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History and News

Student Center History


1940 – Action toward a student union was initially proposed by Fred White ’41, president of Omicron Delta Kappa, and Margaret Kallmeyer `41, Student-Faculty Council Chair. The Student-Faculty Council begins gathering information about student unions on other campuses.

June 1941 – The first gift to a new student union was made by Omicron Delta Kappa, totaling $461.24.

Old Student Union1943 – A new student union is placed in Miami’s post-war construction plans.

1944 – Architect Charles Cellarius presents initial plans for the new student union for discussion.

1946 – Trustee and president of the Alumni Association Paul McNamara appoints a committee to study the student union project. The committee suggests that the Alumni Association take over the project. The Alumni Secretary and Student Union Committee are instructed to study union buildings at other universities.

September 1947 – A battalion recreational hall from Camp Perry, Ohio, measuring 37 X 99 feet, is donated to Miami by the government to serve as a temporary student union. It is reconstructed next to Herron Hall, near the present-day site of Roudebush Hall, and it features tables and booths seating up to 150 people, a raised bandstand, jukebox, and space for dancing.

1952 – On the five-year anniversary, a study reveals that since its opening the facility has averaged more than 2,000 paying visitors per day, at an average sale of 18.5 cents each. Despite a minuscule profit of only .0041 cents per sale, the temporary unit has taken in almost $500,000 in just five years.

1953 – The McClure-Hinkle Bill breathes new life into the project, authorizing state-supported universities to issue bonds for facilities, including student unions. Vice President of Finance Walter P. Roudebush arranges a loan of $1.35 million from the State Teachers Retirement Association.

October 1953 – Shortly after his inauguration, President John D. Millett establishes a presidential panel of 12 students and faculty/staff for input on a new student center.

1954 – A subcommittee of seven students, headed by Robert H. Rice `54, reports on which student organizations should be provided space within the student center.

1956 – Construction is delayed because of the more pressing need for student housing. The original Redskin Reservation is torn down to make room for Roudebush Hall.

Shriver CenterJune 8, 1957 – The cornerstone is laid for the new University Center

September 15, 1957 – The University Center opens for students. Its notable features include an eight-lane bowling alley, music listening room, the 1809 Room, three student lounges, and a snack bar named ‘The Res.’

1960 - 2000

1963 – To keep pace with the growing student population and changing needs of patrons, an East Wing is added to the University Center. It included the addition of the Zebra Room – a second snack bar, the Heritage Room, and a ballroom.

June 1981 – The University Center is renamed after Miami’s 17th President, Phillip R. Shriver, during an Alumni Weekend ceremony.

1985 – A university committee is established to look into updating Shriver Center.

August 1988 – Ground is broken on South Wing addition to Shriver Center. The 18,000 square-foot addition allows for a new food court and the large-event spaces known as the Multi-Purpose Rooms.


2002 – ASG President David Doyle becomes the first of seven consecutive student body presidents to voice the need for a dedicated student center to the Board of Trustees, stating that Shriver Center was dated and too fragmented to support a community feel.

2004 – Analysis of Shriver Center completed in response to ASG resolutions supporting “a More Adequate Student Center for Miami University.”

2007 – A feasibility study is conducted on the construction of a new student center. The study relies heavily on student feedback through surveys and focus groups.

April 2008 – Miami University’s Board of Trustees approves planning for the Bicentennial Student Center. It is to be constructed at the current sites of Culler, Gaskill, and Rowan Halls, in the heart of Miami’s campus.

October 2009 – Robert Keller, University Architect, and David Creamer, Vice President of Finance and Business Services, announce a reinvigorated building plan for the student center. The plan involves using the existing Culler, Gaskill, and Rowan building structures and connecting them with a new central student center structure.

July 2010 – Alumni Mike ’61 and Anne ’61 Armstrong provide a $15 million leadership gift to name the Armstrong Student Center.

October 6, 2011 – A ceremonial groundbreaking officially celebrates the start of construction work on the long-awaited Armstrong Student Center. Among the attendees are Mike and Anne Armstrong ’61, current and former members of the Board of Trustees, and seven former student body presidents. The ceremony began with representatives of Miami’s student organizations parading down Slant Walk with symbolic tin pails of dirt.

October 23, 2012 – The final steel beam is put in place over the Armstrong Student Center, marking a significant construction milestone. Prior to the ceremony, students, faculty, staff, and alumni are able to sign their names on the beam.

February 7, 2014 – A campus-wide celebration marks the dedication of the Armstrong Student Center as the future of the Miami Experience.

January 2016 – Construction begins on the East Wing of Armstrong Student Center, the final phase of the construction project.

September 15, 2017 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorates the completion of the East Wing of Armstrong Student Center.