The Memorial Union terrestrial globe has return to its home of the last 85 years.

With the return of the 1928 globe to the Memorial Union after restoration, we decided to create an update version of the first photo of the Memorial Union’s globe.  We have no idea who the three students are in the 1928 photograph.  We have searched OSU Archive and Beaver Yearbooks with no luck.  We do know our current students; all involved in the Memorial Union activities.  From left to right:

Nicole Hernandez, Art major and curator of the MU Concourse Gallery

Suzanna Shakya, Civil Engineering major ISOSU Internal Coordinator

Fatimah Almousawi, Bio-resource Research major and prior Saudi Arabian Student Association and Student Event and Activities Center leader

The photograph was taken by Julie Knapp, Digital Communications Arts major.  I am sure future students and staff will care for this historic globe, one of only three in the United States for the next 85 years. That means students at Oregon State University in the year 3000 will be looking at an image of Nicole, Suzanna and Fatimah and thinking about the time they spent in the Memorial Union lounge.

One of the architectural significant features of the Memorial Union is the chandelier in the rotunda of the building.  It is original to the Memorial Union and was in place when the building opened in the fall of 1927.  Because the chandelier is about 40 feet above the floor of the rotunda, many people wonder how we change the bulbs.  The architects of the MU planned for this maintenance activity by installing an electric winch to raise and lower the chandelier.  A very forward thinking concept in 1926 when the building was being designed, since electricity had come to Corvallis only 10 years before.

This wench system did cause a problem in the summer of 1991 about 65 years after it was installed.  During one of the routine bulb replacements, the cable attached to the chandelier broke and the fall to the floor.  The chandelier was damaged, but repairable.  The restoration work was done by local sculpture, Raymond Hunter.  You can still see some chips in the travertine floor where the chandelier hit, if you know where to look.

The chandelier fall and re-installation were covered in the Daily Barometer newspaper  in 1991.  Before the chandelier was reinstalled, a new winch was commissioned along with heaver support cable.  You can see the Barometer photos at this link. Chandelier-Barometer July 1991

In 2011, when scaffolding was installed in the rotunda for repainting, the chandelier was removed again.  While it was in storage, a local electrician completely rewired the chandelier to bring it up to current code requirements.  There chandelier should serve the Memorial Union well for the next 100 years.

 

One of the prominent items in the Memorial Union lounge from the beginning has been a 30 inch diameter terrestrial globe and with its stand, measures 50 inches tall. The antique globe in the main lounge was a gift from the class of 1929.  The globe was made in 1926 or 1927 and can be dated from the boarder and name changes on its maps.  Globe lists the area of Russia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the city of Istanbul is labeled Constantinople.

Over the last 85 years the globe has sustained substantial damage.  In the fall we shipped the globe off to TKM Conservation Studio for restorations in Massachusetts.  This week we received an update on the progress and the change is amazing.

There are still several months work left on the globe and stand before it is shipped back to Corvallis, but we hope to have it in time for graduation in June of 2013.

 

 

The maker was W. & A.K. Johnston of Edinburgh and London.  The Johnson brother learned engraving from James Kirkwood and after the Kirkwood factory burned down in 1824, William Johnson (1802-1888) founded a cartographical institute in 1925.  One year later his brother Alexander Keith (1804-1871) joined him.  The company produced mainly maps and atlases for schools and began manufacturing globe around the mid-19th century.  Their largest globe was a 30-inch diameter physical terrestrial globe which won a number of medals at the Great Exhibition and received a royal appointment.

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.

Last May, I started a Monday morning with a telephone call.  It was a gentleman who is a heritage and ornamental plasterer who told me “you have a famous building.”

“Really?” I replied.

And so began a conversation about the Memorial Union with Patrick Webb, a member of the Institute of Classical Architects and Arts.  He told me that the Memorial Union is a famous example of neo-classical architecture and one of the most well-known examples in the nation.  We agreed to talk more about the Main Lounge, which was the purpose of the call.

I have known these things about the Memorial Union ever since I started work here over 11 years ago.  But time and the cares of operating such a large and well-used public building have eroded the excitement of working here. (Or, that excitement never gets translated to those who come along to work here, and the conversation subsides.)

