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“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.”
˜ Mary Catherine Bateson
The Hobson Memorial Union celebrated it's 40th year in operation in the winter of 2008. In honor of our building we hosted a special exhibit of construction photos in the Touche' Gallerie, celebrations with the class of 1967 at their Homecoming Reunion, and conversations with students who were on campus when the Hobson Union was being built.
Below we have included a brief history adapted from the January 18th, 1968 issue of the Northern Student:
Northern Student, Jan. 18, 1968
Student reaction ranged from sheer awe to pleasant surprise when Bemidji State College opened its million dollar student union the week of January 15, 1968. According to senior Bob Scarpino, president of the student union from Old Bridge, New Jersey, student reaction was enthusiastic opening day, with most students commenting on the lakeside view, plush furnishings and ample lounging space.
The building was totally financed through the Minnesota State College Board revenue bonding plan with each student paying a student union fee of five dollars per term.
"We've been waiting a long time for this much needed facility," John Glas, acting president of BSC noted as he toured the building on January 19th. "We're anxious now to plan an addition to the present structure, which may necessitate an increase in the present student union fee."
Mr. Frank Borelli, Student Activities Coordinator at BSC, talked about the difficulties of opening a new building. "Many students wondered if we planned to use paper cups and dishes all the time," he said. "We don't. The dishwashing unit was inoperative"
The student union, located lower Lake Bemidji in the center of the BSC campus, is a two level structure replacing the cramped quarters of the old student union in the basement of Sanford hall.
A.G. Alto Co. of Walker was the general contractor of the building, which includes on its main floor general offices, several conference rooms, an information desk, student senate offices, union board offices, a game room and a lounger overlooking the lake. The lower level houses the food service and dining areas, with the main dining area seating about 240 people and an vending area. Two private dining rooms are additional features of the new union. One dining room has a Viking atmosphere and the other a contemporary motif. A television lounge and general lounge are also located on the lower level.