For over 100 years, the University Unions have been serving the University of Michigan community. The notion of a student union at Michigan began in two places:
First, in 1890, before they separated for the summer, a small group of college women in Ann Arbor met to discuss the necessity of organizing women students. A constitution was drawn and a welcoming committee was established for fall freshmen. This was the first meeting of what was called the Women's League of the University of Michigan. Memberships extended into the community with "Associate" status, and "at homes" welcomed students into a lively society. Over time, the Women's League planned and organized ways to get a larger, more versatile women's building constructed to include facilities for entertaining and a dining hall that would bring students together. The building would also unite the alumnae and undergraduates in the work of the university.
Brothers Irving and Allen Pond who were architects on the Michigan Union building (see below) designed the Michigan Leauge building which opened its doors in 1929. More history can be found on the Michigan League History page.
Second, in 1904, Edward "Bob" Parker, University of Michigan class of 1904, took the first step toward creating the Michigan Union.
"We wanted an organization that would be all-inclusive; we wanted a medium for centralizing the thought of 'Michigan men everywhere' as that thought and effort related to activities pertaining to our general life and welfare; we wanted a home for that organization -- a place where we could meet and form those personal contacts; where, if you please, we could more efficiently add one more factor in the process of our education."
He took his idea to the Michigauma Society and the idea became reality as the first "clubhouse" for Michigan men opened in 1907, in the former residence of Judge Thomas M. Cooley. The Union organization quickly outgrew this space and a new Union building was built by 1917 using a design by Michigan graduates Irving and Allen Pond.
More University History can be found on the following pages: