You are here

Mission & History

Open year-round, this shows the UMC South entrance during summer break
Students discover ways to get involved at the Student Involvement Fair
A lunchtime performance of African drumming & dancing, 1st floor dining room
The UMC Atrium displays colorful banners representing its diversity.

Visit often and discover all the opportunities the UMC offers!

UMC Mission Statement

The University Memorial Center (UMC) is CU’s student union and a living memorial honoring the service and sacrifice of Colorado veterans. As the heart of campus we support academic success by providing opportunities for student involvement, leadership development, and entertainment in a welcoming and inclusive environment. We value diversity, sustainability, engaging with the community, and quality facilities and services as an auxiliary department and in collaboration with CU Student Government and the Division of Student Affairs.

The History of the UMC

In 1947, Colorado Governor Lee Knous proclaimed the planned University of Colorado student union a memorial to “those who served in these great wars.” After remarkable fundraising efforts by thousands of Coloradoans, the University Memorial Center opened its doors in October 1953 with President Robert L. Stearns presiding over the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The UMC quickly became the central jewel of the Boulder campus and the gathering place of choice for CU students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.

The university continued to grow with Colorado's healthy economy, and so did the UMC. A 1964 addition, financed by student fees, created a new bookstore, conference facilities, additional dining facilities, and offices to house the rapidly growing student activities and organizations.

The UMC saw much student activism in the 1960’s and ‘70’s as students staged strikes, grape boycotts, love-ins, sit-ins, and walk-outs. The UMC Fountain Court (now the Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court) became a familiar sight to network television news watchers as the famous and notorious promoted their cause at CU-Boulder.

The UMC’s Glenn Miller Ballroom has played host to a truly impressive list of entertainers. B.B. King, The Association, Warren Zevon, Carla Bonhoff, Taj Mahal, The Band, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon, The Grass Roots, Don McClean, Stanley Turrentine, Les McCann, Tommy Bolin, Zephyr, Firefall, Woody Herman, Chuck Mangione, Steve Miller, and Ozark Mountain Daredevils are some of the many performers who played to sold-out audiences in the ballroom.

Upholding the UMC’s commitment to honor those who served from WWII to present day, the UMC Veterans Lounge, located near the 2nd floor Reception Desk, houses dedication plaques and a number of military artifacts from WWII.

As the campus grows, the UMC continues to adapt to the needs of CU students. In 1986, students passed a bond issue to remodel the food services area. In 2002, the Expansion and Renovation Project created 50,000 square feet of new space and renovated another 136,000 of existing area. Through the changes of 50 years, the UMC remains the University's living room. With the 2010 renovation, the UMC continues to remain the place where students come to relax, eat and meet people.

Diversity Statement

As the heart of campus, the UMC provides an atmosphere of inclusiveness that allows for free and open exchange of ideas, as well as the development of significant relationships and understanding between all cultures in the university and the community at large. 

The UMC creates and maintains an atmosphere where diversity is valued among us by maximizing the interaction of the diverse peoples in the University community. Through our experiences, programs, and events, the UMC values education and exposing the campus to new ideas. Acknowledging that there is always room for continual improvement, the UMC commits to ongoing training and education for our staff and students.

The UMC’s definition of diversity is all-inclusive, encompassing race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status. It is a definition that includes the valuing of individual and group differences, respecting the perspectives of others, and communicating openly.