Oklahoma Panhandle State University
Campus History : Student Union
In 1963, during the tenure of university president Dr. Marvin McKee, the State of Oklahoma appropriated $550,000 for a student union building and equipment on the campus of Panhandle Agricultural and Mechanical College (PAMC). Kelso Williams served as the first manager of the union and cafeteria when the building opened in January 1964. Initially, the building housed display cases, the bookstore, the cafeteria, a ballroom, restrooms, offices, and a snack bar. The student lounge sported pool tables and juke boxes. The kitchen had 10 ovens, many deep fryers, grills, several steam cookers and provided 60 loaves of bread, 40 pies, and 13 dozen cinnamon rolls per day. Normally, 1,000 pounds of meat arrived weekly. The university farm’s dairy prepared a delicious ice cream mix for the cafeteria. Students paid seventy-five cents for a cafeteria meal or purchased food in the snack bar. Ten full-time employees worked in the cafeteria, supplemented by student laborers. During its first month of operation, the cafeteria provided 16,885 meals while the snack bar filled more than 500 cups with hot coffee.
The Panhandle Association of Alumni and Friends provided funding for a glass solarium built on the east side of the building in 1996. In 2008, workmen resurfaced the building’s roof and cleaned the façade of the building. Currently, the Student Union houses a kitchen, the university cafeteria, the snack bar (both of which are serviced by Sodexho Food Service), the ballroom, the bookstore, the rental book facility, restrooms, a lounge, rodeo team display cases, the student health clinic, the Office of Hispanic Student Services, and the Office of the Student Senate.
- Sara Jane Richter, 2009