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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

A color image of the Memorial Union.


When it was dedicated on June 1, 1929, the Memorial Union was the first student union in the state and its funding came from alumni and student contributions. Construction on the grand building was completed in 1928 and the MU quickly became the center of campus life. Designed by Portland-based architect and 1907 OAC graduate Lee Thomas, the MU stands as both a student center and memorial to honor the service people who died in WWI and the Spanish-American War. The building remained virtually unchanged until fall term of 1960 when the two wings were added at each end of the building for the bookstore and dining commons.

General Information


2501 SW Jefferson Way, Corvallis, OR, 97331


Lee Thomas

Year Built



1960; 1990s

Square Footage

303, 512


Student activities and resources: Currently, the Student ID Center, MU Lanes & Games, the Grigg's Center for Black and Indigenous Student Success, ASOSU International Lounge, MU Creative Studio, Amazon lockers, US Bank, and several cafes and restaurants. Historically, the building was used for housing and dining facilities for military service men at Oregon State during WWII, student media, the Department of Physical Education, the Native American Longhouse, the Chicano Cultural Center, the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, the Pride Center, and the OSU Bookstore.

Previous Name(s)



Served to memorialize students who served during World War I and the Spanish-American War

Historic District

OSU National Historic District


Facilities Services Records (RG 193) I. Architectural Drawings and Plans - Individual Structures - Memorial Union folder 3 


Facilities Services Records, 1888-2003. Series XX:  Campus, Farm, and Property Maps, 1899-1990. Campus and Farm Maps: 3-A

Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994


Oregon State University Historical Photographs, 1868-1980

Further Archival Information

SCARC: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds a number of collections pertaining to the Memorial Union, including Memorial Union Photographs, 1924-1929 and Memorial Union Records, 1922-2012. A search for "Memorial Union" will also show collections of student activities associated with the Memorial Union.

Oregon Digital: Includes photographs documenting the Memorial Union