I want to share the good news today that our work to care for this building properly is noticed, and that it matters.  It matters to the students of OSU who use this building every day and expect a clean, well lighted place to eat a good meal, study and perhaps rest.  It also matters a great deal to the people of the world who know of our building and keep it in high regard:  architects, artists, students of history.

Above is a photograph that describes and define the US Capitol Building, another very famous example of neo-classical architecture.  Look these over and see the similarities between the Capitol Building and the Memorial Union.

Connecting with people who know about and admire our building, is what keeps me excited about working in and caring for the Memorial Union!

Sid Cooper, Memorial Union Assistant Director for Building Services

Dedicated in 1927 and opened in 1928, the Oregon State University Memorial Union is not only the oldest student center of the PAC 12 and Oregon, but also on the west coast.  Two students, Warren Daigh and Tony Schille were members of the class of 1922 and were World War One veterans.  Together they developed the concept and promoted the idea of a Memorial Union at Oregon State University in 1919.  Paid for by student fee and alumni donation, the building opened in 1928, 6 years after Daigh and Schille had graduated.  In 1921 the student body voted to assess themselves $9 per term to create the Memorial Union.  In today’s terms that is equivalent to $108 per term (CPI).  A legacy left by those students for the students of today to enjoy.  Here are some construction photos.

Ground Breaking for the Memorial Union 1924. In the photograph are student leaders

Digging the Memorial Union foundation, 1924. Notice that the dirt is being moved by horse drawn cart in the center of the photograph.
Pouring the Memorial Union foundation, 1925. Doing the work in this photograph are OSU students, members of the Baseball team that volunteered their time.
Setting the Memorial Union Cornerstone, 1927. Speaking is Dr, B.F. Irving, editor of the Portland Oregonian and member of the board of governors. With him on the platform is from left to right, Percy Cupper, chair of board of governors, President Kerr and Victor Johnson, student president of the Memorial Union.

 

When the OSU Memorial Union opened in 1928, Charles Lindbergh had crossed the Atlantic a little more than a year before and the term “Air Travel” was related to flying on a Zeppelin Airship. Calvin Coolidge was president and the first talking film was just being distributed nationwide. To give you some perspective, the OSU Memorial Union is older than:
• Sliced Bread
• Rotary Dial Telephone
• Heisenberg’s Principle
• Antibiotics
• Insulin
• Ernest Hemingway’s first published book
• Stock Market Crash
• The Great Depression
• New Deal
• Social Security
• The First Airliner
• Development of Plastics
• Jet Engines
• Nylon
• Ballpoint Pens
• Development of Fiberglass
• Helicopters
• Radar Waves
• Computers
• Velcro
• Bombing of Pearl Harbor
• Atomic Bomb
• Microwave Ovens
• Bikinis
• Telephone Numbers with Area Codes
• India’s independence from Britain
• The establishment of the state of Israel
• Holographs
• Invention of the Transistor
• Development of the LP (Long Playing) Record
• Credit Cards
• Television
• Rock n’ Roll
• School Desegregation
• Digital Clocks
• Sputnik, first artificial satellite
• Integrated Circuit Semiconductor
• Modem
• The states of Alaska & Hawaii
• Civil Rights Movement
• Invention of the Laser
• Human Space Flight
• Cuban Missile Crisis
• ATM Machines
• Watergate
• Rubik’s Cube
• Compact Disc (CD)
• World Wide Web

When the Memorial Union opened, Oregon State University (OSU) was known as Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) and the student body population was 3,490 (15% of its current size).

This summer brought me the opportunity to curate a show in the MU’s Concourse Gallery. I’m the Assistant Curator and with that comes the privilege of caring for the Memorial Union’s Art Collection, which is like eating candy all day considering I’m an art major.

I chose to base the show on Gordon Gilkey and his contributions to our Collection.  I didn’t think a former college dean and art professor could catch my interest in such a way, but Gilkey did.   What can I say, I’m a sucker for a detective story – he was that, an art detective. He volunteered for the job and wrote to Roosevelt at the start of WWII about his concern for the bombing of buildings which housed precious artworks, work that is now at the Louvre, the Met, and museums that we travel and see, thinking it’s never been outside those white walls.

