A Look Back into the History of the Memorial Union

By Jillian Kido – May 2, 2017
The north side of the Memorial Union reopened on May 1, 2017. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

The north side of the Memorial Union reopened on May 1, 2017. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Just across from Shields Library is the Memorial Union, perhaps better known as the MU, which reopened yesterday after two years of construction.

First built in 1955, the Memorial Union is dedicated to 128 UC Davis students and alumni who lost their lives in military service from World War I and World War II.

Since 1955, the MU has undergone many renovation and expansion projects. It originally was just a one-story facility with a dining commons, student lounge, offices, student store and soda fountain.

In 1966, three more floors were added, one of which included the popular Games Area. The Games Area included the first and only bowling alley in the city of Davis in addition to billiards and other games.

The MU has been remodeled numerous times since its opening in order to accommodate the changing needs of our growing student population, which has nearly tripled since 1966.

Take a look back at some archival photos of the MU and compare them with what our new MU looks like today!

(Left) Memorial Union soda fountain, 1979. (Special Collections/UC Davis Library)
(Right) The Market offers snacks and CoHo-to-Go products. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)
(Left) Memorial Union study lounge, undated. (Special Collections/UC Davis Library)
(Right) First floor, former Griffin Lounge. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)
(Left) Games Area bowling alley, undated. (Special Collections/UC Davis Library)
(Right) The Games Area includes a 12-lane bowling alley, billiards tables and six screens for console video games. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)
(Left) Memorial Union, 1968. (Special Collections/UC Davis Library)
(Right) The north side of the Memorial Union. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)