The Mission of the Oklahoma Memorial Union
The mission of the Oklahoma Memorial Union is to support the academic growth of students by enriching the university community through programs and services, building an inclusive community, and providing a clean, safe, and welcoming facility for diverse, campus life experiences to occur.
The History of the Oklahoma Memorial Union
In 1916 a group of students organized for the purpose of raising awareness for the need of a student union on The University of Oklahoma Campus. However, this initiative and many other events were interrupted by the U.S. entry into World War I. In 1922, the initiative was resurrected.
In 1925, under President James S. Buchanan, fundraising for a student union building and a football stadium were joined to initiate a $1 million campaign. Construction began in 1925 and the union opened on November 22, 1928. The Oklahoma Memorial Union and the Memorial Stadium were dedicated in honor of the University of Oklahoma students and alumni who died in World War I. In later years, it was rededicated to honor all members of the OU community who sacrificed their lives in defense of their country.
The building opened about a year before the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. As a result, the Union opened with sparse adornments and it took several years to furnish it fully. The original building featured a bookstore, cafeteria, soda fountain, billiards & game room, ballroom, Alumni Association, Union offices and offices for student government.
The original plans included the clock tower, however, due to budget constraints, it was left off. In 1936, the clock tower was added with the help of the Work Projects Administration. In 1951 the north and south wings were added, and the original structure was renovated. The Union was not renovated again until 1995, after rigorous fundraising by President David L. Boren and First Lady Molly Shi Boren. The Clarke-Anderson room was added in 1998, and the Archie W. Dunham-Conoco Student Leadership Center was added in 2000 as a new home for student government and student organization offices.
Throughout its history, the Oklahoma Memorial Union has served as an important center of campus activity.