UK Student Center Celebrating 75th Anniversary This Year
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 7, 2013) ― For three quarters of a century the Student Center has provided a space on the University of Kentucky campus where students can relax, socialize, dine, play, shop, learn, be entertained and be a student. May 14, 1938, the doors of the Student Union opened, and the building has been going strong for the 75 years that have followed.
To view a documentary of the history of the UK Student Center produced by its staff, visit
The idea of a Student Union actually was born in 1931 when the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society appointed a committee to discuss with UK President Frank McVey the possibility of a building and how to raise funds for it. The idea took flight in 1933, when the Kentucky Kernel pledged $20,000 to initiate and ODK fund drive. In 1935, the UK Board of Trustees voted to construct four new buildings on campus -- one being the Student Union. A majority of the funding came through a student fee that began in 1936, and ground was broken for the building in 1937. Total cost of the Student Union was $277,000.
As enrollment grew at UK, more space was needed in the Student Union ― leading to an expansion that was completed in 1964. A new cafeteria and grill opened in the addition and the facility was renamed the Student Center. Eighteen years later, in 1982, the final addition was made to the Student Center at a cost of $4.2 million.
The University of Kentucky Student Center holds a unique place in the history of college unions and student centers across the nation," says John Herbst, Student Center director. "The UK Student Center has been a student-driven, student-led facility. In 1938, the doors first opened. For 75 years it has been central to our vision and principles to put the students first."
Learn more about the history of the UK Student Center by viewing the documentary; visiting the Student Center's 75th anniversary website; and following the extensive timeline of the life of the Student Center. Also on the Student Center anniversary website, share your favorite Student Center stories and check the calendar for upcoming celebrations.
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