About Purdue Memorial Union

Mission


As the bustling cornerstone of campus, we strengthen the educational mission of our great institution by fostering an inclusive community with engaging and diverse programming and iconic gathering places that enrich students’ lives and create lasting memories. We also are home to several convenience services including eye care, banking, Amazon and the Purdue Team Store – among others – that will make the Purdue Memorial Union one of your favorite destinations on campus.

Purpose


Purdue Memorial Union (PMU) exists to:

  • enrich the quality of life on campus and to build community among the diverse members of our University family - students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests - by inviting them to participate in formal programs and informal opportunities to gather, study, work, develop, and have fun;
  • support the public service aspect of Purdue University's Land Grant Mission by providing conference facilities and services that bring the campus into helpful contact with the outside world;
  • use facilities and resources to offer services, conveniences and amenities needed by the campus community, while achieving the financial viability necessary to support both daily operations and long-term maintenance of facilities; and 
  • stand as a permanent memorial to the Purdue University men and women who served in defense of their country, protecting the very freedoms that we enjoy today. It is our duty and privilege to maintain the PMU as a point of identification with the University and its traditions, as a community landmark, and as a symbol of the unity of spirit that transcends our individual differences.

Architecture


Architectural Inspiration

Guiding the Purdue Memorial Union project from start to finish was the Chicago architectural firm of Irving and Allen Pond. The Pond brothers already had long and distinguished careers before receiving their call from West Lafayette early in 1921. The large number of private houses, hotels, churches and other public buildings in Chicago, and throughout the Midwest, that originated from the Ponds' drawing board testified to the great appeal of their designs.

By the late 1920s, there were about 35 student unions across the nation. Most Big Ten institutions had a student union at this time. The University of Michigan boasted a Pond and Pond design for its student union, as did Michigan State University and the University of Kansas. Completion of the Purdue Memorial Union would make Irving and Allen Pond the most prominent figures in this new architectural field.

The Michigan Union, in particular, caught the attention of the Purdue Memorial Union Building Committee as they searched for the right architect. The Ponds were near the end of their five-year project in Ann Arbor at the time the Purdue group was beginning to formulate and express their conception of the ideal student union.

At the PMU dedication ceremonies, Pond stated that he believed that the completed structure was an expression of "poise and physical and spiritual strength and firmness shot through and modified by spiritual aspiration." Its purpose was twofold. First, the broad, simple, and harmonious masses of the building would proclaim to the world the freedom and unity of life found within. Second, the many architectural details and ornaments, inside and out, would minister to the unified life by symbolizing the harmonious interplay of structural forces and hence, an ordered society. For Irving Pond, the PMU was ultimately a symbol of social solidarity, of life itself.

Architectural Details

When you visit Purdue Memorial Union, we invite you to make note of the stories this historical design represents

  • The stained glass windows represent the mixing of students of all races and creeds welcome within its walls.
  • The interior stone arches represent the ruggedness, sincerity and individualism of the students.
  • The upswept arches of the windows symbolize the youth and spirit of the PMU.
  • The gold and black cross on the floor of the Great Hall honors the 67 Purdue men who gave their lives for their country during World War I. It has since been extended to honor all Purdue University faithful who lost their lives in service to the United States of America.
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Veterans Success Center

Purdue’s Veterans Success Center in Purdue Memorial Union provides resources and support for veteran students, those still serving in the military, and their families.

Purdue Memorial Union supports our Veterans.

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