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University of Arizona Student Union records, 1951-1984

MS 342

Collection Summary

Creator: University of Arizona Student Union
Collection Name:University of Arizona Student Union records
Inclusive Dates: 1951-1984
Physical Description:A survey revealed that much of the materials were not significant to the overall integrity of the collection. As a result the collection's original volume has been reduced from 4.8 linear feet to 6 linear feet.
Abstract:Papers, 1951-1984, from the University of Arizona Student Union business files. Includes business correspondence related to retail sales, official University of Arizona correspondence, correspondence with donors, as well as correspondence with political figures including Representative Morris Udall and Senator Bob Dole. The project files include blueprints and plans related to building expansions and discussions and reports related to the issue of serving alcohol on campus. The collection includes publications generated by activities at the Student Union. Also include are miscellaneous photographs from the Student Union.
Collection Number:MS 342
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

The national student union movement marks its beginnings from a small debating society begun at the University of Cambridge, England, during the middle part of the 19th century. Along with a similar organization at Oxford, the student unions became important vehicles for future leadership roles in England. By the end of the 19th century student unions had begun to form in America. Today hundreds of American universities belong to the Association of College Unions.

While the initial impetus for the formation of unions has changed from an elite student debate club to an organization serving the entire university community, its stated goals still reflect the historical origins of the student union association. The mission statement of The University of Arizona Student Memorial Union, for example, states that: "In all its processes, the union encourages self-directed activity, giving maximum opportunity for self-realization and for growth in individual, social competency and group effectiveness." The union's goal is the development of persons as well as intellects. Traditionally considered the "hearthstone" or "living room" of the campus, today's unions are gathering places of the college. The unions provide services and conveniences that members of the college community need in their daily lives and create an environment for getting to know and understand others through formal and informal associations. The unions serve as unifying forces that honor each individual and value diversity. The unions foster a sense of community that cultivates enduring loyalty to the college.

The idea for a student recreation center was first proposed by the President Cloyd Heck Marvin in 1923. This initial effort was followed in 1938 by a committee formed under the leadership of President Alfred Atkinson to raise money for a student union building. However this initiative stalled due to a lack of funding and the start of World War II. After nearly 28 years of planning, and $1.2 million in expenditures, The University of Arizona Student Memorial Union building was completed in 1951. The Student Memorial Union at the University of Arizona is so named because it is dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died during World War I and World War II. Numerous expansions have been added to the initial 1951 building. The facilities are being replaced as of 1999-2001.


This collection is organized into 2 subgroups.
Papers 1951-1984
Photographs ca. 1970's





It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s)
University of Arizona -- History
University of Arizona -- Students -- Periodicals
University of Arizona. Student Union Activities Board
University of Arizona. Student Union -- History

Administrative Information

Credit Line

University of Arizona Student Union records (MS 342). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Subgroup 1: Papers , 1951-1984
Series 1: Correspondence, 1951-1984
Contains correspondence to and from the University of Arizona Student Memorial Union, mostly regarding business related subjects.
Among the correspondence are letters to Student Union Director Bill Varney from University Presidents John Schaefer and Richard Harvill; U.S. Representative Morris Udall; and Senator Bob Dole.
11 Correspondence, business (M.Udall, 1966). , 1951-1969
12 Correspondence, business (B. Dole, 1975). . , 1970-1984
Series 2: Project Files, 1956-1984
Blueprints and plans regarding building expansion and security systems; discussion and reports regarding the sale of alcohol on campus.
11 Project files, ; blueprints and plans , 1956-1984
11 Project files, Sale of Alcohol on Campus. , 1973-1981
Series 3: Publications, 1951-1980
Newsletters, pamphlets, memoranda, history of Student Union, memorial to Sam Pellegrino, Vending Information, and Union Club Restaurant publications.
21 Publications. , 1951-1980
Subgroup 2: Photographs, ca. 1970's
The photographs are primarily concerning fire related damage and other facility images. Also included are photographs of the 25th anniversary celebration (1976) and graffiti around the exterior of facilities. Photographic materials include: Silver gelatin prints (b&w); color prints; color slides; and color negatives.
22 Photographs. , ca.1970's