Student Union Building Celebrates Anniversary

Oct. 20 marks the 45th anniversary the University’s Student Union Building (SUB). This anniversary, which coincides with this year’s homecoming celebration, offers both current and former students, faculty and staff the opportunity to reflect on their fondest memories of time spent at the Student Union.

The Student Union was originally completed Oct. 20, 1967 as a means of bringing the University community together by providing facilities where student-based activities could take place. While it has continued to maintain this distinct purpose through the years, the Student Union has also grown and expanded along with Truman to fulfill emerging student needs.

Although the exterior of the building has remained mostly the same, the inside of the Student Union has experienced many changes throughout the years. Major renovations in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 2006 have altered the layout and aesthetic of the interior of the building. The most recent renovation, in 2006, brought changes such as: the conversion of the Quiet Lounge to the HUB, including a new passenger elevator, staircase and seating; the addition of Freshëns and Jazzman’s Café and Bakery to the main floor; the addition of the south entrance on the first floor; the creation of the SUB Down Under venue; and rest rooms on the main floor.

Other main modifications have included the expansion of the University bookstore (1986), the renovation of the Snack Bar now known as the Mainstreet Market (1990), and removal of the bowling lanes on the lower level (1991).
SUB Director Kenneth Sykes (left) and Student Council President Jack Wright at the Student Union ribbon-cutting ceremony.














A Look Back Into the History of the
Student Union Building...

1940s- President Eugene Fair names the large hall in Kirk Building “Sociability Hall.” This represents one of the University’s first undertakings to offer students facilities for activities.

1945- The postwar faculty planning committee recommends the future construction of a Student Union Building.

June 1961- President Walter Ryle recommends a student union fee of $8 per quarter to the Board of Regents. The Board arrives at a fee of $5 per quarter.

April 1963- Ryle appoints a Student Union Planning Committee consisting of students and faculty.

July 1965- The University acquires all of the land necessary to construct the Student Union Building.

March 1966- The University hosts a groundbreaking ceremony with Student Council President Harry Libby and President Ryle residing. This is believed to be the first official ceremony in Truman’s history that was organized and conducted solely by students. The Student Union is dedicated and the cornerstone is laid Aug. 9, 1966.

Oct. 1967- The Student Union officially opens at 10 a.m. Oct. 20, 48 days after the celebration of the University’s centennial.

Jan. 1973- Marion Street is closed and construction begins on the Mall. The Mall and fountain are completed in December of 1975.

Sept. 1975- Professor William Unger is commissioned to paint a mural modeled off the artistic style of painter Thomas Hart Benton to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial celebration.

Feb. 1984- A study of the feasibility and cost of renovating the Student Union begins. The study concludes that repair and renovation are needed in the building. Areas targeted in the renovation included roof repairs, masonry work, expansion of the campus bookstore, furnishing in the Georgian Room, the Quiet Lounge and the Snack Bar.

1986- The first phase of the renovation begins with the relocation of student media offices including the Index, Echo and KNEU to the lower level of the Union from Laughlin Hall.

1990- Planning commences for the renovation of the Snack Bar and the games room area.

Oct. 1991- The renovation of the Snack Bar is completed and renamed Mainstreet Market. Improvements included new lighting and furnishings, reconfiguration of the serving area and the removal of the wall separating the windows and the dining area (formerly the Art Gallery).

Late 1991- The bowling lanes are removed.

1993- The Board of Governors grants approval for the renovation of the games room area. On-site construction begins April 1.

Feb. 1994- The University hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 4 to honor the opening of the newly-renovated lower level. Improvements include a new games room area, multipurpose space, lounge seating, office space and student organization work areas.

Jan. 1997- An affiliate of the national sub-sandwich chain “Blimpies” is added to Mainstreet Market.

2006- A new phase of renovations begins on the Student Union Building. Renovations to the Quiet Lounge include a new staircase and passenger elevator. The SUB Down Under venue was also created and Jazzman’s Café and Bakery and Freshëns were installed on the main floor. A south entrance was added on the south side of the first floor. The Georgian Room was also renovated to allow the room to be sectioned off into three separate spaces.

Sept. 2008- The Quiet Lounge is renamed the HUB after student Libby Piel wins the University contest to rename the room.

Oct. 2012- Since the very beginning, the Union has served as a focal point for programs, meetings, dining and relaxation for students, faculty, staff and off-campus visitors. As the community center for the campus, the Union continually seeks to serve as a unifying force in the life of the University. For more information about the Union and its services, visit or call 660.785.4186.

Student Union Building Directors

 Kenneth Sykes

Russell Harrison

Jim Nevins

Verona (Vonnie) Nichols

Doug Daubert

Mark Weidner

Sujit Chemburkar

Directorship temporarily falls under the direction of
Lou Ann Gilchrist, dean of Student Affairs.

Dave Lusk

A printer-friendly version of the Student Union Building Anniversary insert is available online at

1967—What was happening when the
Student Union Building first opened its doors…

Historical Context
U.S. President- Lyndon B. Johnson
U.S. Vice President- Hubert H. Humphrey
University President- Walter H. Ryle
Official University Name- Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College

Major Headlines
Thurgood Marshall takes his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The first major exhibition of artist Pablo Picasso’s sculptures debuts in New York City. 
Ford Motor Company recalls all of its 1967 Mustangs.
Lieutenant General Ngyuen Van Thieu is inaugurated as President of South Vietnam in Saigon.
Two Soviet satellites achieve the first successful unmanned docking in space. 
The Egyptian government accuses the U.S. of helping Israel win war against Egypt.

Oscar Winners
Best Movie-“In The Heat Of The Night”
Best Actor- Rod Steiger
Best Actress- Katherine Hepburn

Baseball great Mickey Mantle hits his 500th home run.
The St. Louis Cardinals triumph over the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series sealing the championship.
The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 at professional football’s first Super Bowl game.
Philadelphia defeats San Francisco for the National Basketball Association title.
Billie Jean King and John Newcombe each win the U.S. national tennis title.
Proud Clarion, a horse ridden by jockey R. Ussery, wins the Kentucky Derby.

Popular Songs
“Daydream Believer,” The Monkees
“Happy Together,” The Turtles
“Light My Fire,” The Doors
“Never My Love,” The Association
“Penny Lane,” The Beatles
“Respect,” Aretha Franklin
“The Happening,” The Supremes

Did you know?
A few interesting facts about the
Truman State University Student Union Building

The Student Union officially opened at 10 a.m.. Oct. 20, 1967, under the direction of Kenneth C. Sykes. Sykes was the director for the next 12 years.

A four-chair barber shop was located on the first floor of the Student Union Building.

A dress code was enforced when the Student Union opened. Men were required to wear slacks and women were required to wear dresses or sweaters and skirts in the dining areas.

A rooftop garden once opened out from the Activities Room.

Average Cost of Living
Then vs. Now

Gallon of Milk    $1.15
Loaf of Bread     $0.22
New Auto           $2,425.00
Gallon of Gas     $0.28
New Home         $40,000.00
Income               $7,305.00

Gallon of Milk   $3.48
Loaf of Bread    $1.42      
New Auto          $30, 303.00
Gallon of Gas    $ 3.71
New Home        $295,300.00
Income              $50,000.00