Student Center celebrates 40th year
By Kyle Endres
After four decades in the middle of the CSU campus, the Lory Student Center is celebrating with a weeklong commemoration in the Lory Student Center Plaza.
The student center is celebrating its 40th year at CSU with the theme, “Lory Student Center. 40 Years at the Center of Student Life.” The celebration, which lasts Sept. 3-6, will have daily entertainment, free food and prize giveaways.
“I think the Lory Student Center plays a critical role in the lives of students,” said Michael Ellis, executive director of the student center. “The role is symbolized by our position on the campus. We are physically in the middle of campus.”
The student center opened at its current location in 1962, a result of a need for more space to accommodate a growing student population. Before 1962, the student center, then called the student union, was in Johnson Hall, which was “totally unsuited to the requirements that were recognized at that time,” said CSU President Emeritus Dr. William Morgan in a video interview transcript from June 2002.
“So in planning a campus with housing on the west, classrooms on the east, … we came out with conclusions something like this: that a student living in one of these distant housing units on the west campus would, at 8 o’clock in the morning have a class, at 9 o’clock he’d skip, at 10 o’clock another class, what did he do with the hour in between?” Morgan said. “He needed a place to get out of the weather during much of the year, but more than that; this dictated the placement of two universal-use facilities, namely a library and a student center.”
The student center has grown over the past 40 years, including a change from 140,000 square feet in 1962 to 297,000 square feet today. Plans for next summer include a $4.5 million renovation to improve the food court, the North Ballroom and Cherokee Park and the upper level of the University Bookstore.
The student center currently provides food, information, services, entertainment and space for student organizations.
“Because I live off campus and don’t have time to go home, I eat lunch (at the student center) every day and I use the information desk fairly often,” said Dana Lamm, a sophomore marketing major. “Overall the student center is incredibly useful for me on a daily basis.”
The 40th anniversary celebration began Tuesday with a performance by the Poudre River Irregulars and ends Friday with a student center birthday cake that will be cut and given out to students. KCSU is scheduled to broadcast music, along with performances by the Jive Dancers, Down to Gray and a jazz combo from the CSU Jazz Program.
Free food or drinks will be given out every day this week, as will LSC 40th Anniversary magnets and entries for prizes to be drawn on Friday.
In addition to this week’s festivities, from Sept. 6 through Oct. 20 the Curfman Art Gallery will host “The Living Room,” a celebration of the student center. Original photographs and furniture will be on display, as well as interviews with former CSU and student center administrators.
“(The student center is) a place to study, it’s a place to eat, a place for service, a place to hang out and a place for everything,” Ellis said. “I think we have the finest student center in the West.”