Memorial Union (Oregon State University)

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Memorial Union
Memorial Union at Oregon State University.jpg
North side of the building
General information
Type student activity center
Architectural style Neoclassical
Location Corvallis, Oregon, United States
Address 2501 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, Oregon
Coordinates 44°33′54″N 123°16′44″W / 44.5650°N 123.2789°W / 44.5650; -123.2789Coordinates: 44°33′54″N 123°16′44″W / 44.5650°N 123.2789°W / 44.5650; -123.2789
Current tenants MU Commons, OSU Bookstore
Construction started 1926
Completed 1928
Owner Oregon State University
Height 3 stories
Technical details
Floor count 4
Design and construction
Architect Lee Arden Thomas

The Memorial Union (MU) is the student activity center at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, United States. It contains a ballroom, cafeteria, bowling alley, shops, and study areas. It was designed by Oregon Agricultural College (a predecessor of OSU) graduate Lee Arden Thomas.


Groundbreaking occurred March 3, 1926[1] Construction was funded by contributions from past and present students. The building was officially dedicated by Dr. James K. Weatherford.[1] Thomas, the building's architect, was an alumnus based in Portland. Memorial Union opened to the public on June 1, 1928.[1] It is of Neoclassical design, with an exterior built mainly with red-colored bricks with white granite accents including a dome in the center.[2]

The building is one of the few OSU buildings of that era not attributed to John Bennes, and has been described as "one of the finest examples of neoclassic architecture in Oregon."[3] It has been "known to generations of Oregon Staters as simply the MU", and "was built in 1927-28 as a monument to those who have given their lives in defense of the nation, as well as a center for student life on campus."[3]

The building was funded entirely with private donations and gifts at a cost of around $750,000, and a $3 per term assessment Oregon State students implemented beginning in January 1922.[3] It was dedicated on June 1, 1929.[3] The east and west wings (restaurant and commons) are later additions, having been added in 1960 and extensively renovated in the 1990s; the MU was owned by the Memorial Union Corporation until 1965 when it transferred the facility to the State Board of Higher Education.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Memorial Union. Oregon State University. Retrieved on April 7, 2009
  2. ^ "Site Information: Memorial Union Bldg". Oregon Historic Sites Database. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e George P. Edmonston Jr. Up Close and Personal: Campus Tour Oregon State University Alumni Association