Student Unions and Centers

A history of the various buildings and organizations that have been focal points during the growth of NC State University.

Student Unions and Centers


1913 King Religious Center (also called YMCA Building) opens

The King Religious Center served as a religious and social center, with a gym and pool in the basement. It served as a de facto student union before the first college union was built in the 1950s. The building was finally demolished in 1975.

King Religious Center (YMCA)King Religious Center (YMCA)


1949 Gerald Erdahl hired

Gerald Orlando Theodore Erdahl was hired as the first college union director in September 1949, thus starting the College Union idea at North Carolina State College.


1951 College Union Founded

In Spring 1951, the College Union as an organization was assembled to begin planning for the following academic year. This group was comprised of the Board of Directors (later called Student Centers Board of Directors) and a Board of Chairman (later called the Union Activities Board).

9/17/1954 College Union Building Dedicated

The North Carolina State College Union building was officially opened and dedicated. The building later became the Erdahl-Cloyd Wing of the D.H. Hill Jr. Library in the 1970s. It was built by T.A. Loving and Co.

Erdahl-Cloyd Wing, D. H. Hill Jr. Library, at nightErdahl-Cloyd Wing, D. H. Hill Jr. Library, at night
9/17/1954 Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union Named

The Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union is named for Jerry Erdahl and Edward Cloyd, administrators in Student Affairs.

Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union, North Carolina State CollegeErdahl-Cloyd Student Union, North Carolina State College
9/17/1954 Hobby Shop

When the College Union opened, it had a Hobby Shop on the second floor that offered workshops and demonstrations on ceramics, woodworking, metalworking, poster-making, and other crafts. The Hobby Shop later became the Craft Shop.

Hobby Committee meeting in the College Union's Hobby ShopHobby Committee meeting in the College Union's Hobby Shop
1956 Guggenheim Exhibit at College Union

Works of art were loaned for display in the College Union. This exhibit was the earliest beginnings of the long history of Art in the Union and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.

Guggenheim exhibitGuggenheim exhibit
3/4/1958 Ogden Nash visits

Ogden Nash lectures in the ballroom of the College Union Building as part of the Fine Arts Festival.

4/1/1958 Technician pranks

The April Fool's Day edition of the Technician proclaims that the College Union building has been destroyed by fire. The front page also includes headlines about dropping the ROTC program and introducing Home Economics courses into the curriculum.

1958 Craft Shop

The Hobby Shop in the College Union became known as the Craft Shop. Because of space constraints, it offered some programs at other facilities on campus.

Hobby Shop in Erdahl-Cloyd Student UnionHobby Shop in Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union


10/26/1960 John Dos Passos visits

Novelist John Dos Passos, author of Manhattan Transfer and the U.S.A. trilogy, gives a lecture at the College Union.

11/16/1960 Lawrence Ferlinghetti visits

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a noted poet associated with the Beat Generation, gives a lecture at the College Union.

1961 First Woman President of College Union

Clyda Weeks becames the first woman elected as president of the College Union and first female student body leader.

Representatives for Consolidated University Day at Chapel HillRepresentatives for Consolidated University Day at Chapel Hill
1961 Coed Lounge

Women's enrollment reaches 308, and the Erdahl-Cloyd student center featured a special "coed" lounge.

December 1961 New Union Director

Henry Bowers became second Union Director.

Henry BowersHenry Bowers
9/1963 Craft Shop Opens in Thompson Theatre

The Craft Shop outgrew its facilities in the College Union and moved all of its operation to the Frank Thompson Gym (which shortly thereafter became Frank Thompson Theatre).

10/11/1964 London Symphony Performed

The London Symphony performed on campus as a part of the Friends of the College concert series. The orchestra received a standing ovation after their performance, playing music from Stravinsky, Vaughn, Mozart, and Brahms.

3/2/1966 Martin Niemoller visits

Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor who was imprisoned in a concentration camp for his anti-Nazi views, gives a speech at Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union. Niemoller is perhaps best knows as the author of the poem "First they came..."

1969 University Student Center Construction

Construction of the original Talley Student Center began in 1969.

Talley Student Center during constructionTalley Student Center during construction


1970 First African American Cultural Center Formed

Students form NC State's first African American Cultural Center, which was given space in the YMCA building.

5/5/1970 First female Student Body President

Cathy Sterling is elected Student Body President, becoming the first woman to hold a major campus student elective post. During her presidency, Sterling led the student body in a retreat to protest the invasion of Cambodia. Her report, "Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control," resulted in a greater student role in the spending of student fees. Sterling says of her decision to run for student body president, "A few weeks before the election, a few ... More

Cathy Sterling, first woman student body president at North Carolina State UniversityCathy Sterling, first woman student body president at North Carolina State University
10/7/1971 Ralph Nader visits

Ralph Nader addressed over 800 people about the formation of a North Carolina Research Group (NC-PIRG) in the Union Ballroom.

