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The Union of the past and of the future

In architecture the design and construction style of the Ole Miss Student Union is often called brutalist, for its raw concrete, modernistic, and institutional appearance.

For decades now the term has been fitting since the Union, opened in 1976, has been the topic of considerable conversation related to its style, unfitting with other red brick, columned structures on campus, starting with the Lyceum.

But sometimes a so-called ugly duckling has quite an important role in a family, and such has been the case with the Ole Miss Student Union in its decades of service.

Yes, the architecture stood out as different, and yes the time has come for the building to be renovated and expanded to a more appropriate look and feel.

But that building arrived with the changing face of Ole Miss that emerged about the same time that it opened, resulting in a diverse, world-class University.

So while the architecture did not seemingly fit, in a way it did, as a sort of concrete pillar of inclusion and diversity reminding that people on the campus come in different designs and styles.

We are glad to see the Ole Miss Student Union undergo renovation, because plans reveal that the building will lead the university’s students well in to the future.

But we will have fond memories of how the unique architecture symbolically served the University at such an important time.