In the heart of campus is the beautiful Amphitheater. Once known as "the passion pit," this area was completed by Works Progress Administration workers in 1941. When it was first constructed, it was a place bustling with activity. Students sat on the grassy steps, assuming the role of university troubadours singing to the strum of their guitars; aspiring actors practiced on the white, eight-columned stage; clubs and organizations even met on the shallow steps. On warm, pretty days, when the trees surrounding the theater were in full bloom, campus events were held on stage for everyone to see while students mingled around the theater grounds. The Amphitheater is used for student assemblies and staff picnics and is still a wonderful place to enjoy the sunshine with friends.
The historic Amphitheater was dear to the heart of the late ETSU President Charles C. Sherrod who supervised workers and mules used in the excavation and construction of the endeavor. According to a copy of the Nov. 15, 1935 Chalk Line, announcing the planned facility, the Amphitheater was billed as an outdoor playhouse that "will enable the college to carry on a valuable program of pageants and plays such as no other school in East Tennessee can."
During the 75th Anniversary celebration in 1985-86, the university rediscovered several globes that once stood at the main entrance to
campus. Two globes were subsequently installed above the Amphitheater's seating area, and a time capsule was embedded in the brick pillars. In 1990 vandals broke one of the pillars and exposed the time capsule that was put in it. The pillar was later restored with the time capsule put back in to be opened during the Centennial Celebration in 2011.