Memorial Union Timeline


The idea of a student union arose in the 1910s as students increasingly called for its creation. This movement was realized in the Memorial Corporation, which was established to fund and build a union.
Kansas Union Ballroom


1920 - University of Kansas Memorial Corporation was founded
1921 - Cornerstone laying ceremony for the Kansas Union, a memorial building for
the 129 students and alumni who died during WWI
1927 - Cafeteria opened in the Kansas Union basement under manager Ethel Evans
Men's lounge inside the Kansas Union 1929


1937 - Hermina Zipple became the director of the University Dining Room
(and later the overall Union director)
1938 - Kansas Union construction fully completed; Student Union Activites began
Students in the Kansas Union soda shop 1933


1940 - All Kansas Union spaces became co-educational, equally open to men and women
1946 - KU Bookstore opened in the Kansas Union
Patron at the Union Fountain


1952 - Frank Burge became the Memorial Union director; the Hawks Nest opened
1953 - Additions to the Kansas Union completed, doubling its space; Katherine Giele
became the first director of Student Union Activities; the Jaybowl opened with six lanes
1956_Burge Union Opening Party


1967 - Additions to the northwest side of the Kansas Union were constructed
Homecoming committee


1970 - Firebombing of Kansas Union caused $1 million in damages
1979 - The Satelite Union opened (later renamed the Burge Union)
Kansas Union on fire behind the campanile


1982 - Frank Burge retired, Jim Long became the Memorial Union director a year later
1986 - Three year renovation of the Kansas Union began
Tabling in front of the Kansas Union


1993 - Kanas Union rededicated to WWI fallen with new time capsule placed
1999 - David Mucci became the Memorial Union’s director
Laying of the Cornerstone


2004 - The Underground dining location opened in Wescoe Hall; KJHK radio station moved
to the Kansas Union
2008 - Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center opened
SUA movie night


2016 - DeBruce Center opened; the original Burge Union is demolished
2018 - New Burge Union opened
Ascher Family Plaza