The History of the LSU Student Union

Where it all began...

The idea of a college union at LSU was first proposed in the Reveille as early as 1939, but it was not until 1958 that a formal “Proposed Plan for a Student Union at LSU” was submitted to the Board of Supervisors for approval. A student referendum was conducted in 1955 where students voted to self-assess a fee to build a union, and anticipation from students was growing. After three years of planning, the Board of Supervisors approved the site – the Memorial Oak Grove in the center of the campus, authorized the construction of the facility, approved a $10 student fee, and commissioned the architects. The first director, Carl Maddox, was appointed in 1959, and the first Governing Board of students, faculty and alumni was chosen in 1962-63. Construction began on October 21, 1961, and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new building was on January 6, 1964. During the decades that have followed, hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests have visited the Union, to attend programs and meetings, to shop in the retail stores, have a meal or a cup of coffee with friends, participate in events, check their mail or e-mail, and use a myriad of other services available to them.

The LSU Student Union will be celebrating it's 60th birthday January 6, 2024. Cheers to 60 years! There will be a series of events celebrating the Union including a time capsule dedication ceremony and a concert on Wednesday, January 31 beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the Parade Ground. Please be on the lookout for upcoming details about the showcase of old photos, and bowling back for a day!

The bowling alley in the union during the 1960s

The original LSU Student Union was home to a 16-lane bowling alley in the 1960s. 

Birds eye view of the union taken in the 1970s

An aerial view of the LSU Student Union taken in the 1970s.