Coffman Memorial Union
Celebrating 75 Years of Service
In 1936, University of Minnesota President Lotus Delta Coffman stated: “Someday, the University of Minnesota will have a student union as the center of its social life.” Construction for the student union Coffman had imagined began in 1939, a year after his death.
Coffman Memorial Union opened its doors in time for classes in fall 1940. The building featured a ballroom that a accommodated up to 1,200 dancers, a two-story main lounge, a bowling alley with sixteen lanes, billiards, a barber and beauty shop, among many other amenities. Coffman Memorial Union underwent its first major renovation during the 1970s, which dramatically changed the building’s aesthetic.
A second major renovation was completed between 1999 and 2003, which modernized the building but also honored the original design. In 2013, the second floor of Coffman Memorial Union was renovated to meet the needs of the growing student organizations on campus.
Photographs Courtesy of Coffman Memorial Union's Berton Atkinson Archive Collection and University Archives.