The Memorial Union. This iconic image is the center of college life at Oregon State University and one of the most recognizable buildings in the state. It is a place of history, community and inspiration. It is rooted in one of the most dramatic struggles of humankind, World War I.
The first director of the OSU Memorial Union was shaped by that conflict.
Ed Allworth was just sixteen when he enrolled at Oregon Agricultural College in the fall of 1911. Starting as a “sub-freshman” in mechanical engineering, he had a change of heart after a year and switched to the school of commerce. Aside from academics, Allworth was a starting fullback and outstanding wrestler for the OAC Aggies. Throughout college Allworth was enrolled in the Army ROTC program and on June 15, 1917 was commissioned, and on the same day promoted, to first lieutenant. He was assigned to the Army’s 60th Infantry and served with distinction during numerous battles waged in France. Allworth recieved the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States of America’s highest military honor, awarded his acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. Following the war, and after enduring a number of operations at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. that left him dependant on the use of a cane for the rest of his life, Major Edward C. Allworth retired from the military. At age 27 Allworth and his new bride, Peggy, would embark on a career that would be forever entwined them in creating a living memorial at the heart of the Oregon State University campus, the Memorial Union.
This week on the OSU campus has several events planned to honor veterans. They include outreach programs to veterans honored at Reser Stadium during this weeks football game. You can find a list of events at the OSU Veterans web page: oregonstate.edu/veterans.