History of The Elliott Student Union

  On Sept. 29, The Elliott Student Union held its 60th birthday celebration in honor of its history and its mission to engage, serve, and uplift University of Central Missouri staff and students. 

  The union has been a central location since it was founded in 1962. 

“In 1944, the administrators saw a need for a place dedicated to serving students with eating options and providing opportunities for socialization and gathering,” Kim Nicas, Director of The Elliott Student Union, said, “but it wasn’t until later that the action was taken upon.”

  The idea of the union started with UCM President at the time, George Diemer, and its construction began under the leadership of President Warren Lovinger in 1958. It was first called the College Union, then the University Center, then the Ed Elliott Union. Now, it is called the Elliot Student Union, named after Ed Elliott, another former president of UCM. 

  “Ed was president when there was a major renovation of the project that was done,” Beth Rutt, Director of Student Activities, said. “Most buildings do have name recognition from individuals that at that time and in the past had provided service. Kirkpatrick library was built during his term as university president, so there were lots of things that occurred as far as upgrades on campus during Dr. Elliott’s tenure.”

  The Union has also seen changes in its dining options. Steak and Shake once occupied by what is now CRU5H. Burger King and Pizza Hut were brand name restaurants housed in the Union. Before Starbucks, there was Jazzman’s Café, a coffee shop.

 Though the Union has been around since the 60s, it did not start celebrating its birthday until its 50th year in 2012. Each year, the celebration takes on a different theme.

 “This year is the 60th birthday and the theme is going to be the sixties,” graduate assistant Stephanie Rogers, said. “So, we’re doing a lot of hippie-inspired things – peace and love vibes. It’s going to be really fun and youthful.”

  According to Rogers, the 60th anniversary is a special year. This is why she and her team are striving to put the history of the Union out to the public and trying to outdo all past celebrations.