6/1972 Talley Student Center opens

The Talley Student Center opened in June 1972 (shown here before the installation of the fountain and courtyard). It replaced the Erdahl-Cloyd building (now the west wing of D.H. Hill Jr. Library) as the campus student center.

Talley Student Center front viewTalley Student Center front view
2/5/1973 Walnut Room Cafeteria Opened

The University Student Center's Walnut Room cafeteria opened for the first time on this day at 11:30am.

4/15/1973 Stewart Theatre and Price Music Center dedicated

The two buildings were dedicated during a ceremony at which the North Carolina State University Symphony Orchestra and Choir presented a concert. The 816-seat theater had opened during the Fall 1972 semester. It was named for James Jackson Stewart, Jr., Dean of Student Affairs from 1954 to 1969.

North Carolina State University Symphonic BandNorth Carolina State University Symphonic Band
10/27/1973 International Fair

An International Fair was held in the Student Center, exposing students to cultures and customs from around the world.

Students pinning up cultural cloths for the International FestivalStudents pinning up cultural cloths for the International Festival
1974 New African American Cultural Center proposed

In 1974, African American students called for a new cultural center. Student Body President Terry Carroll presented a “four point” request to Chancellor Caldwell, which included a request for the first floor of the Print Shop to be turned over to the Society of Afro-American Culture for an African American Cultural Center. Banks C. Talley, dean of student affairs, complied with this request.

1975 Craft Center

The Craft Shop in the basement of the Frank Thompson Theatre began to be listed as the Craft Center in university directories.

Hands working on pottery at Craft CenterHands working on pottery at Craft Center


1991 African American Cultural Center opens

African American Cultural Center opened in the new Student Center Annex (later renamed Witherspoon Student Center). In 1992, following months of student and faculty protests, NCSU administrators granted the African American Cultural Center an operating budget.

Dr. Iyailu Moses and other  woman at the opening of the African American CenterDr. Iyailu Moses and other woman at the opening of the African American Center
September 1991 Women's Center Opened

The Women's Center opened with Jan Rogers as its coordinator. Rogers began the Women's Leadership Education and Action Program (LEAP), which aimed to enhance the experience of women in nontraditional fields such as math, science, and engineering.

NC State University, College of Engineering, publicity and promotional material, publicity photosNC State University, College of Engineering, publicity and promotional material, publicity photos
January 1991 Student Center Annex Opened

The new Student Center Annex included meeting space, a library, and a multipurpose room. It was later renamed the Witherspoon Student Center.

Witherspoon Student CenterWitherspoon Student Center
1/30/1992 Visual Arts Center opened

The Visual Arts Center opened in the Talley Student Center. The arts center later became known as the Gregg Museum of Art & Design.

Visual Arts Center opening nightVisual Arts Center opening night
11/30/1992 The Nubian Message began publication

The Nubian Message began publication in response to student protests alleging racial bias by the Technician. Tony Williamson served as the paper’s first editor-in-chief. The paper was first released in Talley Student Center. In the inaugural issue, Williamson stated his intention to "totally, truthfully, and faithfully cover every aspect of African American life at NCSU" and his hope that the Nubian Message would become "the media voice for African ... More

Nubian Message, November 30, 1992Nubian Message, November 30, 1992
4/1/1995 Witherspoon Student Center dedicated

The building formerly known as the Student Center Annex was dedicated on this date to honor Dr. Augustus McIver Witherspoon. It thus became the first building on campus named after an African American. Dr. Witherspoon earned his Ph.D. in Botany from NCSU in 1971, making him the second African American student to receive a Ph.D. from NC State. He joined the faculty as Instructor of Botany and eventually held the following posts at NCSU: Full Professor, Assistant ... More

Witherspoon Student CenterWitherspoon Student Center


1/23/2008 GLBT Center Opened

The GLBT Center opened a new office and officially became a department under the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, after years as a resource in within Campus Activities.

Celebrate the Center -- NC State University GLBT Center flyerCelebrate the Center -- NC State University GLBT Center flyer


June 2011 Harrelson Hall Temporary Satellite Student Center

The Bookstore, Union Activities Board, GLBT Center and Student Organization Resource Center moved to Harrelson Hall when the Talley Renovation & Addition Project began.

7/1/2013 Student Involvement Center

The Center brought together the advising of Student Organizations (formerly SORC), Union Activities Board, and Student Government.

10/23/2013 New Talley Student Union, Phase I opened

With the new construction and remodeling, Phase I of the new Talley Student Union opened with four new dining options and the Talley Market.

Talley Student CenterTalley Student Center
May 2015 Talley Student Center renovation completed

The renovated space provides office for the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Affairs, Greek Life, and the University Graduate Student Association.

Talley Student Center ProjectTalley Student Center Project