I pulled content straight from the source, Gilkey’s Oral Memoir, which was recorded just before he passed.  In it, he tells of his friendships with persecuted artists, his recovering of artwork confiscated by the Nazi’s and how his art collection grew to be over 14,000 pieces.  The resulting exhibit, which will be up until the 31st of August, is titled Prince of Prints:  Gilkey’s Patronage.  It’s a comprehensive look at the work he gifted to the Memorial Union.  Please, come take a look before it goes back in storage.

-Danielle Pfeiffer

 

In a recent post about ASOSU Cabinet blog, there was a mention of the OSU Creed.  I got a few comments asking about the Creed.  The OSU Creed was written by Edwin T. Reed in 1927-1928 (at that time it would have been the OAC Creed, for Oregon Agricultural College).  He stated that he was drawing “heavily on ideas that had been submitted as the result of a contest sponsored by the OAC Alumnus.”  Reed served as Publications editor for the college from 1912-1943.  Above is an image of a calligraphy version of the Creed that hung in the Memorial Union for several years.  Below is a photograph of the Memorial Union Commons food court from about 1960.  You can see at the top of the photo are some carved wooden panels.  There was a series of panels along the west side that depicted the OSU Creed.  They were removed in 1994 when the Commons was renovated.  They are currently in storage (see photo of ASOSU President Tonga and panels of the OSU Creed below).  The Creed has not been used much in the last 15-20 years because the language used seems outdated.

Here is the OSU Creed:

I believe in Oregon State,

Builder of men and women,

Seeker after truth,

Organized for the service of a great commonwealth.

 

I believe in her traditions,

A heritage from the deeds and dreams of yesterday;

In her sportsmanship and honor,

A reality with the students of today;

In her aspirations and ideals,

The assurance of a magnificent tomorrow.

 

I believe in her democracy

And her far-reaching bond of Beaver brotherhood;

And I realize that since she has accepted me as a Beaver,

If I degrade myself, I degrade her,

As I honor myself, I honor her.

 

I therefore pledge to her, my Alma Mater,

My loyalty, my love and my devotion.

The OSU Memorial Union would like to introduce the incoming MU President and Vice President; Ashley Barnes and Nicholas Bowen.  They will take office on May 15th.

The Facts:

Ashley Barnes

Majors: English and Secondary Education – with an endorsement in ESOL

Minor: Spanish

Class Standing: Junior

Nicholas Bowen

Major: Industrial Engineering

Class Standing: Junior

What they are about:

The Memorial Union is your union. It is a place for all students to meet needs for bodily and spiritual nourishment as well as seek opportunities to enrich your life outside of the classroom. Student voice is crucial to the success of the MU departments, programs and events. We want to ensure that your student fee dollars are being utilized appropriately within the organization and that you are the focus of every program planned. Throughout the next year, we will continue our passion of serving students, building community, and bringing fun to OSU and, more importantly, YOU!

Our dreams, hopes and desires for the coming year:

Serve Students.

What would you like to see happen on the OSU campus? As MU President and Vice President, we want to make sure to advocate your needs and desires through programs and campaigns that create an attitude of inclusivity, excitement for education, and a passion for OSU community.

Build Community.

With every program that is planned or sponsored by the Memorial Union, we will promote collaboration amongst groups on campus and encourage the incorporation of a community building focus. Our programs should be accessible and welcoming for all students and the best way to fulfill that hope is to collaborate and network within community.

Leave a Legacy.

As students, we have a unique opportunity to leave our legacy at OSU through the creation of the Student Experience Center. We can create the experience future students will have on our campus and provide them with spaces and programs in which they can survive and thrive.

Have Fun.

Our classes, at times, can be overwhelming and stressful and without a “breather” we can quickly approach burnout. We want create programs that give students the opportunity to take a break and enjoy themselves – bringing the FUN back into college life.

This year OSU Children’s Holiday Party will be Sunday, December 5th from noon to 3PM. Children from ages 5 to 10 can register online at the Party’s website. Usually this MUPC event is on a Saturday, but because of the Civil War game this year, it was moved to Sunday.

This is one of the longest running Memorial Union events, starting in 1950. Below is a photograph of the event taken in the Memorial Union lounge in the late 1950s.This will be the 60th anniversary of this annual event.