The University Center Program came into being in 1949, with the appointment of a student-faculty committee to establish a temporary student center. In January of 1950, the temporary student center, known as the student union, opened at a converted residence on University Avenue, under the supervision of the Office of Student Affairs. In June of 1951, the temporary student center was moved to a barracks building on Harwood Avenue.
In October of 1953, a student union building fund was established by approval of the Student Council and Student Body on a referendum item, and by subsequent approval of the Board of Trustees. In February of 1955, a Student Union Planning Committee was organized.
The new University Center was completed and dedicated on June 10, 1961, and formally opened on July 5, 1961. Clarence G. Dougherty was appointed as Director effective September 21, 1969. The Student Center was set up as a separate unit, reporting to the Vice President for Business Affairs through the Services Division.
In 1971, under pressure from the students, the University Center was renamed the Student Center. The Director is now responsible to the Vice President for Student Affairs.