Memorial Gymnasium is a 2,500 seat multi-purpose arena in Charlottesville, Virginia. It opened in 1924. It replaced Fayerweather Gymnasium as home to the University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball team until University Hall opened in 1965.
History[edit | edit source]
Established originally as a memorial to the University's World War I casualties, the facility continues to play a role in the athletic, recreational and physical education-kinesiology programs at the school. The classes of 1920 and 1921 pledged a collected total of $142,000 in support of the gymnasium as a memorial and construction was completed in 1924. From its completion, the gymnasium housed a variety of sporting and social activities, including basketball, boxing and dances. The basketball program was housed in the building for 42 seasons before University Hall opened in 1965. It was also the past home of the swimming and dive teamsand indoor track teams. After renovations, the building - now used extensively by the University's intramural programs - also serves as the home arena for the Cavaliers' wrestling and women's volleyball teams.
Memorial Gym was the site of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Stab in the Back" speech on June 10, 1940, when, in the middle of giving his commencement address to the graduating class, he was informed of the alliance between Italy and Nazi Germany.
The performances in honor of the City of Charlottesville's 200th Anniversary, featuring the Virginia Glee Club, were held in Memorial Gym in 1962.
Current usage[edit | edit source]
Currently, Memorial Gymnasium, commonly known as Mem Gym to Virginia students, hosts the school wrestling and volleyball teams, and is also used by the school as an intramural sports venue. The building includes a small weight room, including cardiovascular machines, and boxing practice facilities, as well as an indoor wooden jogging track on the second floor that overlooks the single court from the second floor. The swimming pool was also primarily used prior to the construction of the Aquatic and Fitness Centre. The swimming pool was finally closed in 2007 and converted into an indoor soccer ground.
Recent renovations[edit | edit source]
An anonymous gift of $845,500 provided for extensive improvements to the building.
References[edit | edit source]
- Dabney, Virginius (1981). Mr. Jefferson's University: A History. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. p. 66. ISBN 0-8139-0904-X. http://repo.lib.virginia.edu:18080/fedora/get/uva-lib:178665/uva-lib-bdef:100/getFullView.
- Dabney, 87, 89, 113.
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. Stab in the Back. Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive. June 10, 1940.
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