The Ohio Union

About the Union


  • Cornerstone for First Ohio Union (now Hale Hall) laid.
  • Ohio Unions managed by Board of Overseers. 
  • President of Board, student.
  • Secretary of Board, manager of Ohio Unions.
  • Edward S. (Beanie) Drake was named manager of the Ohio Union.
  • The Ohio State University, through Beanie Drake, initiated a discussion among representatives of other college unions.  This was the beginning of The Association of College Unions.
  • Beanie Drake served as the Secretary of the National Association of Student Unions until 1933.
  • The Ohio State University hosted the 2nd annual conference of The National Association of Student Unions.
  • Pomerene Hall was built as the women's union.
  • Discussion about the construction of a new student union - one for both men and women - began.
  • The position of Activities Director for the Ohio Unions was created in response to the growing number of students working on an increasing number of union sponsored programs. Simultaneously, three committees were added to the Board: Social, Publicity & Art, and Music & Library.
  • Beanie Drake served as the president of the Association of College Unions. During his term, guest speakers were included at the annual conference for the first time, to discuss trends of college life and work. The first collegiate billiards tournament was also established.
  • The Student Senate identified the need for coordinated scheduling of campus events. The Unions Activities Office assumed this responsibility.
  • The Student Senate began to accumulate a Union Building Fund by setting aside a percentage of profits from dances.
  • When it became apparent that a newly constructed building was not in the immediate future, it was renovated and refurbished for $35,000.
  • The women opened the lounges of Pomerene Hall to men. On February 13, the men voted to open the lounges of the Ohio Union to women.
  • Beanie Drake retired as the manager of the Ohio Union, after serving 33 years.  On March 11, Frederick J. Stecker was elected to serve as the manager of the Ohio Union. 
  • President Bevis urged the formation of student committees to work with the Ohio Union Board of overseers to plan a new union.
  • The Student Senate collected the signatures of 14,000 students in favor of paying $5 per quarter to pay for the building costs of a new union. At the Board of Trustees Meeting on June 30, President Bevis announced this as a "going project."
  • Construction began on a new union.
  • The new student union was dedicated on November 17, and was considered a model for the country.
  • Dates and Data, sponsored entirely by the student programming board called Ohio Unions Activities, was first Published.
  • Fred Stecker served as the president of the Association of College Unions. Under Stecker's leadership, "The Role of the College Union" was developed. Porter Butts from the University of Wisconsin, and Edgar Whiting from Cornell University also played significant roles in authoring this statement. Today, the Butts-Whiting award is the highest honor of achievement given by the Association of College Unions International.
  • Wendell Ellenwood was appointed as Director of the Ohio Union, after Fred Stecker accepted a position with the new university president, Novice Fawcett, as Executive Director for University Relations. With the original cost of the new union largely paid off, attention was turned to the need for funds to maintain and refurbish the building. The Board of Trustees approved a change making the original Ohio Union Building Fund a Student Services Facility Fee and provided that these funds be used for facilities benefiting the students of the university. Funds were made available at that time for the continual maintenance of the Ohio Union in "like new" condition.
  • At a Fall meeting of the University Board of Trustees, the Ohio Union Council was established with 16 members (8 students and 8 non-students).
  • The Ohio Union celebrated its 50th year anniversary, among guests including a former governor, college and university presidents, faculty, school superintendents, teachers, corporate presidents, playwrights, authors, actors, and students.
  • The South Terrace was enclosed, and used primarily to provide meal service for the students of Steeb Hall.
  • A fourth floor was built onto the Ohio Union to house the Dean of Students Office.
  • The Edward S. Drake Student Leadership Endowment Fund was established.
  • The Ohio Union Art Collection began.
  • The OSU Football Training Table came to the Ohio Union, where it remained until 1992. Woody Hayes originally negotiated this arrangement with Wendell Ellenwood, to help provide the team with the social graces they needed for their VIP visits, receptions, dinners, etc.
  • Beanie Drake died on March 23.
  • The Creative Activities Program (CAP) started as a volunteer project.
  • The Ohio Union began to suffer financial losses, as the campus continued to grow, and the culture began to change. With the opening of the Fawcett Center, the Ohio Union lost a significant portion of its conference business. Simultaneously, as fast food became more popular on High Street, the cafeteria-style food service offered in the union began its decline. Prior to this time, the food service operation could support student programming. These changes made that income source impossible. Nonetheless, the union remained a gathering place for students. When the university closed in response to the 1970 riots, the Ohio Union remained open
  • The Drake Union opened. Named in honor of Edward S. Drake, this union was built for $4,500,000 to serve the needs of the students in the west campus areas. The original design for the Drake Union placed it on the bridge, connecting towers that were to be on both sides of the Olentangy River 
  • Ohio Union Activities was changed to Ohio/Drake Union Activities (ODUA).
  • Robbin Kirkland was hired as the first full-time Assistant Director for Drake Union.
  • The Ohio Union's Alumni Society was formed.
  • The Ohio Union's alumni raised over $26,000 to start the Wendell Ellenwood Scholarship Fund.
  • The Main and Stecker lounges were renovated for the first time since 1962.  The first Wendell Ellenwood Scholarship was presented.
  • Wendell Ellenwood retired as the Director of the Ohio Unions, after 25 years of service.  John Ellinger became the Director of the Ohio Unions, after serving as Associate Director with Wendell Ellenwood.
  • A frozen pipe burst the day after Christmas, flooding the lower levels and creating $300,000 in damage. The staff were called in to help clean up the mess.
  • The Ohio Union began catering services with off-site events. PERKS was created.  External earnings and contracts surpassed internal earnings and the support of the University.
  • An external engineering study was conducted to provide the basis of support for increased University funding, and future renovation.
  • John Ellinger left the Ohio Unions to serve as the Assistant Vice President for the College of Agriculture.  David Mucci became the Director of the Ohio Unions, after serving as the Associate Director with John Ellinger.
  • The 75th Anniversary of the Association of College Unions International was held at the Ohio State University. John Ellinger served as the chair of the Host Committee.
  • Discussions began in the Division of Student Affairs about the construction of a new student union.  The Ohio/Drake Union Activities Board was renamed the Student Events Committee (SEC).
  • David Mucci left the Ohio Unions to serve as the Director of the student union at the University of Idaho.  Susan Henderson served as the Acting Director of the Ohio Unions, after serving as the Business Manager with David Mucci.
  • Rebecca Parker began as the Director of the Ohio Unions, after serving for 17 years in the Office of Residence and Dining Halls with the last postion as Associate Director of Residence and Dining Halls, for Residence Life.
  • A student referendum defeated the vote for a new union to be financed by student dollars.
  • The Ohio Unions staff and University administration agreed to renovate the Ohio Union with administrative dollars. Not enough money was able to be secured to renovate so the plan was abolished.
  • The Assistant Director of the Ohio Unions, for Campus Programs and Events position was abolished as a result of a reorganization of the Student Life department, within the Division of Student Affairs. This position originated in 1927 before a developed Student Affairs division was in place, and the union was the primary facilitator of campus programming.
  • The Ohio Union gave the Student Activities office the following programs to operate: Forensics, CAP and the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB).
  • Rebecca Parker was named Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of the Ohio Union. As the Assistant VP, she oversaw the Student Activities office, Student Gender and Sexuality Services and Ethnic Student Services.


