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Duquesne Union History


Duquesne’s first student union —  two stories in an old building on Vickroy Street — opened under rigorous oversight by the dean of students. Dancing, sitting on the arms of furniture, and leaving newspapers and candy wrappers strewn around were strictly prohibited.


Continual infractions by students resulted in reduced hours of operation and, finally, permanent closure of the facilities. For the next 25 years, students gathered in various groups at lounges throughout campus.


Ground was broken for a dedicated student union in mid-campus, the building’s current site. Designed by noted Carnegie Tech architect Paul Schweiker, the six-story building was constructed of rough concrete softened by the use of natural oak.


The building opened amid much controversy due to its unusual features: north and south walls made entirely of glass, a three-story interior wall and a system of ramps at either end, with a 28-foot cantilevered ramp facing Mellon Hall.


Major interior and exterior renovations began. Concrete was painted or covered, additional student dining options were added, a stained glass window was installed at the west end of the fourth floor ballroom, and the main ramp facing Academic Walk was replaced by stairs and a fountain.


The latest renovation reconfigured the 11,000-plus square foot space on the Union’s second floor. This area now includes a new wireless enabled student lounge, an expanded, updated University Health Service area, and a new welcome center for prospective students and families.