The concept of a meeting place and home for alumni was introduced in 1915. Fundraising began and construction was slow due to the war and the Great Depression. The tower was completed in 1926. On either side of the tower are two wings, originally one for men and one for women. The North Wing was completed in 1952 and the South Wing completed in 1963.
Memorial Union honors the University's 117 lost soldiers during World War I. Their names are inscribed on the inside walls of this archway. Later a plaque was added inside the North Wing that lists the 338 MU men who lost their lives during World War II. Another plaque in the stairwell commemorates those who lost their lives in wars and conflicts from 1945 - 1996. And panels continue to be added honoring those who have fallen in the line of duty since the 1990s.
"In grateful memory of these heroic sons of Missouri who in the Great War (1917–1918) paid the full measure of Devotion."
Memorial Union is now used as meeting space, a gathering place, and offices for campus organizations. It has evolved over time and now contains a cafe and Starbucks. But first and foremost, we must remember that it is a monument. It is easy to just let it blend into the everyday landscape of the campus, but it is much more than a building. Remember the tradition of speaking in a hushed tone and "tipping your hat" as a respectful gesture as you walk through the tunnel.
Don't let the historical significance fade. View it with new eyes each time you visit.