  • Creative Activities Program (CAP) saw a reduction in the number of attendees and programs so in March of 2001 is was decided to disband the program due to declining enrollments and revenue.
  • After a feasibility study conducted by a consulting group, it was decided to close the Ohio Union catering operation, Applause Catering, in July. Catering was suffering financial difficulties and was looking to restructure its operation. However, without a major renovation of the kitchen, the food service area would continue to have operational inefficiencies which would continue to result in budget shortfalls. 
  • Bill Hall was named the new Vice President of Student Affairs and restructured the division of Student Affairs. The Ohio Union and Student Activities were merged into one department. Tracy Stuck, former Director of Student Activities was named the Director of Ohio Union. 
  • Becky Parker, former Ohio Union director left the University for a position at Bank One.


  •  Ohio Union office is being renovated, as it is the first project to remove remaining asbestos from the building.


  • In October, focus group sessions are held.
  • Board of Trustees approves the new Ohio Union Project in June.
  • In September, Moody Nolan is selected as Architect of Record.
  • The Edge Group (owned by Eddie George) is hired as the Landscape Architect.


  • February 28th, there is a planning committee kickoff
  • Committee members tour Carnegie Mellon Student Center in March.
  • Committee members tour Bowling Green State University and University of Michigan, April 8th.
  • Committee members tour Penn State University a few days later, April 11th.
  • Committee members tour University of Arizonia union on April 18th.
  • Committee members tour Colorado State and University of Colorado April 19th.
  • May 3rd is a student dinner presentation.
  • There is a LEED/Sustainable Workshop in July.
  • Core Group trip to Ohio University in late September.
  • Multi-Cultural plan work session  in November.
  • Junk Party on July 10th.
  • AV Technology workshop in early August.
  • The Student Farewell Dinner on November 29th.
  • Another Junk Party on December 5th.
  • The Faculty/Staff/Alumni Farewell Lunch
  • December 8th is the last day vendors were open.
  • December 22nd is the last day 5/3rd Bank were open.


  • Smudging Ceremony on January 22nd.
  • Ohio Union Offices and staff relocated prior to demolition.
  • Demolition of existing Ohio Union/Construction begins on January 31st.
  • Building Raising Ceremony on November 30th.


  • Topping Ceremony- The last piece of steel is placed at the highest point of the building.


  • The Bronze bust of Beanie Drake is poured.
  • Plank Signing Ceremony- Signed floorboards installed in Woody's Tavern.


  • The New Ohio Union opens at the start of Spring quarter.


  • In November, following a years-long process of restructuring multiple departments in the Office of Student Life, Eve Esch is named Director of Events, and Matt Couch is named Director of Student Activities.


  • The Ohio Union hosts events commemorating the university's 15th President, Dr. Michael V. Drake.


  • A celebration for the first College Football Playoff champion Ohio State Buckeyes takes place in the Great Hall. This marks the football team's eigth national championship.
  • Governor John Kasich announces his bid for the national presidency in the Great Hall of the Ohio Union.
  • Jeff Pelletier, Director of Ohio Union Operations and Events, served as the president of the Association of College Unions International.