Anyone familiar with UM knows "The Rat" is anything but a dirty rodent. Since 1972 it has served as the meeting place for students and faculty alike. Maybe because the Rathskeller is the only full service restaurant on-campus (not to mention the only place that serves alcohol); or maybe because the greasy fries and hamburgers are the perfect cure for a lingering hangover. Regardless, its reputation is grounded in years of good times.
So you can imagine the uproar when it was announced the Rat will be knocked down come June. This "thanks" to a recent donation of $20 million to fund a new student activities center on the Coral Gables campus that needs the space the restaurant now occupies.
The official closing of the Rat is tomorrow, April 29. Students will likely crowd the patio beginning at 11 for the "Last Call" event. You can expect plenty of activities, including a video booth to record those final memories along with chances to get your photo on a 16-oz. beer stein, postcard, and bottle opener. At 5:30 UM President Donna E. Shalala wil
l open a time capsule placed at the Rat in 1998 (actually, the time capsule will be unearthed and relocated to be opened on the Rathskeller 50th anniversary) deliver closing remarks. Once that is over, you can bet the party will really get going.