Extraordinary momentum at TU in 2021

January 3, 2022

TU celebrated openings, groundbreakings throughout 2021

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The StarTUp at the Armory includes 6,000 square feet of dedicated free, co-working space. (Nick Sibol/Towson University) 

No matter the year, Towson University’s extraordinary momentum is palpable.

But TU was positively bustling in 2021 with ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies throughout the fall. The dedications of the new Science Complex and the Dean Chapman Quad celebrated the increased richness of campus life.

TU's footprint extended to downtown Towson as the StarTUp at the Armory opened to rave reviews for its innovative approach to renovating an historic building. Across the street, the TU-owned, 12-story building at 401 Washington is now home to the Divisions of University Advancement and Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, as well as the Office of Technology Services.

The university also broke ground on the new College of Health Professions (CHP) building, which will open in 2024. 

There is more than $1.7 billion in public and private development taking place within a quarter of a mile of campus. This includes Towson Row, a $350 million investment that is home to student housing and new retail, including Whole Foods, just around the corner from the StarTUp at the Armory.  

Below, see how new buildings will shape the future of Maryland's fastest-growing university. 

A new home for generations of science students

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Students work in the Science Commons during the Fall of 2021. (Photo: Alex Wright)

TU students and community members were awestruck by the new 320,000-square-foot Science Complex, now the campus's largest academic structure. It opened at the start of 2021 and had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 1. 

It includes 50 teaching laboratories, 30 research laboratories, 50 classrooms, eight lecture halls, 10 collaborative student spaces, an outdoor classroom leading to the Glen Arboretum, a rooftop greenhouse complex, a new planetarium and an observatory.  

The complex bolsters TU’s nationally recognized STEM programming and enhances the university’s ability to meet Maryland’s workforce demands for prepared leaders. The Science Complex, which was made possible in part from generous state funding, supports TU’s rapidly growing Fisher College of Science & Mathematics (FCSM), which has grown by more than 2,000 students since 1997.   

StarTUp takes TU entrepreneurship to next level

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The StarTUp at the Armory is home to signature TU entrepreneurship programs like the StarTUp Accelerator, competitions and events for students and professionals and 6,000 square feet of dedicated free co-working space. (Photo: Alex Wright)

The StarTUp at the Armory is TU’s front door for startups, small businesses and the region’s largest corporations in downtown Towson. The vibrant, public-focused space creates new engagement opportunities for regional leaders to connect, convene and collaborate alongside TU’s faculty, staff and students. 

The 26,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is home to signature TU entrepreneurship programs as well as student competitions and events. Small businesses and local entrepreneurs have access to a number of programs and resources focused on entrepreneurship and workforce development.   

A home for the state's largest provider of healthcare workers

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The new College of Health Professions building comes at a time when TU is the largest provider of health professionals in Maryland.

President Kim Schatzel welcomed state leaders, as well as TU faculty and staff, to a groundbreaking for the new CHP building on Oct. 7. 

The building will consolidate the college’s programs—audiology, nursing, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy and health sciences—under one roof for the first time. The building will contain a 300-seat auditorium and multiple, cutting-edge simulation and skill labs to replicate professional health care environments as well as offer a small cafe. Additionally, it will include 10 patient exam rooms, two lecture halls, a makerspace shop and lab, multiple research labs and much more.  

 “The students who are going to come out of this building, they are truly the future of health care,” Dr. Jay Perman, chancellor of the University System of Maryland and a physician, said at the groundbreaking. “We didn’t need a pandemic to tell us how critical that future is. This building will give us the capacity to close our workforce gaps while giving students the opportunities that they’re clamoring for. They are banging down the doors to get into Towson’s health programs. I hear it, and now you can swing those doors wide open.”  

A place for all to come together

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Officially revealed by President Schatzel and Dean Chapman, a brick walkway through Chapman Quad will pay tribute to National Pan-Hellenic Council sororities and fraternities. (Kanji Takeno/Towson University)  

As Towson University celebrated Homecoming on Oct. 16, hundreds of alumni and students honored Julius “Dean” Chapman, TU’s first dean of minority affairs. During a ceremony, the lawn between the Media Center and Stephens Hall was officially renamed the "Dr. Julius Chapman Quad." 

In fall 2019, TU dedicated a bronze bust to Chapman. It was then that Schatzel declared the area around it would commemorate his work and service. 

Chapman brought historically Black Greek organizations—sometimes referred to as the Divine Nine—to campus 50 years ago. 

Before Chapman started in 1968, Black student enrollment was less than 1% of the total student population. Today, 5,311 Black students are enrolled at Towson University, which Schatzel said is more than any other university in Maryland. 

In fact, TU’s 2021 incoming freshman class is its most diverse, with 59% identifying as racial or ethnic minorities. In reading these statistics to the crowd, Schatzel wanted to make sure everyone knew this evolution began because of the work done by Chapman. 

"I can promise you, Dean Chapman, that we will not stop the righteous transformation you began 50 years ago," Schatzel said. "A transformation to a diverse, inclusive university of excellence that has become a hallmark of TU’s nationally ranked academic enterprise and student life."  

More ahead

A two-phase project is transforming TU’s University Union. Completed for fall 2021, phase one expanded the building with an 85,000-square-foot addition offering new event and dining space. Phase two is underway and consists of renovations to the original building. A ribbon-cutting celebration is expected during the 2022 spring term. 

TU is reinvesting in the heart of residential life on the campus core with Glen Towers. Consecutive renovations to the towers are adding new exteriors, windows, utility infrastructure and HVAC systems. All four towers and the surrounding plaza will be complete in 2025.  

Learn more about construction at TU.