convenings and even student organization kick-off events. This space reaffirms our commitment to our community neighbors, our students and our faculty by offering a gathering spot off the Forty Acres.
The Plaza at 1191 Navasota: $10,000
As good neighbors in the community, UT hopes to create opportunities for fellowship and fun in our well-lit, festive lawn space. A site for gatherings, food trucks and community events, the Plaza invites our neighbors not only to our front porch but also to our back yard.