The University Memorial Center (UMC) is CU’s student union and a living memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of Colorado veterans. As the heart of campus we support academic success by providing opportunities for student involvement, leadership development and entertainment in a welcoming and inclusive environment. We value diversity, sustainability, engaging with the community, and quality facilities and services as an auxiliary department and in collaboration with CU Student Government and the Division of Student Affairs.
In 1947, Colorado Governor Lee Knous proclaimed the planned University of Colorado student union a memorial to “those who served in these great wars.” After remarkable fundraising efforts by thousands of Coloradoans, the University Memorial Center opened its doors in September 1953 with President Robert L. Stearns presiding over the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The UMC quickly became the central jewel of the Boulder campus and the gathering place of choice for CU students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
The university continued to grow with Colorado's healthy economy, and so did the UMC. A 1964 addition, financed by student fees, created a new bookstore, conference facilities, additional dining facilities and offices to house the rapidly growing student activities and organizations.
The UMC saw much student activism in the 1960s and ’70s as students staged strikes, grape boycotts, love-ins, sit-ins and walk-outs. The UMC Fountain Court (now the Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court) became a familiar sight to network television news watchers as the famous and notorious promoted their causse at CU Boulder.
The UMC’s Glenn Miller Ballroom has played host to a truly impressive list of entertainers. B.B. King, The Association, Warren Zevon, Carla Bonhoff, Taj Mahal, The Band, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon, The Grass Roots, Don McClean, Stanley Turrentine, Les McCann, Tommy Bolin, Zephyr, Firefall, Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, Steve Miller and Ozark Mountain Daredevils are some of the many performers who played to sold-out audiences in the ballroom.
Upholding the UMC’s commitment to honor those who served from WWII to present day, the UMC Veterans Lounge, located near the second floor Reception Desk, houses dedication plaques and a number of military artifacts from WWII.
As the campus grows, the UMC continues to adapt to the needs of CU students. In 1986, students passed a bond issue to remodel the food services area. In 2002, the Expansion and Renovation Project created 50,000 square feet of new space and renovated another 136,000 of existing area. Through 60 years of changes, the UMC remains the University's living room, the place where students come to relax, eat and meet people.
The Division of Student Affairs values the diverse backgrounds, histories, identities and life experiences of every member of our community. We strive toward inclusive excellence in making our policies, processes and actions socially just and equitable. We celebrate and embrace differences. We are committed to welcoming and including diverse groups and perspectives in building a climate in which all members can thrive in an environment where they feel at home, welcome and safe.